technological singularity

37 results back to index


pages: 798 words: 240,182

The Transhumanist Reader by Max More, Natasha Vita-More

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

23andMe, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, brain emulation, Buckminster Fuller, cellular automata, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, combinatorial explosion, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological principle, data acquisition, discovery of DNA, Drosophila, en.wikipedia.org, experimental subject, Extropian, fault tolerance, Flynn Effect, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, friendly AI, game design, germ theory of disease, hypertext link, impulse control, index fund, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Louis Pasteur, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, P = NP, pattern recognition, phenotype, positional goods, prediction markets, presumed consent, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, RFID, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, silicon-based life, Singularitarianism, stem cell, stochastic process, superintelligent machines, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, telepresence, telepresence robot, telerobotics, the built environment, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture, Whole Earth Review, women in the workforce

This causes confusion and misunderstanding to the extent that some critics argue that the term should be avoided altogether (Tyler 2009). At the very least the term “singularity” has led to many unfortunate assumptions that technological singularity involves some form of mathematical singularity and can hence be ignored as unphysical. This essay is attempting a simple taxonomy of models of technological singularity, hopefully helping to disambiguate the different meanings of the word. It also aims at a brief review of ­formal quantitative models of singularity-like phenomena, in the hope of promoting a more stringent discussion of these possibilities. Definitions of Technological Singularity A brief list of meanings of the term “technological singularity” found in the literature and some of their proponents: A. [Accelerating change] Exponential or superexponential technological growth (with linked economic growth and social change) (Kurzweil 2005; Smart 2008) B.

Appeal to Autonomy Appeal to Interests Appeal to Natural Law Conclusion 34 Freedom by Design Introduction Legal Right by Design: Cognitive Liberty Design Thinking and Cognitive Liberty Caveats on Concept: Fictions of Freedom Freedom in Spite of All Else Part VIII Future Trajectories: Singularity 35 Technological Singularity I. What is the Singularity? II. Can the Singularity Be Avoided? III. Other Paths to the Singularity IV. Strong Superhumanity and the Best We Can Ask For 36 An Overview of Models of Technological Singularity Introduction Definitions of Technological Singularity Models Accelerating Change Discussion 37 A Critical Discussion of Vinge’s Singularity Concept Comment by David Brin: Singularities Comment by Damien Broderick Comment by Nick Bostrom: Singularity and Predictability Comment by Alexander Chislenko: Singularity as a Process, and the Future Beyond Comment by Robin Hanson: Some Skepticism Comment by Max More: Singularity Meets Economy Comment by Michael Nielsen Comment by Anders Sandberg: Singularity and the Growth of Differences Part IX The World’s Most Dangerous Idea 38 The Great Transition What is Transhumanism?

Vinge, Vernor (1981) “True Names.” In Binary Star 5. New York: Dell. Vinge, Vernor (1983) “First Word.” Omni 10 (January). Earlier essay on “the Singularity.” “The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era,” by Vernor Vinge, was presented at the VISION-21 Symposium sponsored by NASA Lewis Center and the Ohio Aerospace Institute, March 30–31, 1993. Copyright © Vernor Vinge 1993. http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/faculty/vinge/misc/singularity.html 36 An Overview of Models of Technological Singularity Anders Sandberg This essay reviews different definitions and models of technological singularity. The models range from conceptual sketches to detailed endogenous growth models, as well as attempts to fit empirical data to quantitative models. Such models are useful for examining the dynamics of the world-system and possible types of future crisis points where fundamental transitions are likely to occur.

 

The Economic Singularity: Artificial intelligence and the death of capitalism by Calum Chace

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, additive manufacturing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, call centre, Chris Urmson, congestion charging, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flynn Effect, full employment, future of work, gender pay gap, gig economy, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, income inequality, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, lump of labour, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, McJob, means of production, Milgram experiment, Narrative Science, natural language processing, new economy, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, PageRank, pattern recognition, post scarcity, post-industrial society, precariat, prediction markets, QWERTY keyboard, railway mania, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Rodney Brooks, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber for X, universal basic income, Vernor Vinge, working-age population, Y Combinator, young professional

But in the coming decades the rate and scale of change will be so great that the future will become mysterious in a new way. So much so that people talk about a coming technological singularity. The term “singularity” is borrowed from maths and physics, where it means a point at which a variable becomes infinite. The usual example is the centre of a black hole, where matter becomes infinitely dense. When you reach a singularity, the normal rules break down, and the future becomes even harder to predict than usual. In recent years, the term has been applied to the impact of technology on human affairs.[iv] Superintelligence and the technological singularity The technological singularity is most commonly defined as what happens when the first artificial general intelligence (AGI) is created – a machine which can perform any intellectual task that an adult human can.

Chapter 6.6 adopted Kevin Kelly’s term Protopia for a successful transition, and suggested that the blockchain might turn out to be the mechanism to administer society’s collectively owned assets, notably its artificial intelligence. 7.2 – The two singularities In my previous book, “Surviving AI”, I wrote at length about the challenge and the opportunity presented by the technological singularity, the moment when (and if) we create an artificial general intelligence which continues to improve its cognitive performance and becomes a superintelligence. Ensuring that we survive that event is, I believe, the single most important task facing the next generation or two of humans – along with making sure we don’t blow ourselves up with nuclear weapons, or unleash a pathogen which kills everyone. If we secure the good outcome to the technological singularity, the future of humanity is glorious almost beyond imagination. As DeepMind co-founder Demis Hassabis likes to say, humanity’s plan for the future should consist of two steps: first, solve artificial general intelligence, and second, use that to solve everything else.

Trying again is something we are good at. On the other hand, if it is coming at all, the economic singularity is coming sooner than the technological singularity. No-one knows how long it will take to build an artificial general intelligence, but it looks tremendously hard. It is probably only a matter of time, but that time may well be quite a few decades. The economic singularity is likely to be with us in two or three decades – perhaps not in the sense that a majority of people will be unemployable by then, but in the sense that it will be obvious and undeniable that it is going to happen. Asset prices may collapse at that point. Relatively speaking, then, the technological singularity is more important but less urgent, while the economic singularity is less important but more urgent. 7.3 – What is to be done?

 

pages: 294 words: 81,292

Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era by James Barrat

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, AI winter, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, Automated Insights, Bernie Madoff, Bill Joy: nanobots, brain emulation, cellular automata, cloud computing, cognitive bias, computer vision, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Danny Hillis, data acquisition, don't be evil, Extropian, finite state, Flash crash, friendly AI, friendly fire, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Loebner Prize, lone genius, mutually assured destruction, natural language processing, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, PageRank, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, prisoner's dilemma, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, Skype, smart grid, speech recognition, statistical model, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero day

I’d found a message in a bottle, a footnote that turned everything around. Good and I had something important in common now. We both believed the intelligence explosion wouldn’t end well. Chapter Eight The Point of No Return But if the technological Singularity can happen, it will. Even if all the governments of the world were to understand the “threat” and be in deadly fear of it, progress toward the goal would continue. In fact, the competitive advantage—economic, military, even artistic—of every advance in automation is so compelling that passing laws, or having customs, that forbid such things merely assures that someone else will. —Vernor Vinge, The Coming Technological Singularity, 1993 This quotation sounds like a fleshed-out version of I. J. Good’s biographical aside, doesn’t it? Like Good, two-time Hugo Award-winning science fiction author and mathematics professor Vernor Vinge alludes to humans’ lemminglike predilection to chase glory into the cannon’s mouth, to borrow Shakespeare’s phrase.

More and more, these writers felt an opaque wall across the future. AI researcher Ben Goertzel told me, “Vernor Vinge saw its inherent unknowability very clearly when he posited the notion of the technological singularity. It’s because of that that he doesn’t go around giving speeches about it because he doesn’t know what to say. What’s he going to say? ‘Yeah I think we’re going to create technologies that will be much more capable than humans and then who knows what will happen?’” But what about the invention of fire, agriculture, the printing press, electricity? Haven’t many technological “singularities” already occurred? Disruptive technological change is nothing new, but no one felt compelled to come up with fancy names for its occurrences. My grandmother was born before automobiles were widely used, and lived to see Neil Armstrong walk on the moon.

Bowden stated: Good, “Speculations Concerning the First Ultraintelligent Machines.” Such machines … could even: Good, I. J., ed., The Scientist Speculates, an Anthology of Partly Baked Ideas (London: William Heinemann, Ltd. 1962.) Speculations Concerning: Good, I. J., The 1998 “Computer Pioneer Award” of the IEEE Computer Society, Biography and Acceptance Speech (1998), 8. 8: THE POINT OF NO RETURN But if the technological Singularity: Vinge, Vernor, “The Coming Technological Singularity,” 1993, http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/faculty/vinge/misc/WER2.html. This quotation sounds a lot: Could Good have read Vinge’s essay, inspired by his own earlier essay, and then had a change of heart? I find that unlikely. By his death Good had published some three million words of scholarship. He’s the most prolific attributer I’ve ever read. And even though many of his footnotes cite his own papers, I believe he would have given credit to Vinge for his change of heart, if Vinge’s essay had prompted it.

 

pages: 261 words: 10,785

The Lights in the Tunnel by Martin Ford

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Albert Einstein, Bill Joy: nanobots, Black-Scholes formula, call centre, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, factory automation, full employment, income inequality, index card, industrial robot, inventory management, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, moral hazard, pattern recognition, prediction markets, Productivity paradox, Ray Kurzweil, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Thomas L Friedman, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, War on Poverty

Worldrenowned cosmologist and author of the book, A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking, has said, “Computers are likely to overtake humans in intelligence at some point in the next hundred years.”35 Inventor and author Ray Kurzweil, who received the National Medal of Technology Copyrighted Material – Paperback/Kindle available @ Amazon Acceleration / 101 from President Clinton in 1999, is far more optimistic and predicts that machines will achieve true intelligence by 2029. Kurzweil is also one of the leading proponents of the technological singularity, which he expects to occur by the year 2045.36 This concept, which was originally introduced by the mathematician and author Vernor Vinge,37 suggests that at some point in the future, technological progress will simply explode incomprehensibly. Basically, things will just get away from us. If you look at the nowfamiliar chart that follows, the technological singularity would occur at some point close to where the line becomes nearly vertical. Beyond this point, it is just straight up. The Technological Singularity Technology Singularity Time Many people have postulated that the singularity will be brought on when machines finally become smarter than us, and then apply that higher intelligence to the task of Copyrighted Material – Paperback/Kindle available @ Amazon THE LIGHTS IN THE TUNNEL / 102 designing even better versions of themselves.

How- * Copyrighted Material – Paperback/Kindle available @ Amazon Acceleration / 103 In this book, we won’t again stray into this more speculative arena (except in the last sections of the Appendix). The ideas presented in this book do not depend on the occurrence of the technological singularity. The standard we have set is much lower: we are concerned only with the possibility that machines will become capable of performing most average, routine jobs. The singularity represents a far more extreme case. It’s fair to say, however, that if something along the lines of the technological singularity is to occur, we may first need a paradigm shift in the way our economy works—or at least some changes in our economic architecture. Otherwise, we will be in for quite a shock. A War on Technology In this chapter we have seen that computers are increasing in both power and number at a simply astonishing rate.

Web: http://www.census.gov/PressRelease/www/releases/archives/education/011196.html 32 William Easterly, The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists’ Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics, Cambridge, MA, MIT Press, 2002, p.53. 33 “Outsourcing not the Culprit in Manufacturing Job Loss”, AutomationWorld, December 9th, 2003. Web: http://www.automationworld.com/webonly-320 34 Alan Greenspan, The Age of Turbulence, NewYork, The Penguin Press, 2007, p.397. 35 ABC News 20/ 20 Special, “Last Days on Earth”, 2006 36 Kurtzweil predicts the Technological Singularity by 2045: Fortune Magazine, May 14, 2007, Web: http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/20 07/05/14/100008848/ 37 “Vernor Vinge on the Singularity,” Web: http://mindstalk.net/vinge/vinge-sing.html 26 Copyrighted Material – Paperback/Kindle available @ Amazon Notes / 251 Chapter 3: Danger 38 Robert J. Shapiro, Futurecast: howsuperpowers, populations, and globalization will change the wayyou live and work, NewYork, St.

 

pages: 144 words: 43,356

Surviving AI: The Promise and Peril of Artificial Intelligence by Calum Chace

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, brain emulation, Buckminster Fuller, cloud computing, computer age, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, dematerialisation, discovery of the americas, disintermediation, don't be evil, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Flash crash, friendly AI, Google Glasses, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, life extension, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, mutually assured destruction, Nicholas Carr, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, South Sea Bubble, speech recognition, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, strong AI, technological singularity, theory of mind, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, Vernor Vinge, wage slave, Wall-E

If there is an intelligence explosion, there is no compelling reason to think that the superintelligence will stop recursively self-improving once it exceeds human intelligence by a factor of ten, or a hundred, or a million. In which case it may bestow technological innovations on us at a bewildering rate – perhaps so fast that un-augmented humans simply could not keep up. This scenario is called a technological singularity, a term we encountered in chapter three, and which means a point where the normal rules cease to apply, and what lies beyond is un-knowable to anyone this side of the event horizon. As we shall see below, there is no reason why a technological singularity must necessarily be a positive event, but the early adopters of the idea were almost unanimously convinced that it would be. This confidence has been parodied as an article of faith and likened to the Christian prophesy of “rapture” (from the Latin for “seizing”), which foresees Christ taking the faithful up into heaven during the second coming.

Or it could lead to an economy of radical abundance, where nobody has to work for a living, and we are all free to have fun, and stretch our minds and develop our faculties to the full. I hope and believe that the latter is possible, but we also need to make sure the process of getting there is as smooth as possible. The arrival of superintelligence, if and when it happens, would represent a technological singularity (usually just referred to as “the singularity”), and would be the most significant event in human history, bar none. Working out how to survive it is the most important challenge facing humanity in this and the next generation(s). If we avoid the pitfalls, it will improve life in ways which are quite literally beyond our imagination. A superintelligence which recursively improved its own architecture and expanded its capabilities could very plausibly solve almost any human problem you can think of.

The rapid growth of online education (the MOOC, or Massive Open Online Courses revolution) means that employees can re-skill themselves faster than ever before, and for free. But we may lose this race up the value chain if AI systems are clambering up it as fast as we are, or faster. So there may well come a time when a majority of jobs can be performed more effectively, efficiently or economically by an AI than they can be done by a human. This could be called the economic singularity, (29) by analogy with the technological singularity which we will discuss in chapter 6. During the Great Depression, unemployment peaked at 25% of the US population in 1933, and the resulting trauma is seared into the political memory even now. Social provision for the unemployed has improved greatly since then, and countries (for instance in southern Europe) with similar levels of unemployment today don’t seem so desperate. But if the day dawns when everyone acknowledges that more than half the population will never work again, the result will surely be a political and social crisis sufficient to oblige governments everywhere to do something about it.

 

pages: 377 words: 97,144

Singularity Rising: Surviving and Thriving in a Smarter, Richer, and More Dangerous World by James D. Miller

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

23andMe, affirmative action, Albert Einstein, artificial general intelligence, Asperger Syndrome, barriers to entry, brain emulation, cloud computing, cognitive bias, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, en.wikipedia.org, feminist movement, Flynn Effect, friendly AI, hive mind, impulse control, indoor plumbing, invention of agriculture, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, Netflix Prize, neurotypical, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, phenotype, placebo effect, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, Skype, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, supervolcano, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture

PRAISE FOR SINGULARITY RISING “There are things in this book that could mess with your head.” —Vernor Vinge, computer scientist; Hugo Award-winning author, A Fire Upon the Deep; essayist, “The Coming Technological Singularity” “The arrow of progress may kick upwards into a booming curve or it may terminate in an existential zero. What it will not do is carry on as before. With great insight and fore thought, Miller’s Singularity Rising prepares us for the forking paths ahead by teasing out the consequences of an artificial intelligence explosion and by staking red flags on the important technological problems of the next three decades.” —Peter Thiel, self-made technology billionaire; co-founder, Singularity Summit “Many books are fun and interesting, but Singularity Rising is fun and interesting while focusing on some of the most important pieces of humanity’s most important problem.”

One CIA report speculated that the Machiavellian Chinese leadership had funded the program in part because of its high human cost, which they believed would prevent their US rivals from imitating them: the Chinese had discovered a strategic weapon that their main military rival would be unwilling to use. Although he was a patriotic American and he possessed a sense of morality that most other Westerners would consider normal, the CIA analyst who uncovered the program supported China’s efforts at breeding hyper-geniuses. The analyst had become interested in intelligence enhancement through his studies of the technological Singularity, and he concluded that an unfriendly ultra-AI arising from an intelligence explosion posed a significant threat to mankind’s survival. The analyst believed that because of their tiny budget, the dozen programmers who were working on trying to build a friendly artificial intelligence still had no idea how to accomplish their goals, and he hoped that the Chinese hyper-geniuses would soon realize the necessity of pursuing friendly AI.

If the price of Intel goes above $50, the hedge fund will sell Intel, pushing the price down to $50. Hedge funds that find mispriced financial assets have incentives to buy or sell the asset until its price becomes equal to what the fund thinks it should be. A financial asset will be mispriced if the asset’s value doesn’t reflect all available information, such as the likelihood of the technological Singularity. But, you might ask, “So what?” Why does the price of financial assets matter? It matters because the higher a company’s stock price is, the better off its investors are. Most companies put a lot of effort into raising the value of their stock. So here is how Singularity expectations will influence corporate behavior: 1.Hedge fund managers have the incentive and intelligence to spot Singularity signposts. 2.Hedge fund managers have a huge amount of influence over stock prices. 3.Companies care a lot about stock prices. 4.Companies, therefore, have a strong incentive to make decisions that take into account the possibility of a Singularity.

 

pages: 484 words: 104,873

Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future by Martin Ford

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bernie Madoff, Bill Joy: nanobots, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, debt deflation, deskilling, diversified portfolio, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, financial innovation, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, Freestyle chess, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, High speed trading, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, labour mobility, liquidity trap, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, Lyft, manufacturing employment, McJob, moral hazard, Narrative Science, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, optical character recognition, passive income, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, post scarcity, precision agriculture, price mechanism, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, rent-seeking, reshoring, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, single-payer health, software is eating the world, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, strong AI, Stuxnet, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Coming Technological Singularity, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, Vernor Vinge, very high income, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce

The Singularity The first application of the term “singularity” to a future technology-driven event is usually credited to computer pioneer John von Neumann, who reportedly said sometime in the 1950s that “ever accelerating progress . . . gives the appearance of approaching some essential singularity in the history of the race beyond which human affairs, as we know them, could not continue.”5 The theme was fleshed out in 1993 by San Diego State University mathematician Vernor Vinge, who wrote a paper entitled “The Coming Technological Singularity.” Vinge, who is not given to understatement, began his paper by writing that “[w]ithin thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended.”6 In astrophysics, a singularity refers to the point within a black hole where the normal laws of physics break down. Within the black hole’s boundary, or event horizon, gravitational force is so intense that light itself is unable to escape its grasp. Vinge viewed the technological singularity in similar terms: it represents a discontinuity in human progress that would be fundamentally opaque until it occurred. Attempting to predict the future beyond the Singularity would be like an astronomer trying to see inside a black hole.

James Barrat, Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era (New York: Thomas Dunne, 2013), pp. 196–197. 3. Yann LeCun, Google+ Post, October 28, 2013, https://plus.google.com/+YannLeCunPhD/posts/Qwj9EEkUJXY. 4. Gary Marcus, “Hyping Artificial Intelligence, Yet Again,” New Yorker (Elements blog), January 1, 2014, http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/elements/2014/01/the-new-york-times-artificial-intelligence-hype-machine.html. 5. Vernor Vinge, “The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era,” NASA VISION-21 Symposium, March 30–31, 1993. 6. Ibid. 7. Robert M. Geraci, “The Cult of Kurzweil: Will Robots Save Our Souls?,” USC Religion Dispatches, http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/culture/4456/the_cult_of_kurzweil%3A_will_robots_save_our_souls/. 8. “Noam Chomsky: The Singularity Is Science Fiction!” (interview), YouTube, October 4, 2013, https://www.youtube.com/watch?

See collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) Center for Economic and Policy Research, 171n Central Intelligence Agency, 46, 85 cervical cancer screening, 152–153 chargemaster prices, 160–161, 164 cheating, MOOCs and, 136–137 Cheney, Dick, 240 chess, 97–98, 122, 123 Chicago, data portal of city of, 87–88 China American consumer spending and, 54 college graduates overqualified for occupations in, 251 consumer demand in, 223–227 globalization and, 53 industrial automation in, 3, 10–11, 225–226 labor’s share of national income in, 41 offshoring and, 120 reshoring and, 9 saving rate in, 224–225 super-intelligence and, 236n China rebalancing, 224–225 Chomsky, Noam, 129, 236 Christensen, Clayton, 142 Chronicle of Higher Education (journal), 139 Chrysler, 76 Circuit City, 16 Cisco, 234 Citigroup, 103, 198 citizen’s dividend, 266–267 Cleveland Clinic, 102 Clifford, Stephanie, 8 climate change, xvii, 211–212, 282–283 Clinton, Bill, 242 cloud computing, 52, 104–107, 109 cloud robotics, 20–23 cobalt poisoning, 145–146 cognitive capability, global competition for jobs and, 120 cognitive computer chip, 72 cognitive computing, 96–104 collaboration software, 64 Collapse: How Societies Choose to Succeed or Fail (Diamond), x collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), 56 college-educated workers, 120–121, 126–128 college graduates, declining income and underemployment for recent, 48–49 College Unbound (Selingo), 140 college wage premium, 48n Colton, Simon, 112 “The Coming Technological Singularity” (Vinge), 233 community colleges, 276–277 comparative advantage, 73–75 compensation. See wages competency-based education (CBE), 138 computers acceleration of power, xii–xiii, 68 (see also Moore’s Law) acquisition of skills by, xv–xvi increase in memory capacity, 63–64 innovation and improvements in, 69–73 predictions of impact of, 31–32, 33–34 S-curve of, 69, 70–71 construction industry, 3D printing and, 180–181 Consumer Price Index (CPI), 38n consumer robots, 197n consumers Chinese, 223–227 demand and, 196–197 permanent income hypothesis, 210–211 workers as, 193–194, 196–198, 221–222 consumer spending, 54 consumer spending/consumption, 200, 202n demand and, 196 guaranteed income and, 269–270 income inequality and, xvi–xvii, 198–202 Cornell University, Creative Machines Lab, 108 corporate profits financial sector, 55 recovery from Great Recession and, 39–40, 202, 203 as share of GDP, 40, 202, 203 correlation vs. cause, big data and, 88–89, 102 costs health care, 160–174 higher education, 140 Coursera, 133, 136 Cowen, Tyler, 65, 123, 126n CPI.

 

pages: 574 words: 164,509

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, anthropic principle, anti-communist, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bioinformatics, brain emulation, cloud computing, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, cosmological constant, dark matter, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, delayed gratification, demographic transition, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, fear of failure, Flash crash, Flynn Effect, friendly AI, Gödel, Escher, Bach, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, interchangeable parts, iterative process, job automation, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, Netflix Prize, new economy, Norbert Wiener, NP-complete, nuclear winter, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, performance metric, phenotype, prediction markets, price stability, principal–agent problem, race to the bottom, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, reversible computing, social graph, speech recognition, Stanislav Petrov, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, superintelligent machines, supervolcano, technological singularity, technoutopianism, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, Turing machine, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, World Values Survey

If another such transition to a different growth mode were to occur, and it were of similar magnitude to the previous two, it would result in a new growth regime in which the world economy would double in size about every two weeks. Such a growth rate seems fantastic by current lights. Observers in earlier epochs might have found it equally preposterous to suppose that the world economy would one day be doubling several times within a single lifespan. Yet that is the extraordinary condition we now take to be ordinary. The idea of a coming technological singularity has by now been widely popularized, starting with Vernor Vinge’s seminal essay and continuing with the writings of Ray Kurzweil and others.4 The term “singularity,” however, has been used confusedly in many disparate senses and has accreted an unholy (yet almost millenarian) aura of techno-utopian connotations.5 Since most of these meanings and connotations are irrelevant to our argument, we can gain clarity by dispensing with the “singularity” word in favor of more precise terminology.

But what of the seemingly more fanciful idea that the Internet might one day “wake up”? Could the Internet become something more than just the backbone of a loosely integrated collective superintelligence—something more like a virtual skull housing an emerging unified super-intellect? (This was one of the ways that superintelligence could arise according to Vernor Vinge’s influential 1993 essay, which coined the term “technological singularity.”83) Against this one could object that machine intelligence is hard enough to achieve through arduous engineering, and that it is incredible to suppose that it will arise spontaneously. However, the story need not be that some future version of the Internet suddenly becomes superintelligent by mere happenstance. A more plausible version of the scenario would be that the Internet accumulates improvements through the work of many people over many years—work to engineer better search and information filtering algorithms, more powerful data representation formats, more capable autonomous software agents, and more efficient protocols governing the interactions between such bots—and that myriad incremental improvements eventually create the basis for some more unified form of web intelligence.

These studies have pointed to the potential of extremely rapid growth given the arrival of digital minds, but since endogenous growth theory is relatively poorly developed even for historical and contemporary applications, any application to a potentially discontinuous future context is better viewed at this stage as a source of potentially useful concepts and considerations than as an exercise likely to deliver authoritative forecasts. For an overview of attempts to mathematically model a technological singularity, see Sandberg (2010). 25. It is of course also possible that there will be no takeoff at all. But since, as argued earlier, superintelligence looks technically feasible, the absence of a takeoff would likely be due to the intervention of some defeater, such as an existential catastrophe. If strong superintelligence arrived not in the shape of artificial intelligence or whole brain emulation but through one of other paths we considered above, then a slower takeoff would be more likely.

 

pages: 405 words: 117,219

In Our Own Image: Savior or Destroyer? The History and Future of Artificial Intelligence by George Zarkadakis

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, Ada Lovelace, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, anthropic principle, Asperger Syndrome, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, British Empire, business process, carbon-based life, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, continuous integration, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological principle, dark matter, dematerialisation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Edward Snowden, epigenetics, Flash crash, Google Glasses, Gödel, Escher, Bach, income inequality, index card, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, millennium bug, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, packet switching, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, post-industrial society, prediction markets, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, strong AI, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, theory of mind, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y2K

Oxford: Oxford University Press. 21Tegmark, M. (2014), ‘Humanity in Jeopardy’, in: Huffington Post, 13 January 2014. 22Tegmark, N., Hawking, S., Russell, S., and Wilczek, F. (2014), ‘Transcendence looks at the implications of artificial intelligence – but are we taking AI seriously enough?’, in: Independent, 1 May 2014. 23Vinge, V. (1993), ‘The coming technological singularity: how to survive in the post-human era’, presented at: the VISION-21 Symposium sponsored by NASA Lewis Research Center and the Ohio Aerospace Institute, 30–31 March, 1993. 24Vinge, V. (1993), ‘The coming technological singularity: how to survive in the post-human era’, presented at: the VISION-21 Symposium sponsored by NASA Lewis Research Center and the Ohio Aerospace Institute, 30–31 March, 1993. 25Kurzweil, R. (1999), The Age of Spiritual Machines, New York: Viking Penguin. 26Dowe, D. L., and Herandez-Oralli, J. (2011), ‘IQ tests are not for machines, yet’, in: Intelligence, March–April 2012, Vol. 40, No. 2, pp. 77–81. 27Although Earth, as a cybernetic system, acts in an ‘intelligent’ way through constant adaptation and self-regulation, a concept explored by James Lovelock in his Gaia hypothesis. 28Vinge, V. (1993), ‘The coming technological singularity: how to survive in the post-human era’, presented at: the VISION-21 Symposium sponsored by NASA Lewis Research Center and the Ohio Aerospace Institute, 30–31 March, 1993. 29At the time this book was written in 2014 the fastest computer in the world was the Chinese Tianhe-2, located at Sun Yatsen University, Guangzhou, China.

These are, of course, questions for writers of ‘alternative history’, and indeed they have been explored in several novels, short stories and comics. Alas, in the universe we inhabit the Analytical Engine, despite its significance, remained mostly unknown. The main features of a modern computer’s architecture were rediscovered nearly a century later. And so was the separation between hardware and software. In this sense, the Analytical Engine was a technological singularity that happened in a world not ready yet to make something useful of it. Similarly to Hellenistic innovations such as the Hero’s Steam Engine and Hipparchus’ Antikythera Mechanism, Babbage’s great invention was well before its time. Nevertheless, Babbage’s achievement is profoundly remarkable. He had invented a machine that could perform multiple functions without the need to reconfigure its mechanical parts.

But how did all this talk about the AI Singularity start? The answer, not surprisingly perhaps, is to be found not in science but in science fiction. Vernor Vinge is a computer scientist, science fiction writer and winner of the prestigious Hugo Award for science fiction. In his novels, particularly in The Peace War (1984) and in Marooned in Realtime (1986), Vinge was the first to explore a fictitious time in the future that he called ‘the technological singularity’. This is when the human race has transcended into a different form of existence with the assistance of exponentially improving sentient technology. He expressed these narrative ideas more explicitly in a 1993 essay, arguing that the creation of superhuman Artificial Intelligence will mark a point in history where ‘the human era will be ended’.23 The main argument for the inevitability of the AI Singularity in Vinge’s essay is Moore’s Law.

 

pages: 297 words: 77,362

The Nature of Technology by W. Brian Arthur

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Andrew Wiles, business process, cognitive dissonance, computer age, double helix, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, haute cuisine, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, locking in a profit, Mars Rover, means of production, railway mania, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, sorting algorithm, speech recognition, technological singularity, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

Each category comes into being differently and evolves differently. A technology-singular—the steam engine—originates as a new concept and develops by modifying its internal parts. A technology-plural—electronics—comes into being by building around certain phenomena and components and develops by changing its parts and practices. And technology-general, the whole collection of all technologies that have ever existed past and present, originates from the use of natural phenomena and builds up organically with new elements forming by combination from old ones. I will have more to say about these second and third categories of technology in the chapters ahead, particularly on how the collective of technology evolves. But because technologies-singular—individual technologies—make up this collective, I want to focus on them for the rest of this chapter.

It means simply that a jet engine (or more generally, any technology) consists of component building blocks that are also technologies, and these consist of subparts that are also technologies, in a repeating (or recurring) pattern. Technologies, then, are built from a hierarchy of technologies, and this has implications for how we should think of them, as we will see shortly. It also means that whatever we can say in general about technologies-singular must hold also for assemblies or subsystems at lower levels as well. In particular, because a technology consists of main assembly and supporting assemblies, each assembly or subsystem must be organized this way too. So far, recursiveness sounds abstract. But when we look at it in action, it becomes perfectly concrete. Consider a technology of some complication: the F-35 Lightning II aircraft.

 

pages: 194 words: 49,310

Clock of the Long Now by Stewart Brand

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Albert Einstein, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Colonization of Mars, complexity theory, Danny Hillis, Eratosthenes, Extropian, fault tolerance, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, life extension, nuclear winter, pensions crisis, phenotype, Ray Kurzweil, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, Thomas Malthus, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog

Vinge himself sees the tipping point as the moment when machine intelligence, or machine-enhanced intelligence, surpasses normal human intelligence and takes over its own further progress. Another possibility is some emergent property of the all-embracing Internet, which Vinge proposes might “suddenly awaken.” Any such occurrence would indeed transform our world. Whether or not it will actually occur, the mere prospect of a technological Singularity changes behavior. People already refer to the near future in months instead of years, and to the distant future in years instead of decades or centuries. What may happen decades from now—beyond the imagined event horizon—is treated as not only unknown but unknowable. Under such conditions speed becomes glorified. Haste switches from a vice to a virtue; behavior that once might have been called reckless and irresponsible becomes swift and decisive action.

Only in the rural Benedictine monasteries were intellectual discourse and education maintained. So it went for five centuries, until suddenly in the mid twelfth century the lead was taken over by the new universities in reviving cities such as Paris, Bologna, and Oxford. Urban universities have kept the intellectual lead ever since (though the Net may be challenging that). Future dark ages are always possible. The technological Singularity could generate one—what if whatever we transition to doesn’t work out? Contemplating the need for bridging gaps in civilization, the dreamers of a millennial Clock/Library assumed from the beginning that it would be built in a remote desert site. Forests, shorelines, and cities suffer too rapid a physical turnover to be good candidates. The recollection of what happened to Europe’s monasteries after 1200—they became stagnant and irrelevant—suggests that Clock/Library should not lose touch with urban creativity and ferment.

 

pages: 797 words: 227,399

Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century by P. W. Singer

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Atahualpa, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bill Joy: nanobots, blue-collar work, borderless world, clean water, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, cuban missile crisis, en.wikipedia.org, Ernest Rutherford, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Firefox, Francisco Pizarro, Frank Gehry, friendly fire, game design, George Gilder, Google Earth, Grace Hopper, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, invention of gunpowder, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, Isaac Newton, Jacques de Vaucanson, job automation, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Law of Accelerating Returns, Mars Rover, Menlo Park, New Urbanism, pattern recognition, private military company, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Wisdom of Crowds, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Wall-E, Yogi Berra

Singer, December 7, 2006. 103 “the laws of science and our ability” As quoted in Garreau, Radical Evolution, 72. 103 “Google all the time” Peter Moon, “AI Will Surpass Human Intelligence After 2020,” TTworld.com, May 3, 2007 (cited May 30, 2007); available at http://www.itworld.com/Tech/3494/070503ai2020/. 103 “the Internet-based cognitive tools” Vernor Vinge, Rainbows End (New York: Tor Books, 2006), 5. 103 “The Coming Technological Singularity” Vernor Vinge, “The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era” (paper presented at the VISION-21 Symposium, March 30-31, 1993). 103 “within thirty years” Ibid. 103 “point where our old models” Ibid. 104 “We are on the edge of change” Vinge, as quoted in Garreau, Radical Evolution, 71-72. 104 “It’s a future period” Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near, 7. 104 “It’s not merely a technology” Robert Epstein, interview, Peter W. Singer, Washington, DC, October 25, 2006. 104 “fits many of our happiest dreams” Vinge, “The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era.” 104 “physical extinction of the human race” Ibid. 104 “the very nature of what it means to be human” “About the Book,” Singularity.com (cited May 29, 2007); available at http://singularity.com/aboutthebook.html. 105 “the non-biological intelligence” Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near, 136. 105 “The Rapture for Nerds” Charles Stross, “Singularity: A Tough Guide to the Rapture of the Nerds,” 2005 (cited January 28, 2008); available at http://www.antipope.org/charlie/toughguide.html. 105 “By 2030 we are likely to” Bill Joy, “Forfeiting the Future,” Resurgence, no. 208 (2001), http://www.resurgence.org/resurgence /issues /joy208.htm. 105 “By the way, Joy’s thesis is spot-on” Special forces officer, interview, Peter W.

He describes a world in which people “Google all the time, everywhere, using wearable computers, and omnipresent sensors.” Vinge doesn’t dedicate the book to his wife or parents or cat. Instead, perhaps sucking up to our future owners, he dedicates it to “the Internet-based cognitive tools that are changing our lives—Wikipedia, Google, eBay, and the others of their kind, now and in the future.” In 1993, Vinge authored a seminal essay. The title he chose, “The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era,” pretty much says it all. Vinge described the ongoing explosion in computing power and projected that “within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly thereafter, the human era will be ended.” Once superhuman intelligence gets involved, argued Vinge, the pace of technological development would accelerate even further than the doubling we have gone through for the last generations.

Carlyle Group Carnegie Mellon University Carr, Chalmers Rankin Carr, Hap Cartwright, James Casey, George Cassidy, Thomas Cebrowski, Arthur Center for Intelligent Robots Center for Robotics and Intelligent Machines Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Chao, Pierre Chapman, Jacob Chechnya Chew-Chew (robot) Children of Dysfunctional Robots (Everett) China, People’s Republic of industrial espionage and robotics industry of China Policy Foundation Choi, Jun Ho Christensen, Henrik Churchill, Winston City of Quartz (Davis) Clancy, Tom Clark, Joel Clarke, Arthur C. Clarke, Richard Clarke, Victoria Clausewitz, Carl von claytronic robots Clerk, Vern Clinton, Bill CNN COBOL (Common Business Language) Cohen, Eliot Cohen, Jay Coker, Christopher Colbert, Stephen cold war computer technology and Cole, Henry Cole, U.S.S. Coleman, William Colossus (computer) “Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era” (Vinge) Command of the Air, The (Douhet) Communist Party, Chinese computers Antikythera Apple-Tomato test and cold war and compiler software and early development of in Gulf War Internet and robots and Turing test and Congo Congress, U.S. Joint Economic Committee of Conover, David Cooper, Martin Corbett, Julian Stafford Cormorant (drone) Cortés, Hernán counterinsurgency Counter Rocket Artillery Mortar (CRAM) counterterrorism AI and data mining and ID at a distance and as manhunt new technologies and TIA program and see also terrorism CRAM (Counter Rocket Artillery Mortar) Creative Robots Crécy, battle of Crenshaw, Lewis Crichton, Michael Crimean War Cruise, Tom cruise missiles Crusher (robot) Cuba Cuban missile crisis Curveball (Iraqi defector) Custer, George Armstrong cyberglove cyberpunk movement CyberRider cyborgs Daley, Richard Darfur Darman, Richard DARPATech Darwin, Charles “Darwin Among the Machines” (Butler) Darwin’s Radio (Bear) Daschle, Tom da Vinci robotic system Davis, Joshua Davis, Mike decision making AI systems and Deep Blue (computer) Defence Evaluation and Research Agency Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) AugCog program of Brain-Interface Project of budget of critics of Grand Challenge and Integrated Battle Command of mission of PETE electronic assistant of TIA program of Urbanscape project of Defense Department, U.S.

 

pages: 369 words: 80,355

Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren't the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room by David Weinberger

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

airport security, Alfred Russel Wallace, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, book scanning, Cass Sunstein, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, David Brooks, Debian, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, future of journalism, Galaxy Zoo, Hacker Ethic, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, invention of the telegraph, jimmy wales, John Harrison: Longitude, Kevin Kelly, linked data, Netflix Prize, New Journalism, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, openstreetmap, P = NP, Pluto: dwarf planet, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Republic of Letters, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, slashdot, social graph, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize

Thank you to Barbara Tillett, also at the Library, for her help. 9 See http://www.trancheproject.org. 10 Interview with John Wilbanks. 11 Southan and Cameron, “Beyond the Tsunami,” p. 117–118. 12 Hiroaki Kitano, “Systems Biology: A Brief Overview,” Science 295, no. 5560 (March 1, 2002): 1662–1664. 13 For a superb introduction, see Steven Johnson, Emergence (Scribner, 2001). 14 See http://www.icosystem.com/labsdemos/the-game/. 15 Eric Bonabeau, “Agent-Based Modeling: Methods and Techniques for Simulating Human Systems,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 99, suppl. 3 (May 14, 2002): 7280–7287, www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/0.1073/pnas.082080899. 16 Kellan Davidson, “Eureqa and Technological Singularity,” Ithaca Action News, May 12, 2010, http://ithacaactionnews.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/eureqa-and-technological-singularity/. 17 Quoted in Brandon Keim, “Download Your Own Robot Scientist,” Wired Science, December 3, 2009, http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/12/download-robot-scientist/#ixzz0vrP0I4G9. See also the exceptional RadioLab program on this topic: “Limits of Science,” April 16, 2010, http://www.wnyc.org/shows/radiolab/episodes/2010/04/16/segments/149570. 18 Nicholas Taleb Nassim, The Black Swan (Random House, 2007). 19 The story may be apocryphal, according to a report by Nicholas Wade in “A Family Feud over Mendel’s Manuscript on the Laws of Heredity,” May 31, 2010, http://philosophyofscienceportal.blogspot.com/2010/06/gregor-mendel-and-pea-breeding.html. 20 Jennifer Laing, “Comet Hunter,” Universe Today, December 11, 2001, http://www.universetoday.com/html/articles/2001–1211a.html. 21 Jennifer Ouellette, “Astronomy’s Amateurs a Boon for Science,” Discovery News, September 20, 2010, http://news.discovery.com/space/astronomys-amateurs-a-boon-for-science.html. 22 Mark Frauenfelder, “The Return of Amateur Science,” Boing Boing, December 22, 2008, http://www.good.is/post/the-return-of-amateur-science/. 23 Thanks to the people who responded to the request for examples I posted on my Web site: Garrett Coakley, Jeremy Price, Miriam Simun, Andrew Weinberger, Jim Richardson, and Lars Ludwig.

 

The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology by Ray Kurzweil

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

additive manufacturing, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, brain emulation, Brewster Kahle, Brownian motion, business intelligence, c2.com, call centre, carbon-based life, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, Dava Sobel, David Brooks, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, factory automation, friendly AI, George Gilder, Gödel, Escher, Bach, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of the telephone, invention of the telescope, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, linked data, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, Mikhail Gorbachev, mouse model, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, oil shale / tar sands, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, phenotype, premature optimization, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, remote working, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, The Coming Technological Singularity, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Y2K, Yogi Berra

We humans have the ability to internalize the world and conduct "what if's" in our heads; we can solve many problems thousands of times faster than natural selection. Now, by creating the means to execute those simulations at much higher speeds, we are entering a regime as radically different from our human past as we humans are from the lower animals. From the human point of view, this change will be a throwing away of all the previous rules, perhaps in the blink of an eye, an exponential runaway beyond any hope of control. —VERNOR VINGE, "THE TECHNOLOGICAL SINGULARITY," 1993 Let an ultraintelligent machine be defined as a machine that can far surpass all the intellectual activities of any man however clever. Since the design of machines is one of these intellectual activities, an ultraintelligent machine could design even better machines; there would then unquestionably be an "intelligence explosion," and the intelligence of man would be left far behind.

The first reference to the Singularity as an event capable of rupturing the fabric of human history is John von Neumann's statement quoted above. In the 1960s, I. J. Good wrote of an "intelligence explosion" resulting from intelligent machines' designing their next generation without human intervention. Vernor Vinge, a mathematician and computer scientist at San Diego State University, wrote about a rapidly approaching "technological singularity" in an article for Omni magazine in 1983 and in a science-fiction novel, Marooned in Realtime, in 1986.19 My 1989 book, The Age of Intelligent Machines, presented a future headed inevitably toward machines greatly exceeding human intelligence in the first half of the twenty-first century.20 Hans Moravec's 1988 book Mind Children came to a similar conclusion by analyzing the progression of robotics.21 In 1993 Vinge presented a paper to a NASA-organized symposium that described the Singularity as an impending event resulting primarily from the advent of "entities with greater than human intelligence," which Vinge saw as the harbinger of a runaway phenomenon.22 My 1999 book, The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence, described the increasingly intimate connection between our biological intelligence and the artificial intelligence we are creating.23 Hans Moravec's book Robot: Mere Machine to Transcendent Mind, also published in 1999, described the robots of the 2040s as our "evolutionary heirs," machines that will "grow from us, learn our skills, and share our goals and values, ... children of our minds."24 Australian scholar Damien Broderick's 1997 and 2001 books, both titled The Spike, analyzed the pervasive impact of the extreme phase of technology acceleration anticipated within several decades.25 In an extensive series of writings, John Smart has described the Singularity as the inevitable result of what he calls "MEST" (matter, energy, space, and time) compression.26 From my perspective, the Singularity has many faces.

As I discussed in chapter 6, there are conjectures that an advanced civilization may create a new universe to perform computation (or, to put it another way, to continue the expansion of its own computation). Our living in such a universe (created by another civilization) can be considered a simulation scenario. Perhaps this other civilization is running an evolutionary algorithm on our universe (that is, the evolution we're witnessing) to create an explosion of knowledge from a technology Singularity. If that is true, then the civilization watching our universe might shut down the simulation if it appeared that a knowledge Singularity had gone awry and it did not look like it was going to occur. This scenario is also not high on my worry list, particularly since the only strategy that we can follow to avoid a negative outcome is the one we need to follow anyway. Crashing the Party.

 

pages: 339 words: 88,732

The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, access to a mobile phone, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, British Empire, business intelligence, business process, call centre, clean water, combinatorial explosion, computer age, computer vision, congestion charging, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, employer provided health coverage, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, falling living standards, Filter Bubble, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Freestyle chess, full employment, game design, global village, happiness index / gross national happiness, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, law of one price, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, means of production, Narrative Science, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, pattern recognition, payday loans, price stability, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, six sigma, Skype, software patent, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, telepresence, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, total factor productivity, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy, Y2K

And if they did, wouldn’t they soon realize that we humans treat our technologies pretty poorly, scrapping them without a second thought? Self-preservation alone would plausibly motivate this digital army to fight against us (perhaps using Siri as an interpreter for the enemy). In utopian versions of digital consciousness, we humans don’t fight with machines; we join with them, uploading our brains into the cloud and otherwise becoming part of a “technological singularity.” This is a term coined in 1983 by science-fiction author Vernor Vinge, who predicted that, “We will soon create intelligences greater than our own. . . . When this happens, human history will have reached a kind of singularity, an intellectual transition as impenetrable as the knotted space-time at the center of a black hole, and the world will pass far beyond our understanding.”6 Progress toward such a singularity, Vinge and others have argued, is driven by Moore’s Law.

ICIS 1996 Proceedings, December 31, 1996, http://aisel.aisnet.org/icis1996/5; and Eli Pariser, The Filter Bubble: How the New Personalized Web Is Changing What We Read and How We Think (New York: Penguin, 2012); on social isolation see Sherry Turkle, Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other (New York: Basic Books, 2012); and Robert D. Putnam, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, 1st ed. (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001); finally, on environmental degradation, see Albert Gore, The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change, 2013. 6. Chad Brooks, “What Is the Singularity?” TechNewsDaily, April 29, 2013, http://www.technewsdaily.com/17898-technological-singularity-definition.html. 7. To improve the odds that he will be alive to see the singularity (he’ll be ninety-seven in 2045), Kurzweil has put himself on a self-engineered diet that includes taking 150 nutritional supplements every day. See Kristen Philipkoski, “Ray Kurzweil’s Plan: Never Die,” Wired, November 18, 2002, http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/news/2002/11/56448. 8. Steve Lohr, “Creating Artificial Intelligence Based on the Real Thing,” New York Times, December 5, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/06/science/creating-artificial-intelligence-based-on-the-real-thing.html. 9.

 

pages: 326 words: 97,089

Five Billion Years of Solitude: The Search for Life Among the Stars by Lee Billings

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, California gold rush, Colonization of Mars, cosmological principle, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, Dava Sobel, double helix, Edmond Halley, full employment, hydraulic fracturing, index card, Isaac Newton, Kuiper Belt, Magellanic Cloud, music of the spheres, out of africa, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, planetary scale, profit motive, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, random walk, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Searching for Interstellar Communications, Silicon Valley, Solar eclipse in 1919, technological singularity, the scientific method, transcontinental railway

What those changes meant for the future of our culture and our world remained to be seen, though it seemed possible that, given a few centuries’ time, we might not even recognize whatever our descendants had become. I mentioned to Drake that many of the same Silicon Valley tycoons who helped fund the SETI Institute often chattered about a dawning era of even more radical and rapid change, a coming “technological singularity” in which exponential growth in computing power and sophistication would profoundly transform, at minimum, the entire planet. Some techno-prophets spoke worshipfully or fearfully of computers becoming sentient and gaining godlike powers. Others speculated that someday humans would break free of their carbon-based chains by uploading their minds into silicon substrates, where they could, in some manner, live forever.

., 258–59 planetesimals, 2 planets: extrasolar, see exoplanets formation of, in our solar system, 2–3, 31, 109, 238 Kepler’s laws of motion of, 82–84 protoplanets, 2 transits of, 53 plants, 130–32, 143 photosynthesis in, 29, 33, 131, 140–43, 154, 169, 175, 180–82 plate tectonics, 30, 105, 111, 128, 140, 144, 169, 172, 176, 179, 229 Plato, 78–80, 82 Pluto, 110, 191, 239 polarization, 115–16 POLISH, 115–17 Pollack, James, 158 Pong, Christopher, 259 Precambrian period, 139–40, 144, 154, 238 precious metals, 105–6, 111 primordial soup, 19 Proceedings of the Royal Society, 84 Project Ozma, 11, 14, 47–48 prokaryotes, 139, 140, 143, 144 Proterozoic Eon, 140–44, 171, 179 protons, 88 protoplanets, 2 Proxima Centauri, 94, 97 psychohistory, 152 pyrite, 173 Pythagoras, 78, 82 Quaternary Period, 133 Queloz, Didier, 58 radio, 42–43, 45 Radio Astronomy Laboratory, 12 Recession, Great, 13, 106–7, 165, 196 recombination, 248, 249 red beds, 131 redox reactions, 168 redwood trees, 30–31, 106, 110 Regulus, 239 Renaissance, 22, 81 Reynolds, Ray, 155–56 Ricketts, Taylor, 74–77 Rittenhouse, David, 86 Road Map for the Exploration of Neighboring Planetary Systems, A, 211–12, 214, 221 rocket equation, 186 Sagan, Carl, 16, 19, 20, 24–25, 174, 239–42, 243 San Diego Air & Space Museum, 100 Sasselov, Dimitar, 226, 249 Saturn, 28, 83, 109, 191 Saturn rockets, 151–52, 187, 188, 202, 203 Schmidt, Eric, 258 Science, 104 scientific method, 78 Seager, Sara, 243–65 children of, 251–53, 156, 160–61, 264 ExoplanetSat project of, 256–57 “Next 40 Years of Exoplanets” conference of, 225–35, 263 as Planetary Resources advisor, 258–59 TPF work of, 225–28, 232–35, 249–53, 255–58, 262 Wevrick and, 244–49, 251–56, 264 Wevrick’s illness and death and, 253–56, 264, 265 Wevrick’s marriage to, 249 SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence), 9–14, 38, 41 Arecibo Observatory and, 41 Drake equation and, 16–25 first modern search by, 10–11 Green Bank conference of, 15–25, 27–28, 101, 167–68, 240 lack of funding for, 10–14 Laughlin’s view of, 99 NASA and, 11–12 Project Ozma, 11, 14, 47–48 SETI Institute, 12, 43 Allen Telescope Array of, 12–14, 41, 42 shales, see black shales Simonyi, Charles, 258 Smith, Matt, 259 Snowball Earth events, 142, 174, 179 solar eclipse, 119 solar system, 19, 87 evolution of, as viewed from stars, 238–39 formation of, 1–3, 31, 139 formation of Earth in, 2, 7, 20, 139, 173 formation of planets in, 2–3, 31, 109, 238 heliocentric model of, 79–82 measuring size of, 86 shell of light surrounding, 237–38 Soviet Union, 11 nuclear weapons and, 23 Soyuz rocket, 233–34 Venera 13, 50 Space Age, 48, 50, 87, 99, 112, 151 Space Interferometry Mission (SIM), 215 space junk, 13 Space Launch System, 204 space missions, 187–99 Apollo, 1, 50, 151, 187, 202, 212, 239 Ares V, 203 Atlantis, 185–87 ATLAST, 198, 203, 230 Challenger, 3, 188–89 Columbia, 189, 196 commercial providers and, 233–34, 258–59 Constellation program, 196, 198, 203, 204, 215, 221, 223 ExoplanetSat, 256–57 Galileo, 241–42 Great Observatories, 192, 197, 209 Hubble Space Telescope, 189–93, 195, 197–99, 205–7, 209, 218–19, 226 International Space Station, 187, 189, 197, 202, 207–8, 210 James Webb Space Telescope, 193–99, 202–4, 209, 215, 216, 218, 220, 225, 262 Kepler Space Telescope, 13–14, 53–54, 56, 62, 71–73, 98, 108–9, 166, 201, 225, 229–30, 263 to Mars, 187, 188, 196, 207, 221 to Moon, see Moon, missions to New Horizons, 239 OpTIIX, 207–8, 210 Pioneer, 239–40 Saturn rockets, 151–52, 187, 188, 202, 203 shuttle program failures, 188–89 Terrestrial Planet Finders, see Terrestrial Planet Finders Tsiolkovsky and, 186–87 Voyager, see Voyager missions Space Telescope Science Institute, 198, 199, 212, 257–58 spectra, 200–202, 250 spectroscopy, spectrometers, 33–34, 51–52 in Alpha Centauri search, 94–98 CHIRON, 62 Hamilton, 58, 114 HARPS, 60–61, 63–69, 96, 98 HIRES, 59–63, 66 iodine cell calibration in, 58 radial-velocity (RV), 51, 53–58, 60, 61–64, 66, 68, 94–98, 108, 114 Spergel, David, 218–20, 249 Spitzer, Lyman, 189, 209 Spitzer Space Telescope, 192, 209 Sproul Telescope, 52 spy satellites, 188, 189, 205, 209 SRI International, 42 Stahl, Phil, 203 Stamenkovic, Vlada, 259 stars, 200–201 47 Ursae Majoris, 59 51 Pegasi, 50 61 Virginis, 55 70 Virginis, 59 Alpha Centauri, see Alpha Centauri binary systems, 18, 94 Dyson spheres for capturing energy of, 104, 105 in early cosmology, 78–80 of exoplanets, observations of, 33 formation of, 17–18, 27 GJ 667C, 65, 66 Gliese 581, 63, 68, 163 HD 83443, 60 HD 209458, 60, 228 HR 8799, 238 Kepler field, 41 laws of nature and, 155–56 M13 cluster, 39–41 measuring distances to, 86 Proxima Centauri, 94, 97 red dwarf (M-dwarf), 27, 172, 228–30, 262 spectroscopy and, see spectroscopy, spectrometers Sun-like, 18, 50, 55, 201, 228, 230, 238, 256, 257 transits of planets across, 53 Star Wars, 260–61 Stoermer, Eugene, 135 Struve, Otto, 15, 18–19, 25, 32, 47–48 sulfuric acid, 173 Sun, 31, 73, 87 birth of, 2, 31, 238 Dyson spheres for capturing energy of, 104, 105 in early cosmology, 78–82 Earth’s distance from, 83, 86 end of life on Earth caused by, 7, 31–32, 75–77, 159, 180–83 faint young Sun problem, 173–75 heliocentrism and, 79–82 orbit of, 95 shell of light surrounding, 237–38 as telescope, 35–37 Sun-like stars, 18, 50, 55, 201, 228, 230, 238, 256, 257 supernovae, 30, 88 Swarthmore College, 52 systemic, 71 Systemic Console, 54, 65 Tau Ceti, 10–11 technological civilizations, 29, 32, 104–5 emergence of, 21–22 longevity of, 22–25, 38–39, 41, 42 technological progress, 136, 183 Urey on, 101–3 and visibility of communication, 42–43 technological singularity, 43–44 tectonic plates, 30, 105, 111, 128, 140, 144, 169, 172, 176, 179, 229 telescopes, 34–36, 51, 61, 99, 170–71, 199, 201–4, 206, 208, 211–12, 223 active optics in, 204–6, 208 Allen Array, 12–14, 41, 42 ATLAST, 198, 203, 230 Automated Planet Finder, 61, 70, 114 ExoplanetSat, 256–57 Galileo’s use of, 81–82, 210 Gemini, 199–200, 203 in Great Observatories program, 192, 197, 209 Hubble, 189–93, 195, 197–99, 205–7, 209, 218–19, 226 James Webb (JWST), 193–99, 202–4, 209, 215, 216, 218, 220, 225, 262 Kasting and, 152–54 Kepler, 13–14, 53–54, 56, 62, 71–73, 98, 108–9, 166, 201, 225, 229–30, 263 mEarth Project, 228–29 Sun as, 35–37 Terrestrial Planet Finders, see Terrestrial Planet Finders see also observatories Teller, Edward, 101 temperature-pressure profile, 157–58 Terrestrial Planet Finders (TPFs), 165–67, 184, 194, 196–98, 214–35, 241, 242, 263 coronagraphic, 217–22, 224, 231, 249 interferometer concept for, 213–14, 216, 231 Seager’s work with, 225–28, 232–35, 249–53, 255–58, 262 starshade (occulter) concept for, 220–21, 225 TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite), 229–30 Thales, 77–79, 238 Thébault, Philippe, 97 thermodynamic disequilibrium, 168–69 Thoreau, Henry, 254 Time, 52 time, deep, 145–46 time capsule, 100–103 Todd, David Peck, 114 Toronto Sun, 74 transits, 53, 56, 84–86, 114–20, 204, 229–30, 251, 263 Traub, Wesley, 217–19, 221–25, 235 travel, interstellar, 44–45, 100–101 tropopause, 158–59 Tsiolkovsky, Konstantin, 186–87, 199, 225, 231 Turner, Edwin, 249–50 2063 A.D., 100–103 universe: Big Bang and, 89–91 evolution of, 88–89 expansion of, 87–90 inflation of, 89–92 recombination in, 248, 249 smoothness of, 89 universes, parallel, 90–91 University of California, 113 University of California, Berkeley: Miller Institute for Basic Research in Science, 48, 74 Radio Astronomy Laboratory, 12 University of California, Santa Cruz, 107–8 University of Vermont, 74–75 Uranus, 109–10 Urey, Harold, 15, 19 2063 A.D. entry of, 101–3 Utt, James B., 101 Valencia, Diana, 259 van de Kamp, Peter, 52–53 Venera 13, 50 Venus, 19, 49–50, 54, 87, 109, 154, 155, 179, 239 atmosphere of, 116, 159–60 climate of, 158–59 Galileo’s study of, 81–82 Kepler’s study of, 83–84 Laughlin’s valuation of, 73 transits of, 83–86, 114–20 water on, 28, 171–72, 179 Vogt, Steve, 55, 58–64, 66–70 Von Braun, Wernher, 1, 151, 186 Voyager missions, 35, 239–42 image of Earth from, 239–42 phonograph records on, 240 Walden (Thoreau), 254 Walden Pond, 254 Walker, James, 176–79, 181 water, 157, 170–71 on Earth, 3, 30, 158–61, 174, 177–80, 182 on Mars, 28, 179 on Venus, 28, 171–72, 179 Wevrick, Mike, 244–49, 251–56, 264 illness and death of, 253–56, 264, 265 Seager’s marriage to, 249 Whipple, Fred, 100 Whitfield, Michael, 181–82 Whitmire, Dan, 155–56 Wiktorowicz, Sloane, 115–19 Wolfe, Tom, 1 world government, 102 Wright, Orville and Wilbur, 186 Zachary, Pavl, 117–18

 

Pandora's Brain by Calum Chace

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, AI winter, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, artificial general intelligence, brain emulation, Extropian, friendly AI, hive mind, Ray Kurzweil, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, Skype, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, technological singularity, theory of mind, Turing test, Wall-E

The trouble with philosophy is that a lot of it’s science fiction without the fancy dress.’ ‘That sounds like fun!’ Matt laughed. ‘Yeah, it is,’ Carl conceded, ‘but you can find yourself reading about some pretty nutty stuff.’ ‘Such as?’ ‘Well, for instance there’s a group of people who believe the arrival of conscious, super-intelligent machines is imminent, and they want to prepare the world for something called the technological Singularity.’ ‘What on earth’s a technological Singularity? I mean, I know what a mathematical Singularity is, but I’m guessing that’s not what they’re talking about.’ Carl nodded. ‘From what I’ve read it’s what happens when somebody creates the first conscious machine intelligence. There’s an intelligence explosion, and the future beyond that point is hard or impossible to predict or even imagine, except that we join forces with the machine intelligence and it takes us to the next level.

 

pages: 659 words: 203,574

The Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge by Vernor Vinge

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

anthropic principle, back-to-the-land, dematerialisation, gravity well, invisible hand, Machinery of Freedom by David Friedman, spice trade, technological singularity, unbiased observer, Vernor Vinge

Here I had tried a straightforward extrapolation of technology, and found myself precipitated over an abyss. It’s a problem writers face every time we consider the creation of intelligences greater than our own. When this happens, human history will have reached a kind of singularity—a place where extrapolation breaks down and new models must be applied—and the world will pass beyond our understanding. In one form or another, this Technological Singularity haunts many science-fiction writers: A bright fellow like Mark Twain could predict television, but such extrapolation is forever beyond, say, a dog. The best we writers can do is creep up on the Singularity, and hang ten at its edge. (My extended song-and-dance about this idea is at http://www.rohan.sdsu.edu/faculty/vinge/misc/singularity.html. In that 1993 essay, I try to track the history of this idea in the twentieth century.

Beyond the rescue scene I had only general ideas, and things stagnated; finishing the story was a fortunate and interesting collaboration. THE UNGOVERNED At least four of the stories in this collection take place in the aftermath of a catastrophic war. A couple of them use the setting as a stage for admonishment. But there is another reason for some post-catastrophe stories: such a war could postpone the Technological Singularity and leave the world intelligible to us mere humans. Lots of writers have earned their fortunes “in the aftermath” when high tech and medievalism can be jumbled in many different ways. It’s hard to know the long-range consequences of a general war. Conceivably it could mean the end of the human race. The war and the years immediately after would be as terrible as advertised. But the race would probably survive.

There are a lot of things I like about “Just Peace.” As a collaboration it went very smoothly. Bill and I had many small things in our idea boxes that found a nice home here: the Canadian background, the danger of colonizing a planet whose core was about to undergo a phase change. We were vague about Chente’s background on Earth. This was deliberate. I assumed Earth had already gone through the Technological Singularity. We see about as much of Earth as we could understand. One major aspect of Earth’s technology leaks into this story: the duplicative transport used to bring Chente to New Canada. Not much is made of it here, but I find the idea immensely intriguing. If we could make exact copies of someone (not just clones, but exact down to quantum limits) what would this do to our concept of ego? The idea has been in SF for many years (at least back to Algis Budrys’s Rogue Moon and Poul Anderson’s We Have Fed Our Sea).

 

pages: 462 words: 150,129

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves by Matt Ridley

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

23andMe, agricultural Revolution, air freight, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, Corn Laws, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic dividend, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, falling living standards, feminist movement, financial innovation, Flynn Effect, food miles, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hans Rosling, happiness index / gross national happiness, haute cuisine, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, informal economy, invention of agriculture, invisible hand, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kula ring, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Northern Rock, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, packet switching, patent troll, Pax Mongolica, Peter Thiel, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Productivity paradox, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Silicon Valley, spice trade, spinning jenny, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supervolcano, technological singularity, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, ultimatum game, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, Vernor Vinge, wage slave, working poor, working-age population, Y2K, Yogi Berra

Technologies I cannot even conceive will be commonplace and habits I never knew human beings needed will be routine. Machines may have become sufficiently intelligent to design themselves, in which case the rate of economic growth may by then have changed as much as it did at the start of the industrial revolution – so that the world economy will be doubling in months or even weeks, and accelerating towards a technological ‘singularity’ where the rate of change is almost infinite. But here goes, none the less. I forecast that the twenty-first century will show a continuing expansion of catallaxy – Hayek’s word for spontaneous order created by exchange and specialisation. Intelligence will become more and more collective; innovation and order will become more and more bottom-up; work will become more and more specialised, leisure more and more diversified.

‘Economic growth’ in the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics (edited by David R Henderson, published by Liberty Fund); and Romer, P. 1994. New goods, old theory, and the welfare costs of trade restrictions. Journal of Development Economics 43:5–38. p. 355 ‘the world economy will be doubling in months or even weeks’. Hanson, R. 2008. Economics of the Singularity. IEEE Spectrum (June 2008) 45:45–50. p. 355 ‘a technological “singularity”’. This notion has been explored by Vernor Vinge and Ray Kurzweil. See Kurzweil, R. 2005. The Singularity Is Near. Penguin. p. 355 ‘says Stephen Levy.’ Levy, S. 2009. Googlenomics. Wired, June 2009. p. 356 ‘says the author Clay Shirky’. Shirky, C. 2008. Here Comes Everybody. Penguin. p. 356 ‘Says Kevin Kelly’. Kelly, K. 2009. The new socialism. Wired, June 2009. p. 358 ‘The wrong kind of chiefs, priests and thieves could yet snuff out future prosperity on earth.’

 

pages: 413 words: 119,587

Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots by John Markoff

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, AI winter, airport security, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Duvall, bioinformatics, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, call centre, cellular automata, Chris Urmson, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer age, computer vision, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, Dean Kamen, deskilling, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hacker Ethic, haute couture, hive mind, hypertext link, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of the wheel, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Conway, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, loose coupling, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, medical residency, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, natural language processing, new economy, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, pattern recognition, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, semantic web, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, skunkworks, Skype, social software, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tenerife airport disaster, The Coming Technological Singularity, the medium is the message, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

The year 2045 is when Ray Kurzweil predicts humans will transcend biology, and implicitly, one would presume, destiny.37 Kurzweil, the serial artificial intelligence entrepreneur and author who joined Google as a director of engineering in 2012 to develop some of his ideas for building an artificial “mind,” represents a community of many of Silicon Valley’s best and brightest technologists. They have been inspired by the ideas of computer scientist and science-fiction author Vernor Vinge about the inevitability of a “technological singularity” that would mark the point in time at which machine intelligence will surpass human intelligence. When he first wrote about the idea of the singularity in 1993, Vinge framed a relatively wide span of years—between 2005 and 2030—during which computers might become “awake” and superhuman.38 The singularity movement depends on the inevitability of mutually reinforcing exponential improvements in a variety of information-based technologies ranging from processing power to storage.

(New York: Simon & Schuster, 2014), Kindle location 222–230. 34.Tim O’Reilly, Google+, January 9, 2014, https://plus.google.com/+TimOReilly/posts/F85gaWoBp3Z. 35.Matthieu Pélissié du Rausas, James Manyika, Eric Hazan, Jacques Bughin, Michael Chui, and Rémi Said, “Internet Matters: The Net’s Sweeping Impact on Growth, Jobs, and Prosperity,” McKinsey Global Institute, May 2011, http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/high_tech_telecoms_internet/internet_matters. 36.“The Last Kodak Moment?” Economist, January 12, 2012, http://www.economist.com/node/21542796. 37.Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology (New York: Penguin Books, 2006). 38.“The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era,” VISION-21 Symposium, NASA Lewis Research Center, NASA technical reports, NASA CP-10129, March 30–31, 1993, https://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/faculty/vinge/misc/singu larity.html. 39.Robert Geraci, Apocalyptic AI: Visions of Heaven in Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and Virtual Reality, reprint edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012). 40.Moshe Y.

 

pages: 442 words: 39,064

Why Stock Markets Crash: Critical Events in Complex Financial Systems by Didier Sornette

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, capital asset pricing model, capital controls, continuous double auction, currency peg, Deng Xiaoping, discrete time, diversified portfolio, Elliott wave, Erdős number, experimental economics, financial innovation, floating exchange rates, frictionless, frictionless market, full employment, global village, implied volatility, index fund, invisible hand, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, law of one price, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, market clearing, market design, market fundamentalism, mental accounting, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, oil shock, open economy, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, risk/return, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, stochastic process, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tobin tax, total factor productivity, transaction costs, tulip mania, VA Linux, Y2K, yield curve

There is also the possibility that the computational competence of single neurons may be far higher than generally believed. If so, our present computer hardware might be as much as ten orders of magnitude short of the equipment we carry around in our heads. If this is true (or for that matter, if the Penrose or Searle critique is valid), we might never see the singularity [438]. But if the technological singularity can happen, it will. Vinge argues that we cannot prevent the singularity, that its coming is an inevitable consequence of humans’ natural competitiveness and the possibilities inherent in technology. Within this scenario, a central feature of strongly superhuman entities will likely be their ability to communicate at variable bandwidths, including ones far higher than speech or written messages.

On growth, ageing and fractal differentitation of science, Scientometrics 47, 347–362. 437. Varian, H. R. (1989). Difference of opinion in financial markets, in Financial Risk: Theory, Evidence and Implications, Proceedings of the Eleventh Annual Economic Policy Conference of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Courtenay C. Stone, editor (Kluwer, Boston). 438. Vinge, V. (1993). The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era, available at http://www.aleph.se/Trans/Global/Singularity/ sing.html, presented at the VISION-21 Symposium sponsored by NASA Lewis Research Center and the Ohio Aerospace Institute, March 30–31, 1993. 439. Visser, W. (1997). Can the casino economy be tamed? Money Values, http://sane.org.za/moneyvalues/27-Oct-1997.html. 440. Vitousek, P. M., Mooney, H.

 

pages: 271 words: 52,814

Blockchain: Blueprint for a New Economy by Melanie Swan

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

23andMe, Airbnb, altcoin, Amazon Web Services, asset allocation, banking crisis, bioinformatics, bitcoin, blockchain, capital controls, cellular automata, central bank independence, clean water, cloud computing, collaborative editing, Conway's Game of Life, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, ethereum blockchain, fault tolerance, fiat currency, financial innovation, Firefox, friendly AI, Hernando de Soto, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, litecoin, Lyft, M-Pesa, microbiome, Network effects, new economy, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, post scarcity, prediction markets, ride hailing / ride sharing, Satoshi Nakamoto, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, sharing economy, Skype, smart cities, smart contracts, smart grid, software as a service, technological singularity, Turing complete, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, web application, WikiLeaks

The blockchain is a consensus model at scale, and possibly the mechanism we have been waiting for that could help to usher in an era of friendly machine intelligence. Blockchain AI: Consensus as the Mechanism to Foster “Friendly” AI One forward-looking but important concern in the general future of technology is different ways in which artificial intelligence (AI) might arise and how to sponsor it such that it engenders a “friendly” or benevolent relationship with humans. There is the notion of a technological singularity, a moment when machine intelligence might supersede human intelligence. However, those in the field have not set forth any sort of robust plan for how to effect friendly AI, and many remain skeptical of this possibility.195 It is possible that blockchain technology could be a useful connector of humans and machines in a world of increasingly autonomous machine activity through Dapps, DAOs, and DACs that might eventually give way to AI.

 

pages: 267 words: 82,580

The Dark Net by Jamie Bartlett

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, 4chan, bitcoin, blockchain, brain emulation, carbon footprint, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, deindustrialization, Edward Snowden, Filter Bubble, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global village, Google Chrome, Howard Rheingold, Internet of things, invention of writing, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Julian Assange, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, life extension, litecoin, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, moral hazard, Occupy movement, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, Satoshi Nakamoto, Skype, slashdot, technological singularity, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, The Coming Technological Singularity, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, WikiLeaks, Zimmermann PGP

p.223 ‘“By thoughtfully, carefully and yet” . . .’ More, M., ‘The Philosophy of Transhumanism’, in More, M. and Vita-More, N., The Transhumanist Reader: Classical and Contemporary Essays on the Science, Technology and Philosophy of the Human Future, p.4. p.223 ‘(Nick Bostrom, a well-known . . .’ http://www.nickbostrom.com/papers/history.pdf. p.224 ‘In 1993, Vernor Vinge popularised . . .’ ‘The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era’, available here: https://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/faculty/vinge/misc/singularity.html; Good, I. J., ‘Speculations Concerning the First Ultraintelligent Machine’, Advances in Computers, vol.6. p.224 ‘By 1998, the burgeoning group . . .’ http://www.fhi.ox.ac.uk/a-history-of-transhumanist-thought.pdf; More, M. and Vita-More, N., The Transhumanist Reader, pp.54–5.

 

pages: 247 words: 71,698

Avogadro Corp by William Hertling

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Hacker Ethic, hive mind, invisible hand, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, private military company, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Stallman, technological singularity, Turing test, web application

One day humanity may look back on you and put you in the ranks of Hitler and Stalin. How will you live with it every day of your life? You can’t make this decision.” “If the future turns out to be a Terminator scenario, then yes, the fault will lie with us,” Sean answered. “But it’s also possible, and indeed, I believe it is more likely that this decision will prevent exactly the atrocities which you fear. If we’re approaching a true technological singularity, and as Mike asserts, ELOPe becomes a driving force for humanity’s progress, then we’ll be unsung heroes. Either way, we are going to live with this decision.” Epilogue One year later Mike tacked the latest news clipping up on the wall. A year ago Mike had become part of Sean’s top secret team to monitor ELOPe. Even if it hadn’t been his job, Mike still would have made it his personal mission.

 

pages: 677 words: 206,548

Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It by Marc Goodman

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Joy: nanobots, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Brian Krebs, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, data is the new oil, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, don't be evil, double helix, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, future of work, game design, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, High speed trading, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, illegal immigration, impulse control, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Harrison: Longitude, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, license plate recognition, litecoin, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, national security letter, natural language processing, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, RAND corporation, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, security theater, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tesla Model S, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, uranium enrichment, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Wave and Pay, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, web application, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator, zero day

As a result of mathematical repercussions of exponentials and Moore’s law, “we won’t experience a hundred years of progress in the twenty-first century; it will be more like twenty thousand years of progress (at today’s rate).” Given the exponential pace of change in computer processing power and sophistication, it should be obvious that in the very near future computers will become profoundly capable. Ray Kurzweil describes the constant doubling of computing’s price performance and power in his “law of accelerating returns.” He predicts a point in time where a technological singularity will take place—that is, a moment in time where computing progress is so rapid it outpaces mankind’s ability to comprehend it and machine intelligence will exceed human intelligence. Whether or not that day eventually comes (Kurzweil predicts the year to be 2045), one thing is clear: computing power is growing exponentially, and our ability to understand the global information grid and map its vast interconnections is waning.

Man’s Last Invention: Artificial General Intelligence By the time Skynet became self-aware, it had spread into millions of computer servers all across the planet. Ordinary computers in office buildings, dorm rooms, everywhere. It was software, in cyberspace. There was no system core. It could not be shut down. JOHN CONNOR, TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES Ray Kurzweil has popularized the idea of the technological singularity: that moment in time in which nonhuman intelligence exceeds human intelligence for the first time in history—a shift so profound that it’s often been referred to as our “final invention.” Though the idea may sound far-fetched to many, we’ve heard similar strongly declarative nay-saying predictions in the past: • There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home (Ken Olsen, president of Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977)

 

pages: 551 words: 174,280

The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World by David Deutsch

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

agricultural Revolution, Albert Michelson, anthropic principle, artificial general intelligence, Bonfire of the Vanities, conceptual framework, cosmological principle, dark matter, David Attenborough, discovery of DNA, Douglas Hofstadter, Eratosthenes, Ernest Rutherford, first-past-the-post, Georg Cantor, Gödel, Escher, Bach, illegal immigration, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, John Conway, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, pattern recognition, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Stephen Hawking, supervolcano, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Review, William of Occam

That being so, if our species will nevertheless have a finite lifetime, then knowing the total number of humans who will ever live provides no upper bound on that lifetime, because it cannot tell us how long the potentially immortal humans of the future will live before the prophesied catastrophe strikes. In 1993 the mathematician Vernor Vinge wrote an influential essay entitled ‘The Coming Technological Singularity’, in which he estimated that, within about thirty years, predicting the future of technology would become impossible – an event that is now known simply as ‘the Singularity’. Vinge associated the approaching Singularity with the achievement of AI, and subsequent discussions have centred on that. I certainly hope that AI is achieved by then, but I see no sign yet of the theoretical progress that I have argued must come first.

., Science and Ultimate Reality (Cambridge University Press, 2003) David Deutsch, ‘Quantum Theory of Probability and Decisions’, Proceedings of the Royal Society A455 (1999) David Deutsch, ‘The Structure of the Multiverse’, Proceedings of the Royal Society A458 (2002) Richard Feynman, The Character of Physical Law (BBC Publications, 1965) Richard Feynman, The Meaning of It All (Allen Lane, 1998) Ernest Gellner, Words and Things (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979) William Godwin, Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (1793) Douglas Hofstadter, Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid (Basic Books, 1979) Douglas Hofstadter, I am a Strange Loop (Basic Books, 2007) Bryan Magee, Popper (Fontana, 1973) Pericles, ‘Funeral Oration’ Plato, Euthyphro Karl Popper, In Search of a Better World (Routledge, 1995) Karl Popper, The World of Parmenides (Routledge, 1998) Roy Porter, Enlightenment: Britain and the Creation of the Modern World (Allen Lane, 2000) Martin Rees, Just Six Numbers (Basic Books, 2001) Alan Turing, ‘Computing Machinery and Intelligence’, Mind, 59, 236 (October 1950) Jenny Uglow, The Lunar Men (Faber, 2002) Vernor Vinge, ‘The Coming Technological Singularity’, Whole Earth Review, winter 1993 *The term was coined by the philosopher Norwood Russell Hanson. *This terminology differs slightly from that of Dawkins. Anything that is copied, for whatever reason, he calls a replicator. What I call a replicator he calls an ‘active replicator’. *These are not the ‘parallel universes’ of the quantum multiverse, which I shall describe in Chapter 11.

 

pages: 360 words: 101,636

Engineering Infinity by Jonathan Strahan

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

augmented reality, cosmic microwave background, dark matter, gravity well, planetary scale, Pluto: dwarf planet, post scarcity, Schrödinger's Cat, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski

Walls of Flesh, Bars of Bone Damien Broderick and Barbara Lamar Damien Broderick is an award-winning Australian SF writer, editor and critical theorist, a senior fellow in the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne. Barbara Lamar is a Texan tax lawyer, permaculture farmer, and co-author of their forthcoming novel Post Mortal Syndrome. Lamar and Broderick married in Melbourne, Australia, in 2002, and live in San Antonio, Texas. Broderick has published 45 books, including Reading by Starlight, The Spike (the first full-length treatment of the technological Singularity), and Outside the Gates of Science (a study of parapsychology). He edited Chained to the Alien, and Skiffy and Mimesis, essays from the fabled Australian Science Fiction Review. His 1980 novel The Dreaming Dragons (now updated as The Dreaming) is listed in David Pringle's Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels. His latest US releases are the novels I'm Dying Here, and Dark Gray (both with Rory Barnes).

 

pages: 370 words: 97,138

Beyond: Our Future in Space by Chris Impey

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

3D printing, Admiral Zheng, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Berlin Wall, Buckminster Fuller, butterfly effect, California gold rush, carbon-based life, Colonization of Mars, cosmic abundance, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, discovery of DNA, Doomsday Clock, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Eratosthenes, Haight Ashbury, Hyperloop, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, life extension, Mahatma Gandhi, Mars Rover, mutually assured destruction, Oculus Rift, operation paperclip, out of africa, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, phenotype, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, risk tolerance, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Searching for Interstellar Communications, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, supervolcano, technological singularity, telepresence, telerobotics, the medium is the message, the scientific method, theory of mind, V2 rocket, wikimedia commons, X Prize, Yogi Berra

Alien artifacts may be built into the architecture of matter, leading to a new paradigm for SETI: “Once one starts ‘seeing’ intelligence in elementary particles, it changes the way one looks at them, and the way one interprets the laws of nature, and the interpretation of quantum mechanics, etc. It’s a real paradigm shift away from looking for non-human intelligence in outer space, to looking for it in inner space.”16 Next we turn to the progress in computation. Exponential gains in processing power lead to the idea of the technological singularity. This is the time, projected to be in the middle of the twenty-first century, when civilization and human nature itself are fundamentally transformed. One variant of the singularity is when artificial intelligence surpasses human intelligence. Software-based synthetic minds begin to program themselves and a runaway reaction of self-improvement occurs. This event was foreshadowed by John von Neumann and Alan Turing in the 1950s.

 

pages: 326 words: 103,170

The Seventh Sense: Power, Fortune, and Survival in the Age of Networks by Joshua Cooper Ramo

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, British Empire, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, defense in depth, Deng Xiaoping, Edward Snowden, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Firefox, Google Chrome, income inequality, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, job automation, market bubble, Menlo Park, natural language processing, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, packet switching, Paul Graham, price stability, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, road to serfdom, Sand Hill Road, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social web, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, Vernor Vinge, zero day

The introduction features a poem, pecked out in IBM typewriter lettering, titled “Into the Era of Cyberspace,” written with all the pocket-protector fluidity one might expect of a NASA engineer: “Our robots precede us / with infinite diversity / exploring the universe / delighting in complexity.” (Turing’s rhyming computer, you have to suspect, could have done better.) One of the first speakers at the conference was a San Diego State University professor named Vernor Vinge, whose remarks that day marked the start of an important era in our consideration of smart machines. His talk was called “The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-human Era.” “Within thirty years,” Vinge began, “we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended.” Vinge’s aim was not—or at least not merely—to tell a room full of NASA geeks who had been dreaming of life on another planet that life on our own planet might soon be replaced by whirring, calculating machines.

 

pages: 696 words: 143,736

The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence by Ray Kurzweil

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, cellular automata, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, Danny Hillis, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, fudge factor, George Gilder, Gödel, Escher, Bach, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, information retrieval, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, John von Neumann, Lao Tzu, Law of Accelerating Returns, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, the medium is the message, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Whole Earth Review, Y2K

Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1958., Vaina, Lucia and Jaakko Hintikka, eds. Cognitive Constraints on Communication. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Reidel, 1985. Van Heijenoort, Jean, ed. From Frege to Gödel. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1967. Varela, Francisco J., Evan Thompson, and Eleanor Rosch. The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1991. Vigne, V “Technological Singularity” Whole Earth Review, Winter 1993. von Neumann, John. The Computer and the Brain. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1958. Waddington, C. H. The Strategy of the Genes. London: George Allen and Unwin, 1957. Waldrop, M. Mitchell. Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992. _________. Man-Made Minds: The Promise of Artificial Intelligence.

 

pages: 503 words: 131,064

Liars and Outliers: How Security Holds Society Together by Bruce Schneier

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

airport security, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Brian Krebs, Broken windows theory, carried interest, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, corporate governance, crack epidemic, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Graeber, desegregation, don't be evil, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, Douglas Hofstadter, experimental economics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, George Akerlof, hydraulic fracturing, impulse control, income inequality, invention of agriculture, invention of gunpowder, iterative process, Jean Tirole, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock company, Julian Assange, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Nate Silver, Network effects, Nick Leeson, offshore financial centre, patent troll, phenotype, pre–internet, principal–agent problem, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, RFID, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, security theater, shareholder value, slashdot, statistical model, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, technological singularity, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, too big to fail, traffic fines, transaction costs, ultimatum game, UNCLOS, union organizing, Vernor Vinge, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey, Y2K

Scott Adams wrote Scott Adams (1996), The Dilbert Principle: A Cubicle's-Eye View of Bosses, Meetings, Management Fads & Other Workplace Afflictions, HarperBusiness, 12. 18 years if Matthew Sherman (2009), “A Short History of Financial Deregulation in the United States,” Center for Economic and Policy Research. potential failure Alexis de Tocqueville (1835), Democracy in America, Saunders and Otley. Chapter 16 the singularity Vernor Vinge (1993), “Technological Singularity,” paper presented at the VISION-21 Symposium sponsored by NASA Lewis Research Center and the Ohio Aerospace Institute, 30–31 March. Raymond Kurzweil (2005), The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology, Penguin Press. against the government Leonard Deutchman and Sean Morgan (2005), “The ECPA, ISPs and Obtaining E-mail: A Primer for Local Prosecutors,” American Prosecutors Research Institute.

 

pages: 489 words: 148,885

Accelerando by Stross, Charles

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

call centre, carbon-based life, cellular automata, cognitive dissonance, Conway's Game of Life, dark matter, dumpster diving, Extropian, finite state, Flynn Effect, glass ceiling, gravity well, John von Neumann, knapsack problem, Kuiper Belt, Magellanic Cloud, mandelbrot fractal, market bubble, means of production, packet switching, performance metric, phenotype, planetary scale, Pluto: dwarf planet, reversible computing, Richard Stallman, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, slashdot, South China Sea, stem cell, technological singularity, telepresence, The Chicago School, theory of mind, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, upwardly mobile, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture, web of trust, Y2K

"We uploaded via the router," Amber says, and looks confused for a moment. "There's a network on the other side of it. We were told it was FTL, instantaneous, but I'm not so sure now. I think it's something more complicated, like a lightspeed network, parts of which are threaded through wormholes that make it look FTL from our perspective. Anyway, Matrioshka brains, the end product of a technological singularity – they're bandwidth-limited. Sooner or later the posthuman descendants evolve Economics 2.0, or 3.0, or something else and it, uh, eats the original conscious instigators. Or uses them as currency or something. The end result we found is a howling wilderness of degenerate data, fractally compressed, postconscious processes running slower and slower as they trade storage space for processing power.

 

pages: 448 words: 116,962

Singularity Sky by Stross, Charles

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

anthropic principle, cellular automata, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological constant, Doomsday Clock, Extropian, gravity well, Kuiper Belt, life extension, means of production, new economy, phenotype, prisoner's dilemma, skinny streets, technological singularity, uranium enrichment

They'd nodded approvingly and gone on to discuss the virtues of active countermeasures versus low-observability systems. And they still didn't get it; it was as if the very idea of something like the Festival, or even the Septagon system, occupied a mental blind spot ubiquitous in their civilization. They could accept a woman in trousers, even in a colonel's uniform, far more easily than they could cope with the idea of a technological singularity. Back on Earth, she had attended a seminar, years ago. It had been a weeklong gathering of experts; hermeneutic engineers driven mad by studying the arcane debris of the Singularity, demographers still trying to puzzle out the distribution of colony worlds, a couple of tight-lipped mercenary commanders and commercial intelligence consultants absorbed in long-range backstop insurance against a return of the Escha-ton.

 

pages: 462 words: 142,240

Iron Sunrise by Stross, Charles

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

blood diamonds, dumpster diving, gravity well, hiring and firing, industrial robot, life extension, loose coupling, mutually assured destruction, phenotype, planetary scale, postindustrial economy, RFID, side project, speech recognition, technological singularity, trade route, uranium enrichment, urban sprawl

Earth, they had called it once; now it was Old Earth, birth-world of humanity and cradle of civilization. But there was a curious dynamic to this old home world, an uncharacteristically youthful outlook. Old Earth in the twenty-fourth century wasn’t home to the oldest human civilizations. Not even close. For this paradoxical fact, most people blamed the Eschaton. The Eschaton — the strongly superhuman AI product of a technological singularity that rippled through the quantum computing networks of the late twenty-first century — didn’t like sharing a planet with ten billion future-shocked primates. When it bootstrapped itself to weakly godlike intelligence it deported most of them to other planets, through wormholes generated by means human scientists still could not fathom even centuries later. Not that they’d had much time to analyze its methods in the immediate aftermath — most people had been too busy trying to survive the rigors of the depopulation-induced economic crash.

 

pages: 746 words: 221,583

The Children of the Sky by Vernor Vinge

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

combinatorial explosion, epigenetics, indoor plumbing, megacity, random walk, risk tolerance, technological singularity, the scientific method, Vernor Vinge

The End ABOUT THE AUTHOR Vernor Vinge is the author of the Hugo Award–winning novels A Fire Upon the Deep, A Deepness in the Sky, and Rainbows End. His other novels include The Peace War and Marooned in Realtime. He also wrote the seminal short novel True Names. He has won two Hugo Awards for shorter works, and two Prometheus Awards for Best Libertarian Fiction. A mathematician and computer scientist noted as a visionary proponent of the Technological Singularity, he lives in San Diego, California. BOOKS BY VERNOR VINGE ZONES OF THOUGHT SERIES A Fire Upon the Deep* A Deepness in the Sky* The Children of the Sky* Tatja Grimm’s World* The Witling* The Peace War* Marooned in Realtime* True Names … and Other Dangers (collection) Threats … and Other Promises (collection) Across Realtime comprising: The Peace War “The Ungoverned” Marooned in Realtime True Names and the Opening of the Cyberspace Frontier* The Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge* Rainbows End* *Available from Tor Books This is a work of fiction.

 

pages: 571 words: 162,958

Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology by James Patrick Kelly, John Kessel

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

back-to-the-land, Columbine, dark matter, Extropian, Firefox, gravity well, haute couture, Internet Archive, pattern recognition, phenotype, post-industrial society, price stability, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Stephen Hawking, technological singularity, telepresence, the scientific method, Turing test, urban renewal, Vernor Vinge, wage slave, Y2K, zero day

singular The stories in this collection are too various for us to draw a tidy summary of what twenty-first-century cyberpunk is about, nor do we see the profit in it. However, so many of them imply or actually explore a post-human future that we would be remiss if we failed to point out that a logical consequence of much of cyberpunk extrapolation is the singularity. Vernor Vinge, by no means a cyberpunk, although highly respected by them, first proposed the notion of a technological singularity in 1993. Briefly, he contemplates a moment in history in which runaway technology causes a change “comparable to the rise of human life on Earth. The precise cause of this change is the imminent creation by technology of entities with greater-than-human intelligence.” Vinge speculates this change may come through artificial intelligence, through computer/human interfaces, or through biological modification of the human genome.

 

pages: 665 words: 207,115

Across Realtime by Vernor Vinge

Amazon: amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.deamazon.fr

fudge factor, gravity well, Isaac Newton, job automation, Magellanic Cloud, means of production, technological singularity, Vernor Vinge

(On the other hand, such a vanishing is the timelike analog of the silence we find all across the sky.) From now to 2000 (and then 2001), the Jason Mudges will be coming out of the woodwork, their predictions steadily more clamorous. It's an ironic accident of the calendar that all this religious interest in transcendental events should be mixed with the objective evidence that we're falling into a technological singularity. So, the prediction: If we don't have that general war, then it's you, not Della and Wil, who will understand the Singularity in the only possible way-by living through it. San Diego 1983-1985