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From Here To Singularity

"The time from here to Singularity depends sensitively on the particulars of what we humans do during the next decade (and even the next few years)."

Pentagon building fake cat brain

Intel isn’t the only company to have discovered the implications of artificial intelligence research. Wired blog reports:

The Pentagon’s crash program to create an artificial brain is just about up and running. And, if it all goes as planned, we could see an electronic chip that mimics the “function, size, and power consumption” of a cat’s cortex some time in the next decade.

The press release they discuss has been pulled by the company releasing it because it ‘had not been finalized’ – yeah, right. Perhaps this project was to remain under wraps, and someone was unclear on the concept. From the (former) press release:

The first nine-month phase of the program will focus on designing, fabricating, and characterizing synaptic and neural elements and combining them into a high-density, interconnecting microelectronic “fabric,” which will be incorporated into a more complex system-level fabric design…

In the following 15-month phase, HRL [a joint venture between Boeing and General Motors] will combine the synaptic and neural elements to fabricate and demonstrate “cortical microcircuits” that can model various lower-level brain functions and actually “learn” by interacting with the environment.

An exciting week, with intel’s announcement. Now we know that the military are working on generally artificial intelligent entities.

There has been a flurry of long range research projects announced by the military lately – telepathy and noninvasive brain-computer interfaces, binoculars that tap into your unconscious, targeting systems that utilize preconcious neural firings). I am unsure whether this is a desperate attempt to update the application of new work in the cognitive sciences or a desperate attempt to burn money. It could be either, or both.

More alarming however is that this isn’t a military project – it’s a project being done by military contractors. In other words, a private brain, being designed for military purposes, behind private doors: exactly the wrong conditions for avoiding a negative Singularity.

However, there is time yet, and there are many steps between “functioning neural net the size of a cat” and Artificial General Intelligence. But we can no longer consider Singularity research as a completely speculative endeavour: the first tentative concious steps are being made towards our ultimate destination as a species.икони

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