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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)."

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The singularity hits the mainstream

Last week,at the Intel developer forum, Justin Rattner did everything but speak the S-word. From the intel press release:

Justin Rattner, during his keynote today at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, predicted big changes are ahead in social interactions, robotics and improvements in computer’s ability to sense the real world. He said Intel’s research labs are already looking at human-machine interfaces and examining future implications to computing with some promising changes coming much sooner than expected.

“The industry has taken much greater strides than anyone ever imagined 40 years ago,” Rattner said. “There is speculation that we may be approaching an inflection point where the rate of technology advancements is accelerating at an exponential rate, and machines could even overtake humans in their ability to reason, in the not so distant future.”

So, there you have it – depending on your take of things, this is either very good news- executive level people now understand the importance of singularity research, and so the resources to get this happening will come to bear – or very bad news – executive level people now understand the importance of singularity research and so will rape and pillage their way through it as is often their wont. (I’m kidding, of course).

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CNN covers Catastrophic Risks conference, reports on the Singularity instead.

Words escape me.

A CNN article reporting on the Global Catastrophic Risks conference explains the singularity (or at least, Ray Kurzweil’s conception of it) to its readers.

…Kurzweil is predicting the impending arrival of something called the Singularity, which he defines in his book on the subject as “the culmination of the merger of our biological thinking and existence with our technology, resulting in a world that is still human but that transcends our biological roots.”

The real news here is that it’s in the news – the main stream media news. Does that mean the singularity is now last week’s meme? Will we need to find another topic to stop conversations at cocktail parties with?

If anyone is worried that somehow the world is ending because the MSM is actually reporting on news, rather than the missing white girl of the month, fear no more: they missed the whole point of the Global Catastrophic Risks conference which is that other world-ending kind of singularity – the one we all want to avoid. (Well, those of us who aren’t drinking the Brawno.) So, the world isn’t ending because CNN is actually reporting news, it’s ending because of all sorts of things that are being discussed at the conference.

Mankind to ‘transcend biology in posthuman world’ –

Technology Is at the Center: interveiw with Peter Theil

May’s issue of Reason magazine has an interesting interveiw with Peter Theil, one of the major supporters of Transhumanist research. Not too much new information, but an interesting read nonetheless.

Reason Magazine – Technology Is at the Center

It could happen with computers. It could happen with enhanced human intelligence, where you have things that modify humans. There are aspects of the biotech revolution that could represent this. There are nanotechnological versions that could be very, very strange. There are all sorts of very bizarrely different versions of this, and it’s very hard to know which of these trends is a dominant one. Maybe they have natural limits to them. Maybe Moore’s Law [the observation in 1965 by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore that the number of transistors incorporated into integrated circuits doubles roughly every two years] breaks down. If Moore’s Law were to stop tomorrow, then I think the hopes for A.I. and computer science may be deferred by centuries. Then the biotech revolution seems to have a lot of promise, but again maybe there are some strange constraints that it runs into.

A breif look at what real-time MRIs will bring to you

Bil conference – not quite the opposite of Ted

Bil conference.

I’m at the Bil un-conference this weekend. It’s a self-organizing conference, where everyone shows up, anyone can give a talk, and things generally happen in an ad-hoc fashion. It might sound like chaos, but the opposite is true – it’s really cutting to the meat of what a conference is all about: the exchange of ideas, and the meeting of people.

What has this got to do with our road to the singularity? Well, I am meeting and hearing from the people who will be making the singularity happen. People developing Rapid DNA sequencing, a guy who is developing a networkeded model of economics, a guy who is at a start up trying to develop a ubiquitous online trust system. My friend Sheffie talking about efficient shmoozing and networking skills. Earlier, there was a talk on the origins of stem cells and cell differentiation. Later, Brad Templeton is going to talk about Robot Cars and the future of communication.

More later…

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