The Singularity

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Huntn, Jun 18, 2011.

  1. Huntn, Jun 18, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2011

    Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #1
    I just caught Ray Kurzeil on Bill Maher last night and it was a great discussion. This is related to the airplane/pilot/automation discussion in another thread.

    There are four main themes:
    1) Artificial Intelligence greater than human- this will happen.
    2) Becoming mostly dependent on A.I- we are becoming reliant on our machines, it's just a matter of time before those machines possess A.I.. We can maintain control if we want to, but can we avoid a point where it becomes impractical not to turn it all over?
    3) Becoming one with a machine- all ready happening (prosthetics). What's to prevent the next step, computational convergence with the human brain?
    4) The ability to capture the human soul- This is the one aspect I'm not really seeing.

    We can't compete with computers when it comes to raw computational power, but human do have the edge over computers when it comes to intuition, emotion, observation, and analytical thinking. He claims that by 2029, computers will reached the point of advancement where we will be using them as companions and love interests, just like science fiction has always predicted and is illustrated in the movie A.I.. Robot girl/boy friend, anyone? :)

    [​IMG]

    Here is a Newsweek article: Ray Kurzweil Wants to Be a Robot

    Known as a predictor of our future he believes we will be able to transplant the intelligence of the human brain and all of it's memories into a chip giving humans the ability to live forever. It's an intriguing concept but I think that if you registered all your memories, and all the characteristics of your brain, i.e. it's electronic footprint, it might wake up and think it's you, but when you die, you'd still be dead. Your family might think they are still interacting with a synthetic you, but the spiritual you (if there is such a thing) has moved on to the afterlife (if there is such a thing). In any case you would no longer be on Earth in a physical body. This idea was the theme of Startrek Next Generation Episode 32: The Schizoid Man.

    Just what is your consciousness and could your consciousness be transferred into a synthetic person? And would it be you or just a replica? I'm thinking the latter.

    Another twist is when computing power is so small , it will be grafted onto the human brain to increase human computing power. Kurzwell thinks that we must either become cyborgs or we are going to be left behind when it comes to intelligence. At some point, the projection is 20-50 years, computers will match the human brain in all functions, but what will it take to gain self awareness as in Sky net in The Terminator? It's up to mankind to keep the disconnect button in clear view. But will we reach a point of dependance that we won't be able to?

    Singularity.com

    Singularity at Wiki: Technological singularity refers to the hypothetical future emergence of greater-than human intelligence.
     
  2. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #2
    Transfer, no. Replicate, yes. You would feel no different but the replicant would feel as if it was a transference. Next best thing to oblivion, I suppose.
     
  3. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    #3
    Your own cells replace themselves constantly (and the theory that humans do not generate new neurons is thoroughly discredited). You are not the same organism you were ten years ago. Is there some sense in which you are, therefore, dead?

    Now, suppose instead of "uploading your brain" into a computer, someone comes up with a nanotechnological process whereby, when one of your neurons stops working properly, the technology takes over for that one neuron, reproducing it's normal behavior exactly. Over time more and more of your neurons are replaced, one by one by one, but there is no point at which the continuity of your life experience is interrupted. Eventually your entire brain is artificial, but at what point did you "die"?
     
  4. StruckANerve macrumors 6502

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    #4


    Trailer for the documentary Transcendent Man. The full film is on Netflix Instant.
     
  5. MOFS, Jun 18, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2011

    MOFS macrumors 65816

    MOFS

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    #5
    I disagree with most if not all of those points, which as a big Isaac Asimov fan pains me.

    1) AI in 18 years seems very unlikely - there is no need to replicate human beings and their form - babies are just too cheap! :p Seriously, I see us moving towards more intelligent robots, but merely to the extent of this automated vacuum cleaners and smart appliances (which turn themselves off when not in use etc). I think there is no use for an automaton that'll replace exactly what we do, although some roles may be marginalised by robots, like now with car assembly. The "uncanny valley" should deal with C3-PO for a while. :p

    2) We are still vastly superior to robots in everything apart from data storage and handling. We can problem solve (which is essentially our daily raisin d'être) but in situations where we need to remember something quickly and accurately, robots beatus, hands down. Although our "faulty memory" does help in other ways - imagine how difficult answering simple questions would be if our memory didn't include a built in time lapse (ie if every memory was as vivid as the next). Or if we remembered every mess-up, every bad break up vividly.

    3) Commercial robots "as pets and lovers" in 18 years?! We haven't even got our flying hover boards yet, and once again animals and, ah hem, prostitutes are much cheaper than producing something human-like.
     
  6. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

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    #6
    Reminds me of the Butlerian Jihad in the Dune Series:

     
  7. Huntn, Jun 19, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2011

    Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #7
    Truly mind blowing. ;) Once the brain has been replaced, might as well replace all the locomotion and support systems too. A great spiritual discussion.

    Does it really matter if it's 18 years or 50? The trend is there and chances are it will happen. Computers will be built that mimic then surpass the human brain. Will they be able to surpass the human brain in all areas? I think this is harder to put a finger on. What gives human empathy and morality? Is this something that would naturally occur in a mechanical brain or not? This injects spirituality into the discussion. :)

    And as far as babies being too cheap, are you kidd'n? ;) People are demanding, they want happy lives, good health, and lots of other things too. In the mind of a business man, I can see them all over a smart machine because you can control it's desires, keep them at zero.

    A machine designed as a pet or lover, there you would want more, but it could still be controlled with the remote. While some people would love having "yes-men/women" companions, many people would want a droid companion that challenges them in the relationship.
     
  8. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #8
    Do droids have head-aches??
     
  9. Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #9
    Lol. So when your honey droid has a headache would you accept it or flip a switch? If you've fallen in love with a personality, would you really want to flip the switch? I say this as I ponder the arguments I have with my spouse. What if you could keep all the good parts of a personality and turn off just the really annoying parts? Flipping the switch might be very tempting. :D
     
  10. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #10
    This same thing separates dog lovers from cat lovers (although I like all animals).

    Cats are like Women, dangerous, and exciting because of it.
     
  11. Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #11
    Thanks for the link. I'm gonna catch this on Netflix.
     
  12. lewis82 macrumors 68000

    lewis82

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    #12
    That depends of your definition of death, but if you consider that death is when you lose consciousness and control over your body (such as automatic breathing and heart beats), then you didn't die. I consider the brain to be nothing more than a biological computer, altough an amazing one (which can learn by itself, reprogram itself, etc.).

    That leads me to the following point: do computers have some form of consciousness? If the human consciousness resides in the brain (which I do believe, I find the concept of "soul" or "spirit" absurd), then wouldn't a sufficiently advanced computer be "aware"? Instead of sight, taste, touch, smell and hearing, he would have Ethernet, Wi-Fi, USB, etc.

    Now you might say that there is a huge difference between humans and computers, since humans show free will and tought while computers are just programmed. But some studies show, albeit without firm conclusions, that consciousness might just be an illusion, and that we do not really have control over the decisions we make. The "internal voice in your head" might just be a "GUI" over the subcounscious "Kernel" of reaction to stimuli. It's hard to know if it's true, but it definitely fascinates me.

    That's pretty much where my own reflexions (which began the day when I realized for real that I would die some day) sent me. :)
     
  13. Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #13
    As always, the "soul" is the wild card. Is it an undetectable alien that uses the body as a vehicle to interact with the physical world?

    From a science perspective, your brain for the most part makes you, you. But all you have to rest this upon is continuity in your life with absorbed memories and a developed perspective. I like the idea of the brain as a biological computer. But what that means is some day it could be duplicated. The question still stands "what makes me unique"?
     
  14. lewis82 macrumors 68000

    lewis82

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    #14
    The exact configuration of my neurons is what makes me unique. Not everyone's brain is the same weight, so the neurons that make it are not positionned in the same way, and thus the neuronal circuits that process the various information.;)
     
  15. MOFS macrumors 65816

    MOFS

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    #15
    I guess my point wasn't to emphasise the timeframe of these things, but to doubt the practicalities of them. I think a cost effective male ... Er ... pleasurer with some form of a chip is much more likely than a robo prostitute simply because specialist use of electronics I feel is more likely than us using machines with human-level intellect for these tasks. There's no need to spend billions developing a robot to do the job in exactly the same way as a human - it just needs to do the job in hand. A vacuum cleaner does not not need to be also able to solve crosswords. I just don't see the point of developing human level IQ robots, when we have, erm, humans who fill that role happily. Specialist tools to help with specific tasks, but currently I see the robot development from eg Toyota to be more about understanding the human body.
     
  16. Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #16
    So your brain could be duplicated! ;)

    A long time theme of science fiction. Years ago there was a Twilight Zone- A man serving a sentence on an asteroid with his companion and in the end it is revealed she is an android. I assume you saw A.I. (the Spielberg movie)? I find that very believable and you know with the interest of human beings in such things chances are androids will be designed. I can't say if they will be affordable. ;)
     
  17. localoid, Jun 20, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2011

    localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

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    #17
    Given the choice between (A) being dead and (B) being dead and being a robot, I'd definitely choose "B".


    The goal is androids that will be >average IQ... many times over.
     
  18. patrick0brien macrumors 68040

    patrick0brien

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    #18
    You know, faced with the idea of a robot girlfriend, I have too many joke possibilities here, and none of them good...
     
  19. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

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    #19
    Some of them must involve lube?? It's a natural. :)
     
  20. MOFS macrumors 65816

    MOFS

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    #20
    Would certainly add a little spice to the plethora of Macrumors's "Girl troubles ..." threads.
     
  21. patrick0brien macrumors 68040

    patrick0brien

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    #21
    -iJohnHenry

    Well, things that sound like an impact gun. Oh, and I think I might be worried about short-circuits.
     
  22. barkomatic macrumors 68040

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    #22
    I don't think you could set the "desires" of a machine which had AI at "0"--if you also wanted it to be compassionate. I also think desires and emotions are part of what allows human beings to make what appear to be simple, but actually very complicated decisions. Therefore, an AI with "desires" set to zero would not truly be AI.

    I think the presumption here is that a machine body with an AI--(or a human consciousness loaded into it) would somehow be superior to a human body which ages, experiences health problems and is perceived to be fragile. I disagree. A human body is amazing. We can reproduce without the need for a factory to put us together. I have a theory that a human consciousness is only designed to be cohesive for a certain number of years. A human consciousness loaded into a machine would go nuts after 150 years or so.

    One has to wonder why human beings evolved with the bodies we have -- and didn't evolve with mechanical parts?
     
  23. lewis82 macrumors 68000

    lewis82

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    #23
    Can nuts and bolts self-assemble? No. Proteins, DNA and other biological molecules can self-assemble. That's why, suddenly, life appeared, and continued to grow.

    When I'm old, too sick to keep living in this body, I hope I'll have the option of being transferred in a robot. Better live in a steel enclosure than being dead ;)
     
  24. codymac macrumors 6502

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    #24
    Cats are like German women - you can love them, just don't expect them to love you back.
    ;)

    Nearly anything that's sharp and dangerous on five out of six ends is exciting.
     
  25. soco macrumors 68030

    soco

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    #25
    Ugh, ain't that the truth :(

    Mine went lez...

    The cat I mean.
     

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