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Old 04-03-2016, 02:22 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default The AI Singularity and Transhumanism

Yesterday I came across a newly-published 4-minute sci-fi comedy short about a self-aware computer.



It got me curious about subjects like transhumanism (technologically-aided evolution beyond physical and mental limitations) and the singularity (the hypothetical moment in time when AI will surpass human intelligence).

There have been some intriguing developments recently, perhaps most notably Google's $500M acquisition of the British AI start-up DeepMind in 2014, which aims to solve general intelligence (and to utilize this knowledge to solve everything else).

And just 3 days ago PBS aired a short video of Ray Kurzweil pledging that we will likely conquer death in the next 20 years.

I'll be surveying these subjects in the days ahead, beginning with Kurtzwiel's book, The Singularity is Near. I'd welcome any suggestions for related literature or film - speculative fiction and non-fiction alike.

I'd like to explore questions such as,

- What visions of the world, both utopian and dystopian, have been proposed for life after the singularity?

- What existing technological achievements are already blurring the line between man and machine?

- And what are the philosophical, moral, and ethical implications of machine consciousness and eternal (but artificial) life?

I'm going to start with this engaging 2-part article from waithbutwhy.com.
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Old 04-03-2016, 02:48 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Having read Kurtzweil myself I suggest you not embarrass yourself by giving him undue credence.
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Old 04-03-2016, 03:19 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Having read Kurtzweil myself I suggest you not embarrass yourself by giving him undue credence.
Thank you. His readers certainly seem to have vastly polar opinions of his ideas. Kurtzweil's more fantastic visions aside, Tim Urban's laymen's explanation of the fundamental concepts of AI is nonetheless intriguing.

So far I've read of the three calibers of AI: Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI), Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), and Artificial Superintelligence (ASI), and that our present-day world operates on a network of ANIs, such as airline flight systems, and Amazon/Pandora recommendations.

Urban states upfront that the transition from ANI to AGI is a difficult one, but that it is inevitable at our current trajectory of advancement.

The first key, he states, is increasing computational power. He briefly discusses China’s Tianhe-2 supercomputer, its power requirements, and its comparative processing capability as compared to the human brain, which he cites as being right in line with Moore's Law and Kurzweil’s cps/$1,000 metric, (insert pretty but overgeneralized infographic).



The real excitement seems to be the potential of software built with recursive self-improvement, resulting in what Irving John Good called an Intelligence Explosion - the ultimate example of The Law of Accelerating Returns. It is proposed that the transition from AGI to ASI will take a fraction of the time it took to achieve the previous milestone.

All of this seems plausible. Perhaps it is the further propositions relating to AI consciousness that push Kurtzweil's credibility off the deep end?

Are the basic principles of AI - the three calibers and their inevitability - are these concepts credible? If not, please enlighten me.
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Old 04-03-2016, 03:47 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Kurtzweil is fun and makes some interesting points but when he starts saying he's going to take supplements so he can live long enough to have his consciousness downloaded into a computer... you know...

Did you follow the story about DeepMind's AlphaGo beating the Go champion? The most interesting part of the story is that the computer program learned how to improve its game by playing itself over and over again. Essentially, it's self taught, making it very different from Deep Blue.
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Old 04-03-2016, 03:53 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I'd welcome any suggestions for related literature or film - speculative fiction and non-fiction alike.
The first video is one of my favorite episodes of The Twilight Zone. I've seen all three films that deal with android/computer consciousness - of course no need to mention 2001: A Space Odyssey and I, Robot. The last video is a TEDx lecture by Rupert Sheldrake. The original curiously has been removed by TEDx so says the up-loader, which reeks of a grand conspiracy. I rather like him, however I don't know how others will take him. He brings up some curious questions about the nature of conscience of living organisms and inorganic material.

The Twilight Zone 044 The Lateness of the Hour
[Original air date: December 2, 1960]


Futureworld (1976) - Original Trailer


Bicentennial Man (1999) - Trailer


A.I. Trailer (Extended Version) [2001]


Rupert Sheldrake, TEDx Lecture REMOVED BY TED
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Old 04-03-2016, 03:58 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Kurtzweil is fun and makes some interesting points but when he starts saying he's going to take supplements so he can live long enough to have his consciousness downloaded into a computer... you know....
I guess no one's told him that the version of his consciousness in the computer would be merely a copy of him, and not actually him? Unless this computer involves some kind of nutrient-filled container for my surgically-removed brain, then I'm not interested in cloning my thoughts.
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Old 04-03-2016, 04:14 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I guess no one's told him that the version of his consciousness in the computer would be merely a copy of him, and not actually him? Unless this computer involves some kind of nutrient-filled container for my surgically-removed brain, then I'm not interested in cloning my thoughts.
You are voluntarily grafting your thoughts onto the forum, so what's the difference?
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Actually, I like you a lot, Nea. That's why I treat you like ****. It's the MB way.

"it counts in our hearts" - ʕººʔ
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Old 04-03-2016, 04:21 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I guess no one's told him that the version of his consciousness in the computer would be merely a copy of him, and not actually him? Unless this computer involves some kind of nutrient-filled container for my surgically-removed brain, then I'm not interested in cloning my thoughts.
Maybe you already are

“Brain in a Vat” Argument, The | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
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Old 04-03-2016, 04:21 PM   #9 (permalink)
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You are voluntarily grafting your thoughts onto the forum, so what's the difference?
... This is such a seemingly inane, boring comment, that I can't help but feel that I will have been successfully trolled if I respond "incorrectly".

So, to answer your question: yes.
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Old 04-03-2016, 04:25 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I guess I should do Kurzweil the dignity of spelling his name correctly. Sorry Ray.
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