Monday, April 17, 2006

A Rapture For The Rest Of Us

TCSDaily has an article on the Singularity, and various person's opinions on it.

From the article:

I've written before about the so-called "Singularity." In a famous essay, Vernor Vinge described the concept this way:

When greater-than-human intelligence drives progress, that progress will be much more rapid. In fact, there seems no reason why progress itself would not involve the creation of still more intelligent entities -- on a still-shorter time scale. The best analogy that I see is with the evolutionary past: Animals can adapt to problems and make inventions, but often no faster than natural selection can do its work -- the world acts as its own simulator in the case of natural selection. 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. Developments that before were thought might only happen in "a million years" (if ever) will likely happen in the next century. (In [5], Greg Bear paints a picture of the major changes happening in a matter of hours.)

I think it's fair to call this event a singularity ("the Singularity" for the purposes of this paper). It is a point where our old models must be discarded and a new reality rules. As we move closer to this point, it will loom vaster and vaster over human affairs till the notion becomes a commonplace.

Still don't understand what the Singularity is? Read my Singularity FAQ.

As a heavy progressive person, I don't care much for conservative people calling the Singularity a 'techno religion', so I won't be copypasting any of that here.

What I will be copypasting here, is this extremely funny yet oh so insightful quote:

In fact, rather than serving as a dismissal of the Singularity, it seems to me that the Singularity-as-religion argument cuts the other way. How do we know that people want the kinds of things that advanced technology is supposed to offer? Because they've been trying to get them through non-technological means for all of recorded history. And as history demonstrates, they've been willing to try awfully hard, and in a wide variety of ingenious ways: Jihadists are strapping on suicide bombs today, in the hope of attaining the kind of environment that virtual reality will deliver in 20 years.

Having trouble imagening how we might be having sex with 72 virgins in virtual reality, just 20 years from now?

Then read The Future Of Virtual Environments.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button


Anonymous said...

72 male or female virgins??

Jan-Willem Bats said...

According to Islam religion, I believe it's all about 72 female virgins that await you after you die.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know you were a muslim

Jan-Willem Bats said...

I'm not. That's why I wrote 'I believe'.