Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Futurism has always been an iffy business. From Christian fundies predicting the end of the world to Industrial Revolution philosophers predicting that anything of any value had already been discovered, looking into the future with certainty has never enjoyed a lot of success.

The latest version of Galadriel's Basin is science based, of course. It is called The Singularity, and is described as "the technological creation of smarter-than-human intelligence." Now, we've been here before, if only at the movies. And it has not heretofore been a very pretty picture. The general theme runs along the lines of machines making slaves of human beings. As in the movie The Matrix, some insightful, out-of-touch-with-the-Reality-they-want-you-to-buy-into, rebellious humans strive to find a way to overcome the monsters their predecessors had created.

According to these people, there will soon(er or later) be a confluence of technologies, among them AI and "brain-computer interfaces", which will enable the human mind to be...more than the human mind. The article matter-of-factly points out what ought to be obvious to most of us slouches, to wit: "...the last genuine improvement to intelligence was a hundred thousand years ago." Says so right here.

So what are the implications? Interestingly, these folks aren't sure.

"Combine faster intelligence, smarter intelligence, and recursively self-improving intelligence, and the result is an event so huge that there are no metaphors left. There's nothing remaining to compare it to."

Well, there is the Creator, of course, but that would take all of the fun out of it, wouldn't it?

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