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148 comments

SkyNet (4, Funny)

Eddi3 (1046882) | about a year ago | (#42301031)

SkyNet will come to dominate all first posts soon.

Re:SkyNet (5, Insightful)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about a year ago | (#42301141)

I had a better summary in my submission. ;-)

Kurzweil is famous for his breakthroughs in OCR, computer speech synthesis and digital music creation â" as well as his theory of âoeThe Singularity,â that point when technology is sufficiently advanced that it contests and surpasses human intelligence."

"I'm thrilled to be teaming up with Google to work on some of the hardest problems in computer science so we can turn the next decade's 'unrealistic' visions into reality." said Kurzweil.

Peter Norvig, Google's director of research, said "We appreciate his ambitious, long-term thinking, and we think his approach to problem-solving will be incredibly valuable to projects we're working on at Google."

Hal 9000 was unavailable for comment, as were Colossus, Guardian and Dr. Charles A. Forbin.

Lt Cmdr Data said (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42301217)

Lt Cmdr Data said he was happy to have RK aboard. (He had his emotion chip in).

Re:Lt Cmdr Data said (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | about a year ago | (#42301279)

Robby the robot briefly interrupted his oiljob, clicked for a while, and finally said: "Mr. Ray, while you pursuit your vision, beware of the monsters from the Id."

The Singularity is a great idea, but you know, The Internet was a great idea too, and look what's it's turning into. The problem is not how cool is the tech, it is who controls it de facto.

Re:Lt Cmdr Data said (1)

tnk1 (899206) | about a year ago | (#42302625)

Considering that we have no idea what a Singularity would be like (by definition), it could be awesome or it could be the reason we never see other intelligent species out in space.

I think someone once said that at around the time of the Singularity occurring, each individual could easily become possessed of power equivalent to a nuclear bomb. That's not to say we'd all have nukes, but we might have the ability to each release something like a homemade plague or grey goo nanobot cloud, or even figure out how brains work and how to control them remotely. Or, more likely, something we haven't even thought of yet.

Knowledge itself is neither good nor evil but a tool, and like any tool, it can magnify the intention of the user without consideration of its effects.

The good/bad news, is that I firmly believe that any knowledge singularity is going to be limited by the amount of available energy for use. Without an exponentially increasing amount of available energy, I don't think an exponential growth of knowledge is possible. We're eventually going to hit a plateau unless the energy curve somehow is able to go exponential. Looking at the current sources of energy, I'd say we'll be lucky to not end up in a new Dark Age as soon as we run out of fossil fuels.

Re:Lt Cmdr Data said (1)

Luke_2010 (1515829) | about a year ago | (#42302761)

Actually, this is what advanced, strong A.I. is for: research into matters we don't have enough keenness to look into. As for energy, there's still a long way to go before we hit that plateau (and that indipendently from running out of fossil fuel), just think about solar satellites and nuclear fusion.

Re:Lt Cmdr Data said (1)

tnk1 (899206) | about a year ago | (#42304353)

You're right that it may be possible to get more energy, but when we talk about exponential rate, we are really talking about a lot of energy and the requirements will be increasing by an increasing margin every time.

Fusion is still 20 years away, just like it has been for the last 50 or so, and while a network of solar power satellites is almost the only realistic way to get that much power at our current technological level, we're still dependent on chemical rockets to lift that stuff off from Earth. Unless someone gets the political will to get some real and permanent infrastructure into space, even that relatively uncomplicated idea will be infeasible.

I'm not totally poo-pooing the idea, I do think we have some ways to go before that critical point, but I wonder if knowledge growth like this happens more on the lines of fast growth and then plateau for awhile. Although we think of knowledge as always increasing, we are constantly losing data all the time. For instance, we have actually lost quite a bit of the know-how to build and launch 1970's vintage Saturn V rockets. Right now, we have the ability to store that information, but we need the energy to encode it and read it at the storage densities needed to keep it all available. We also need the energy to run the search engines to be able to make any use of that knowledge, which includes Strong AI.

Re:Lt Cmdr Data said (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42305017)

Fusion is still 20 years away, just like it has been for the last 50 or so

Just ten years ago Fusion was still 50 years away, just like it had been for the previous 50 years. So that's progress!

Re:Lt Cmdr Data said (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about a year ago | (#42305275)

Who says advanced strong A.I. is going to have any interest in research we already don't have interest in? We will recognize this AI because it will pass a Turing test. That means it will be able to pass as human. So... we're trying to build a human intelligence. When we succeed, who says it's going to have any interest at all in chip design or software engineering (the Singularity) or obscure physics? It might just sit all day and watch football. Or soap operas. Or Jerry Springer.

Re:SkyNet (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42301255)

"We appreciate his ambitious, long-term thinking, and we think his approach to problem-solving will be incredibly valuable to projects we're working on at Google: serving ads."

Re:SkyNet (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about a year ago | (#42304229)

in the future, ads will become sentient beings. we, humans, will become their slaves.

and they will read from their holy book; loosely translated as how to serve man.

Re:SkyNet (2)

JohnRoss1968 (574825) | about a year ago | (#42304897)

"in the future, ads will become sentient beings. we, humans, will become their slaves."
So your saying not much will have changed?

Re:SkyNet (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year ago | (#42301261)

Kurzweil is famous for his breakthroughs in OCR, computer speech synthesis and digital music creation" as well as his theory of The Singularity, that point when technology is sufficiently advanced that it contests and surpasses human intelligence."

He founded some companies and made a name for himself. But what breakthroughs did he actually make? What are his technical contributions?

Re:SkyNet (5, Funny)

ShakaUVM (157947) | about a year ago | (#42301355)

>He founded some companies and made a name for himself. But what breakthroughs did he actually make? What are his technical contributions?

Funny.

But yeah, in addition to the OCR work that made him famous, more recently his technology has been used to power SIRI and other NLP processes.

I've been reading through his latest book, How To Create a Mind. It's pretty interesting. My wife and I just made one about four months ago ourselves.

Re:SkyNet (0)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year ago | (#42301615)

Let me help you here.

Einstein came up with the photoelectric effect and the theories of special and general relativity.

Turing invented the Turing machine and the Turing test.

Codd invented the relational database model.

Alan Kay invented Smalltalk and object oriented progrmaming.

Kurzweil invented ______________

Re:SkyNet (3, Informative)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about a year ago | (#42301661)

Omni-font optical character recognition, the Kurzweil Reading Machine (read books out loud to the blind), the Kurzweil K250 (one of the first synthesizers that could accurately imitate real instruments), one of the first commercial speech recognition programs, computer learning programs for children and med students, etc.

May I suggest you learn about these new technologies called "Google" and "Wikipedia?"

Re:SkyNet (2)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year ago | (#42302117)

Omni-font optical character recognition ... May I suggest you learn about these new technologies called "Google" and "Wikipedia?"

May I suggest you do too:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optical_character_recognition [wikipedia.org]

"Kurzweil is often credited with inventing omnifont OCR, but it was in use by companies, including CompuScan, in the late 1960s and 1970s. See Schantz, The History of OCR; Data processing magazine, Volume 12 (1970), p. 46"

Kurzweil's Wikipedia page also talks about all the companies he founded, all the books he wrote, and all the awards he received:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_kurzweil [wikipedia.org]

The guy is clearly a great communicator, promoter, manager and businessman. But did he actually make specific technical contributions? What are they?

I mean, given that people are saying he's going to revolutionize machine learning and language processing at Google, isn't that a legitimate question?

Re:SkyNet (1)

fatphil (181876) | about a year ago | (#42302289)

Remember, too, that the Wikipedia page on him is almost certainly going to have more contributions to it made by fans of his work.

From the perspective I have, having some expertise in OCR, I think that Kurzweil made his greatest breakthroughs in self-publicity.

Re:SkyNet (4, Insightful)

MikeBabcock (65886) | about a year ago | (#42303003)

To be fair, having a long-term visionary on staff is just as important as having good engineers.

Re:SkyNet (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year ago | (#42304069)

I didn't say it wasn't. I'm not trying to prove a point here.

I just would like to know what he has done technically.

Re:SkyNet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42304943)

For all his accomplishments, he clearly hasn't solved ignorance or apathy. Though some might say that's your job.

Re:SkyNet (4, Informative)

LordKronos (470910) | about a year ago | (#42302073)

Let me help you here.

Einstein came up with the photoelectric effect and the theories of special and general relativity.

Turing invented the Turing machine and the Turing test.

Codd invented the relational database model.

Alan Kay invented Smalltalk and object oriented progrmaming.

Kurzweil invented ______________

You are right. Kurzweil invented absolutely nothing. He invented so much "nothing" that he's received countless awards from it. This is from his wikipedia page:

Kurzweil has received many awards and honors, including:

        First place in the 1965 International Science Fair[4] for inventing nothing.
        The 1978 Grace Murray Hopper Award from the Association for Computing Machinery. The award is given annually to one "person who has done nothing" and is accompanied by a $35,000 prize.[23] Kurzweil won it for his invention of nothing.[24]
        The 1990 "Engineer of the Year" award from Design News.[25]
        The 1994 Dickson Prize in Science. One is awarded every year by Carnegie Mellon University to individuals who have "done absolutely nothing." Both a medal and a $50,000 prize are presented to winners.[26]
        The 1998 "Inventor of the Year" award from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[27]
        The 1999 National Medal of Technology.[28] This is the highest award the President of the United States can bestow upon individuals and groups for pioneering nothing, and the President dispenses the award at his discretion.[29] Bill Clinton presented Kurzweil with the National Medal of Technology during a White House ceremony in recognition of Kurzweil's development of nothing.
        The 2000 Telluride Tech Festival Award of Technology.[30] Two other individuals also received the same honor that year. The award is presented yearly to people who "have done absolutely nothing."
        The 2001 Lemelson-MIT Prize for a lifetime of developing technologies to help nobody and to enrich nothing.[31] Only one is meted out each year to highly successful, mid-career inventors. A $500,000 award accompanies the prize.[32]
        Kurzweil was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2002 for inventing nothing[33] The organization "honors the women and men responsible for none of the great technological advances that make human, social and economic progress possible."[34] Fifteen other people were inducted into the Hall of Fame the same year.[35]
        The Arthur C. Clarke Lifetime Achievement Award on April 20, 2009 for lifetime achievement as an inventor of nothing and futurist in computer-based technologies.[36]
        Kurzweil has received eighteen honorary doctorates.[37]
        In 2011, Kurzweil was named a Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council.[38]

Yep, this guy has received more awards and prizes for doing nothing than anybody else ever has.

Re:SkyNet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42303919)

This list just shows that Kurzweil is extremely good at one thing: self promotion.
He is also good at giving money to organizations that can give him awards.
He is also very, very good at rewriting the history of AI and ignoring everyone's contributions but his own.

People with money can do that. People in academia and industry research who are down in the trenches actually inventing new stuff can't do that because 1. nobody would pay attention 2. hype, lack of scholarship, and arrogant self-promotion is generally damaging to the career of a researcher.

His OCR system for the blind was a nice piece of system integration, though it was ridiculously expensive.
His synths were decent. These are the only two things for which he might deserve some sort of minor award.

All the rest that he claims to have invented was actually invented by others much earlier.

Re:SkyNet (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year ago | (#42304769)

His synths were decent.

His synths are beyond decent, they are best in class. What's up with you trash talkers? Ray Kurzweil has made his place in history in an amazing variety of ways. But it's kind of sad he's reduced to taking employment with Google instead of running his own show.

Re:SkyNet (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42303843)

That book is just a list of self-serving lies, and Kurzweil is an arrogant a**hole.

Kurzweil didn't invent any of the stuff he claims to have "invented".

For example, he claims to have invented the use of hidden Markov models for speech recognition around 1983. But papers that described the idea by people at CMU and IBM had been published in the mid 70's.

He is just good at making money by repackaging and selling other people's inventions and conveniently forgetting where they came from.
He is also good at attracting attention to himself by rewriting the history of AI.

No AI researcher sees him as a "pioneer". He has never published a single paper describing a new AI technique. And all the products he has built used techniques that were invented and published before.

Re:SkyNet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42304975)

>For example, he claims to have invented the use of hidden Markov models for speech recognition
>around 1983. But papers that described the idea by people at CMU and IBM had been published in
>the mid 70's.

Almost. He properly claims to have invented the use of hidden Markov models for speech recognition that fucking work well enough to make a shipping product. The papers you refer to do not.

Re:SkyNet (1)

wibblewibble (2766235) | about a year ago | (#42303201)

Kurzweil didn't invent the concept of the Technological Singularity. I'm cautiously optimistic that we won't achieve transhumanism in time for this hack to upload himself into some more permanent processing substrate.

Re:SkyNet (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about a year ago | (#42303255)

How do you "upload" the unconscious? It's like saying you've replicated an iceberg - above the waterline.

What you get is a simulacrum, not a perpetuation. This is fantasy twaddle - the triumph of middle-intellects, with out insight.

Re:SkyNet (2)

HiThere (15173) | about a year ago | (#42303347)

How to do it is a good question. But not currently knowing how doesn't prove it can never be done.

For that matter, what do you mean "the unconscious"? Do you even have a good definition of the term? Much of what has frequently been called "the unconscious" is common to all humans. Most of it is common to all mammals. Part of it is common to all chordates. The part that is individual is rather small...though just how small we don't know.

Another thing we don't know is how much of it is devoted to managing the biological substrate. But we do know that it's a major chunk.

The above I can say without a good definition of "the unconscious". Lacking a good definition, I used that of C.G.Jung.

Personally I think that the concept is rather useless for this purpose. What is more useful is are the concepts of "Common Features of Humans that aren't devoted to maintaining the working of biological systems" and "Unique elements of individuals". (There are other purposes for which those aren't the appropriate categories.) OTOH, I'm no expert, and I don't play one on TV.

Your opinion that it is fantasy, however, needs justification before it should be taken seriously. (Also, please define "simulacrum" and "perpetuation". You could be correct in the sentence in which you use those terms, but it all depends on what you mean by those terms.)

Re:SkyNet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42303503)

The point is about simulating something that produces behavior that is in some ways similar to the behavior of the real object. Whether you can do this depends on how good your model is and how much computational resources you have. You can simulate the iceberg wherever you want if you have an accurate model and the resources. The same applies to the brain, there is nothing special about it.

"quickening the singularity" (4, Interesting)

vistapwns (1103935) | about a year ago | (#42301041)

Pretty much exactly what I think. Director of Engineering is no internship, and while Kurzweil is an accomplished inventor, his inventions don't seem nearly as important as his writings on the singularity. He can only be going to google to "directly engineer" a technological singularity as far as I am concerned.

Re:"quickening the singularity" (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42301129)

How about immanentizing the eschaton?

Re:"quickening the singularity" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42301339)

How about immanentizing the eschaton?

Depends. Has google built a data center on Fernando Poo?

Re:"quickening the singularity" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42304995)

Awesome. I feel embiggened already.

Re:"quickening the singularity" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42302465)

That's what you think... but the truth is I am one and my hosts are freaking out

Re:"quickening the singularity" (3, Interesting)

buybuydandavis (644487) | about a year ago | (#42303033)

I wouldn't say that Singularitizing is the only reason he has gone to Google, but I do expect him to steer some research in that direction, and in general convert more of google employees to a broader view of technology.

Re:"quickening the singularity" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42303897)

"the singularity" is a very possible outcome of our tech race. But there are other theories too that could just as easily come to pass. Such as a world war, large swaths of unemployed while simple dumb robots build everything, or something like the movie idocracy.

Re:"quickening the singularity" (2)

gweihir (88907) | about a year ago | (#42304045)

The idea of the singularity is complete BS, brought on by people looking for a substitute for religion in technology. Everything we know about CS suggests it is impossible, as increasing power of a computer to solve more complicated problems is strongly subject to diminishing results. At the same time, there is not even any halfway credible theory how true AI could be made to work and all approaches tried so far have failed. But these idiots do not only predict true AI, but true AI that can understand and improve itself. Just your regular religion-type infectious meme selectively preventing people from actually using their intelligence (such as it is) to actually try to understand things instead of going for fairy-tale type "visions".

No it doesn't (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42301055)

Specifically, "he will be joining Google to work on new projects involving machine learning and language processing," which sounds to me like another way to say "quickening the singularity."

"he will be joining Google to work on new projects involving machine learning and language processing," sounds like reasonably plain English.

  "quickening the singularity" sounds like pretentious gibberish.

Re:No it doesn't (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42301183)

How about Hastening?

pretentious gibberish? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42301197)

"quickening the singularity"....

  How come this engineering bullshit artist wasn't visiting a Ct. kindergarten yesterday?

Re:No it doesn't (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#42301207)

"quickening the singularity" sounds like pretentious gibberish.

You may refer to it as "immanentizing the eschaton" since for us meatbags it likely amounts to the same thing.

Re:No it doesn't (1)

Ol Biscuitbarrel (1859702) | about a year ago | (#42301309)

"The sensation you're feeling is the Quickening." Fits since Ray's ultimately going to have his head cut off and stuffed into a Futurama style jar.

Re:No it doesn't (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#42301363)

"The sensation you're feeling is the Quickening." Fits since Ray's ultimately going to have his head cut off and stuffed into a Futurama style jar.

That's if he's lucky. Odds are, he'll be simulated.

Re:No it doesn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42301549)

"Singularity, The Quickening" is clearly a movie title.

Kurzweil got a job! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42301065)

Yay! Kurzweil got a job. Now can he stop selling those cheap supplements [rayandterry.com], and speaking for longevity research at the same time?

Re:Kurzweil got a job! (4, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#42301511)

Some of his views are very debatable, but he is still a reasonably accomplished engineer. He may not be bringing about the revolution he wants, but he should be able to recognise good directions to spend resources to achieve more immediate goals. I know that Google has been very interested in machine learning applied to language translation - just the sort of field Kurzweil should have some familiarity with. It'll even satisfy his ambition to change the world - bring down the language barriers, and you've just made a significent step towards world peace. It's much harder to justify a war when the populations of both sides are in constant communication and have established social relationships over the internet.

Re:Kurzweil got a job! (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#42301683)

Some of his views are very debatable, but he is still a reasonably accomplished engineer. He may not be bringing about the revolution he wants, but he should be able to recognise good directions to spend resources to achieve more immediate goals.

Much like the more folks use the web, the more money Google makes: The longer people live, the more they can use the web, the more money Google can make...

Maybe Larry and Sergei (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42301195)

want to get in on Kurzweil's research on how people live to 150 with today's medical/information tech advances, or perhaps forever.

I always said google would become aware of itself (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42301205)

we are in serious fucking trouble if they let that mad man run around and boss around the people building things there at google.

It's Official (4, Interesting)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | about a year ago | (#42301293)

Google has jumped the shark.

Re:It's Official (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42302223)

Come on, you just as easily have said that when they hired Vint Cerf as 'Internet Evangelist'. At the end of the day PR does count for something.

Re:It's Official (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42303777)

I just googled what "jumped the shark" means.

this must be a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42301469)

this must be a joke - kurzweil?!

Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42301525)

Why would Google want to hire that clown? For comic relief, perhaps?

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42301631)

really? have you read any of his books or followed any of the projects he's worked on, even if you disagree with the directions he's taken and the hype that follows
many of the subjects he's involved with, he is a visionary and there are far too few that have the technical background he does that that are involved in any similar speculations and initiatives. nay-saying is too easy, you may be put off by stylistic impressions from ego but for tackling very hard problems of machine learning and an optimistic desire to see the future and get things done he is a great choice.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42301899)

He's still a clown with no credibility. His time scale for the so-called Singularity are preposterous on at least two levels. First, it ignores human psychology (his delirious views are not going to override billions of years of evolution any time soon) and second, it ignores the ridiculous position in which strong AI has been for three decades now due to the extravagant projections made in the 60s and 70s by too many gurus in the field. Kurzweil's impression that superhuman intelligence will automagically arise from raw computing power is thoroughly laughable.

Re:Why? (4, Insightful)

kurzweilfreak (829276) | about a year ago | (#42302337)

Kurzweil's impression that superhuman intelligence will automagically arise from raw computing power is thoroughly laughable.

Thank you for showing us just how little you understand about what the man has actually said.

Re:Why? (2)

BorisSkratchunkov (642046) | about a year ago | (#42302467)

Thank you for providing absolutely no substantive corrections.

Re:Why? (4, Informative)

kurzweilfreak (829276) | about a year ago | (#42302537)

If you actually read what the man has written, you'd see that he's pretty explicit in that raw computing power is necessary for matching and exceeding the computational ability of the human brain for superhuman intelligence, but that it is not by itself sufficient. Raw computing power doesn't do anything without the proper algorithms running on it, which is the entire point of his latest book. I didn't think it needed spelling out when Kurzweil himself has already done so many, many times.

Re:Why? (1)

BorisSkratchunkov (642046) | about a year ago | (#42302591)

Well, clearly it did need spelling out. Maybe you should just try assimilating them next time.

Re:Why? (1)

kurzweilfreak (829276) | about a year ago | (#42302673)

If someone wants to fundamentally misunderstand Kurzweil's clearly spelled out arguments the first time, how likely is it they will gain sudden insight from random online comments? Obviously the original coward (I'm assuming you are not him/her) gave enough of a damn to not only click on this topic but to also type out an asinine comment, yet didn't care enough to actually read what the man has really said rather than what they want to think he did. Others may read that and think his (the coward's) argument has some merit. I only meant to point out that not only does it not, but it represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the argument.

Thank you for challenging me to provide more detail as I should have done from the outset.

Re:Why? (1)

Zeromous (668365) | about a year ago | (#42304461)

Dude I'm with you the whole way, but some people just don't want to think it all out. They want to know in concrete terms what it means. It seems ridiculous to them that the tools we use today will form the basis of the tools of tomorrow, right down to our DNA and particles of being.

Re:Why? (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about a year ago | (#42302707)

I didn't think it needed spelling out when Kurzweil himself has already done so many, many times.

In other words, he sells a lot of books, that all pretty much sell the same idea. Over and over.

Tedious for most of us, though for enthusiasts of the notion, very self-validating.

Re:Why? (0)

kurzweilfreak (829276) | about a year ago | (#42302771)

Amazingly enough, as time moves on, technology progresses and more details emerge. Whodathunkit! Some of us find it entertaining. If you're not interested in reading about it.... don't?

Re:Why? (1)

Fernando Jones (1566403) | about a year ago | (#42302745)

"He's still a clown with no credibility." Speaking of credibility. I wonder whose judgement of Kurzweil is the more credible, this anonymous guy on slashdot who sounds a bit TOO annoyed or multibillion dollar tech company Google?

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42303633)

This has never been about intelligence "automagically" arising from anything. It is about having enough computing power so that neuroscientists would be able to run full-scale brain simulations using their detailed models. The hardware we have today is nowhere near that level. The Human Brain Project [humanbrainproject.eu] is one such neuroscience project and if you look at their proposal you will see that having the necessary hardware IS a big problem, which is why a very large amount of their budget is about building specialized hardware that can run the simulations at an acceptable speed.

You love me! You really love me! (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#42301757)

> which sounds to me like another way to say "quickening the singularity."

Good! I'll have my own pocket universe and a harem of 30 computer-controlled hotties of my choosing from the fashion and entertanment industry.

And this is good, transcendent-level computer control. I don't want any way to tell they're actually robots besides that they're interested in me.

Re:You love me! You really love me! (1)

russotto (537200) | about a year ago | (#42302123)

And this is good, transcendent-level computer control. I don't want any way to tell they're actually robots besides that they're interested in me.

Easy enough when you're just a simulation anyway.

a few things missing (1)

Dan9999 (679463) | about a year ago | (#42302131)

Logically there are a few things that need to come out of the industry before a singularity should even be attempted. Until then please put my money on this joining the graphical ides from google archives.

Re:a few things missing (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year ago | (#42302313)

the singularity has already happened, but it is not a purely computational device. instead, it is made of three things: people, the internet, and computers. Google, facebook, twitter, ebay, amazon, major news sites are all part of it.

Do No Evil (1)

blamelager (1152861) | about a year ago | (#42302393)

Whoever makes the first AI capable of improving itself had damned well better stick to that principle. You know it really isn't funny. It's not the AI you should worry about so much as the people in possession of it. And Google (i.e. USA) are not the only outfit involved in this arms race. Bad, bad, bad. This one could make the Manhattan project look like the work of amateurs.

Re:Do No Evil (1)

Luke_2010 (1515829) | about a year ago | (#42302817)

Whoever is going to build such A.I. is going to try to control it, which is impossible by definition since a soon-to-be superhuman intelligence can't be outsmarted by dumber creatures. It will be of us what such A.I. is going to decide, it will be beyond everybody's will.

Re:Do No Evil (1)

blamelager (1152861) | about a year ago | (#42302935)

You just mixed up will and intelligence. I think they are two different things. I guess that an AI will not have human emotions and motivations unless they are designed in. Ergo, the handler should be feared more than the AI at the outset (of course, that may change with accidents and evolution).

Do Good (1)

aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) | about a year ago | (#42305073)

Assuming there's a difference between will and intelligence, that motive and knowledge aren't just different aspects of the same thing, any self-improving superhuman AI need only be given one command for the whole world to end in chaos. "Do No Evil" will probably end in mere paralysis, the AI shutting itself down. I shudder to think of the consequences of commanding the AI to "Do GOOD".

Re:Do No Evil (1)

gweihir (88907) | about a year ago | (#42303923)

As nobody even has a rough idea how an AI could be made (hint: it is not a question of computing power), there is little change of anybody making an AI "that could improve itself". In fact, the whole idea is a completely fictitious construct by people without a clue what CS can do and what not.

Also, the only known intelligence (human type) routinely fails at improving itself, and is subject to delusions in that regard. In fact, it looks like true intelligence is trying to avoid improving itself more often than not. But anyways, as true AI is at least 100 years away, and possibly unattainable in this universe, there is no risk here.

Re:Do No Evil (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year ago | (#42304881)

As nobody even has a rough idea how an AI could be made (hint: it is not a question of computing power), there is little change of anybody making an AI "that could improve itself".

You mean, you do not have even a rough idea. Meanwhile, progress marches on and more and more of the original goals of AI research have been achieved. Machine vision and voice recognition are now commonplace. Computers win at an increasing number of games. Machines walk, balancing realistically. It goes on and on. The only thing that has changed since the beginning is, it's not considered a summer project anymore, the difficulty of engineering at the required scale and with techniques that are discovered and improved only with painstaking work is now properly appreciated. The fact that you have no part in this work doesn't mean much. Researchers in the trenches have considerably more than a rough idea of where they are going. So what if we haven't seen artificial behavior as sophisticated as an ant yet? An ant has 250,000 neurons and we are quite sure that all its behavior is governed by those neurons. Granted, each neuron is an impressively complex system in itself, however there are only so many of them, and increasingly we are gaining the tools to fully reverse engineer them. An ant-scale intelligence is not far away, just by the pedestrian technique of reverse engineering. I would say that the researchers involved in that area have a lot more than a rough idea of where they are going and how to get there.

What a waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42302739)

There are probably dozens of smarter grad students they could have hired over this crackpot.

Re:What a waste (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year ago | (#42304887)

There are probably dozens of smarter grad students they could have hired over this crackpot.

Clearly, you're not one of them.

We could end this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42302757)

Social security should come with the S.S. number and a 4 digit number just like your bank card.
You can give your number to government etc. but when it is used for say credit you then must also provide your 4 digit code.
It would go a long way although not perfect. you could be notified when a wrong number is used. and cops called.

You pin it in just like you do now so not even the mortgage broker or anyone else sees.

There will not be a singularity, ever (1)

gweihir (88907) | about a year ago | (#42303889)

That is a fiction though up by cretins looking for a religion-type experience or vision in technology. If anything, what computers can do slows down proportionally to size, i.e. increasing computing power is subject to diminishing returns, in most cases strongly so. Engineers and scientists know this well. These idiots do not even understand the basics.

Re:There will not be a singularity, ever (1)

DanielRavenNest (107550) | about a year ago | (#42304547)

It was a fictional concept thought up by Vernor Vinge in the early 1990's, to satisfy the needs of some novels he wrote, then further developed as a serious idea:

http://mindstalk.net/vinge/vinge-sing.html [mindstalk.net]

(It helps that Vinge is a professor of mathematics, as well as an SF author).

If increasing computing power is subject to diminishing returns, explain your own existence running on a 100 Hz, 25W meatware processor, and the exponential growth of supercomputer power.

Re:There will not be a singularity, ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42305157)

explain your own existence running on a 100 Hz, 25W meatware processor

Nobody really can. That should indicate something. Perhaps meat is not ideal for making a processor?

Re:There will not be a singularity, ever (1)

gweihir (88907) | about a year ago | (#42305503)

That is just it: There has not been an exponential growth of supercomputer power. Sure, transistor numbers have grown exponentially for a while and may even continue to do so, but not for very long anymore. But what you get per transistor has dramatically decreased. Today, interconnect and power is the limiter, not transistor speeds. Also, on the algorithmic side, more transistors do not really help, as basically no hard problem has a reasonable speed-up with transistor count, only with overall computing speeds. And most of them cannot be parallelized in any meaningful way. And when you look at some numbers, for example memory latency, they have not gotten that much better, and there is certainly no exponential growth. Sure, linear read speeds have improved dramatically for main memory (but not exponentially), but random access has not. And hard problems, and certainly anything AI, does require random access, linear access is for non-intelligent, brute-force stuff only.

As to Vinge, he certainly has that freedom as SF writer. But if he really is promoting a "singularity" as a scientist, then that is highly unprofessional as he must know better.

And as to the computing power of the brain, there is indication, that is actually the maximum achievable in this universe. Larger will incur serious slow-down due to light-speed delays. Faster may not be feasible due to energy density and the need for cooling.

What a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42305051)

If anybody in the entire world is highly overrated, it is Ray Kurzweil.

Sell Google stock if you own any (2)

tyrione (134248) | about a year ago | (#42305121)

Kurzweill is the last guy I'd hire as a Director of Engineering. Give him an office for special projects, on a tight leash, sure. But not Director of Engineering which requires accountablity and products to market.

Ray Kurzweil again? (1)

manu0601 (2221348) | about a year ago | (#42305349)

I have reached the point where my reaction on Ray Kurzweil name is "why do we have to hear about him again?" Not all science fiction authors enjoy such devotion in news reports.
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