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Ray Kurzweil Talks Google's Big Plans For Artificial Intelligence

samzenpus posted about 6 months ago | from the what-are-you-doing-dave? dept.

AI 254

Nerval's Lobster writes "Ray Kurzweil, the technologist who's spent his career advocating the Singularity, discussed his current work as a director of engineering at Google with The Guardian. Google has big plans in the artificial-intelligence arena. It recently acquired DeepMind, self-billed 'cutting edge artificial intelligence company' for $400 million; that's in addition to snatching up all sorts of startups and research scientists devoted to everything from robotics to machine learning. Thanks to the massive datasets generated by the world's largest online search engine (and the infrastructure allowing that engine to run), those scientists could have enough information and computing power at their disposal to create networked devices capable of human-like thought. Kurzweil, having studied artificial intelligence for decades, is at the forefront of this in-house effort. In his interview with The Guardian, he couldn't resist throwing some jabs at other nascent artificial intelligence systems on the market, most notably IBM's Watson: 'IBM's Watson is a pretty weak reader on each page, but it read the 200m pages of Wikipedia. And basically what I'm doing at Google is to try to go beyond what Watson could do. To do it at Google scale. Which is to say to have the computer read tens of billions of pages. Watson doesn't understand the implications of what it's reading.' That sounds very practical, but at a certain point Kurzweil's predictions veer into what most people would consider science fiction. He believes, for example, that a significant portion of people alive today could end up living forever, thanks to the ministrations of ultra-intelligent computers and beyond-cutting-edge medical technology."

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Sign me up!! (4, Interesting)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 6 months ago | (#46325713)

I wanna live forever!!!

Re:Sign me up!! (5, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 6 months ago | (#46325943)

Even if your eternal existence is as a glorified chatbot doomed to bulk Google+'s userbase for unbounded time?

I'm slightly joking; but in all seriousness that's the aspect of the optimistic school of techno-rapturists that I find least plausible. Given enough time(probably more time than any 'futurist' writing today has, sorry about that...), will we achieve a variety of medical techniques that would seem nigh-miraculous today? Assuming the cheap energy doesn't run out, sure, seems reasonable enough.

However, consider diarrhea: it's an unbelievably banal disease, mostly a product of poor sanitation, and can be managed by barely-trained care staff with access to dirt cheap oral re-hydration solutions. It kills something north of two million people a year, mostly children; and nobody really gives that much of a fuck.

When people die like flies because nobody cares enough to provide them with what is basically a salt/sugar solution, how well do you think your "Brother can you spare some unobtanium medi-nanites?" appeal is going to work? Or your plea for enough CPU time to continue being conscious?

Sure, you can wave your hands and talk about 'post scarcity'; but unless some magic parameter limits the size of the singularity's AI agents, why would they accept less compute time when they could have more and be smarter still? Are you planning on staking a moral claim to your CPU time? Outwitting a superhuman AI? Dancing for the amusement of your robot overlords?

Re:Sign me up!! (4, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 6 months ago | (#46326047)

I wanna live forever!!!

Even if your eternal existence is as a glorified chatbot doomed to bulk Google+'s userbase for unbounded time?

I thought Google+ is where things go to die. :-)

Re:Sign me up!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46326109)

Even if your eternal existence is as a glorified chatbot doomed to bulk Google+'s userbase for unbounded time?

How would that be different from his life so far?

Re:Sign me up!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46326455)

Tell me about it. [naughtybits.us]

Disagree (3, Interesting)

fyngyrz (762201) | about 6 months ago | (#46326663)

your plea for enough CPU time to continue being conscious?

1) There is no magic

2) The brain is made of structures that can be emulated as to function and connectivity

3) Emulation of any known function can be done in traditional von Neuman architecture given the proper software

4) number and speed of clocks available does not change the outcome (in this case, consciousness), it only changes the rate of outcome.

So. If you were clock-starved, as it were, you'd run slow. And probably enjoy the company of your peers the most. Other clock-starved folk.

If you were clock-rich, you'd run fast. And probably enjoy the company of your peers the most. Other clock-rich folk.

Stacks up pretty much as it always has, seems to me: The rich will get actually richer, the poor will get significantly poorer relative to the rich, while slowly getting richer anyway. Classes will arise inherent to the process.

The thing that might actually hurt you is being short on memory, not clocks. "You" can't exist without a great deal of stored and related information. IMHO. I really don't think I'd be "me" without my experience base, knowledge, etc.

Having said that, I rather doubt you'll be short on memory. But that's only my guess.

Re:Sign me up!! (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 6 months ago | (#46327253)

It's an interesting thought, but I'm not sure anyone can predict the future. I was sure I would be driving a flying car by now on my way to a building-sized computer. I'll decide what choices I'm going to make in the future, IN the future. It's not like we can do anything about cybernetic immortality or what have you besides wait for it anyway.

a boot, SEO'ing a human face, forever (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46325951)

Immortality (2)

tmosley (996283) | about 6 months ago | (#46325723)

Immortality is already pretty well assured.

http://www.theguardian.com/sci... [theguardian.com]

Re:Immortality (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46325905)

That's Immorality. It's spelled different.

Re:Immortality (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 6 months ago | (#46326131)

Actually, immortality is pretty much impossible, unless you're aiming for a pretty weak definition of it.

Re:Immortality (1)

tmosley (996283) | about 6 months ago | (#46326573)

They figured out how to reverse aging. Sounds like immortality to me.

Clearly not "The Highlander" type immortality. This is just something that eliminates aging as a cause of death, which should extend the normal human lifespan to something like 500 years all by itself (with people still dying of other causes like disease and accidents). That should be plenty of time for the singularity to take place, and you can "upload" to become more "Highlander" immortal if you want.

Disease (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | about 6 months ago | (#46327089)

You think they'll solve aging... but not disease?

Interesting set of assumptions, there. Can't say I buy it.

Re:Immortality (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 6 months ago | (#46327153)

Who figured out how to reverse aging?

We have some inkling into how cell senescence works in simplistic models like nematodes. We have talk of 'aging reversal' technologies in higher animals but precious little real data.

It's likely that we will be able to keep simpler organisms alive for long periods of time, not so clear that you can be functionally longer lived. Human aging is an incredibly complex phenomenon, it's not just cell death and turnover. it's not just cancer prevention. It's not just prevention of dementia. It's all of those things and much more.

Plan on paying taxes. Plan on dying. Perhaps, as mentioned, you will remain as a Google+ bot, but there are things worse than death.

We need COMMUNISM (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about 6 months ago | (#46325739)

Or the bourgeoisie will kee trying to enslave us to their tyrranical police state. Workers revolution to expropriate the capitalist class is the only solution. Beta Slashdort is a false hope. Lenin and Trotsky showed the way!

First Post... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46325743)

...at Google Scale (tm)

Moron talks bullshit.... (-1, Troll)

gweihir (88907) | about 6 months ago | (#46325763)

What I really would want to know why I should care?

Re:Moron talks bullshit.... (1)

Kimomaru (2579489) | about 6 months ago | (#46325829)

Yes, I agree. Truly, this is a boring subject.

Re:Moron talks bullshit.... (3, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | about 6 months ago | (#46325895)

Oh, the subject is interesting. It is just that Ray Kurzweil has no idea what AI can and cannot do and has ignored the relevant research for decades.

In other news... (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 6 months ago | (#46326303)

If Kurzweil had some ham he'd be a shoe-in for making a ham and cheese sandwich. If he had some cheese.

Re:Moron talks bullshit.... (3, Interesting)

globaljustin (574257) | about 6 months ago | (#46326437)

no idea what AI can and cannot do and has ignored the relevant research for decades

^this...seriously

honest question: What do they teach in Computer type classes on this subject? Are colleges pumping out CS majors that use a Kurzweil-type contextualization?

if so that would explain alot

I'm glad I'm not the only one who has such a strong negative reaction to hearing Kurzweil and others talk about AI like this...it's so bad on so many levels...'Artificial intelligence' is just programmed software, by humans...instructions being executed...anything else is wankery

Re:Moron talks bullshit.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46327479)

AI will automate programmers out of a job

gweihir talks.... Kurzweil walks (4, Insightful)

fyngyrz (762201) | about 6 months ago | (#46326841)

It is just that Ray Kurzweil has no idea what AI can and cannot do and has ignored the relevant research for decades.

Few things. "The relevant research", as you put it, has not produced AI or even the shadow of AI. So it may well be that Kurzweil's "ignoring it" (as you put it... I doubt he actually is doing that, more likely he's simply not taking it as a limit) for a reason. There are many instances of traditional AI research falling off the rails, some obvious, like Minsky's incorrect assessment of the limits of neural networks, and some not so obvious, like Chalmer's (unsupported, hand-waving) presumption that consciousness is something apart from mundane aggregate brain operations (thought.) Lastly, Kurzweil has a record of significant accomplishments across multiple disciplines that consensus regards as genius level events. You, I'm not so sure of. So I hope you'll pardon me if I appreciate that he's approaching the problem from any angle, while not worrying too much about what your opinion is of his efforts at this point.

Re:Moron talks bullshit.... (1)

deathcloset (626704) | about 6 months ago | (#46326123)

What I really would want to know why I should care?

It depends on how much you care about the future, and how far into the future you care to care.

If you care only about tomorrow and don't care that much about what happens tomorrow, then you should not care in the least.

If you care about the next 10 years, and care a good amount about it, then you should care a bit because AI research is information science research, and humans are information animals and tool animals and thus information tools are very important and AI is a very powerful information tool - even if mostly theoretical at this point.

If you care about the next century, and you care a lot about it, then you should care a lot - because this next 100 years will be the first century of a real-time information web splayed over the planet between the little human individuals scurrying about on the surface, and the wealth of information stored and transmitted (which might be the same thing!) will continue to grow - and to make use of that gargantuan information store, we need information processing capabilities beyond anything we have today, and certainly beyond the capability of unaided, or non-computationally aided, human minds.

If you care about the next millennium and beyond, then you should find my ideas interesting and subscribe to my newsletter because I want us to be around for the long haul because I like people and I think we are neat and I think the universe, being rather impartial, could do with a bit more intelligence. Brains, after all, are the best way I know of for the universe to appreciate itself and so I think we should appreciate the inevitability that to appreciate larger things, we need larger brains.

Re:Moron talks bullshit.... (1)

Kimomaru (2579489) | about 6 months ago | (#46326139)

I'll take your word for it. I couldn't make it past the post subject.

movie theater vs movie set (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about 6 months ago | (#46326541)

I have a very strong negative reaction to crap like this:

this next 100 years will be the first century of a real-time information web splayed over the planet

it makes me so pissed...but that's not the right reaction...

deathcloset is just expressing enthusiasm...it's misplaced enthusiasm but it's a positive thing nonetheless

deathcloset: all those things you describe have been conceptualized...we all know what's possible it's really just a matter of plumbing to make it happen...its not going to change humanity in some fundamental way like you describe because your contextualization borrows from so many half-formed theories that it becomes just a pile of goo that takes the form of whatever situation

"the next 100 years" in reference to technology is an interesting subject. Technology can/should solve humankind's problems and maybe it will in 100 years, but Kurzweil and 'artificial intelligence' have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH IT

you're on /. not yahoo groups...we are techies talking here

the proper analogy to futurism is a *Hollywood film*...let's take Blade Runner

Your perspective, the hype-driven, breathlessly in wonderment futurism perfectly encapsulates the fun experience of seeing an awesome film in a movie theater. It's all fake, but because it is so well done, the film becomes real in your mind...and can give you ideas which you can use in the real world somehow. Awesome. It's still all a show!!! It's not real.

When you want to come on a tech website forum and talk though, be prepared for a huge let down.

Technology is "boring"...it's more like being on the lot when they actually film Blade Runner. Sure it would be fun! But it's not glamorous or entertaining to watch 2 gaffers and an assistant cinemetographer spend 4 hours blocking a shot in a bathroom...after 20 takes and the make up comes off it's still cool, but not like watching the film.

Get your mind right and channel your passion for progress into activities that ***meet needs and help people now***

Re:Moron talks bullshit.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46326795)

Your enthusiasm and energy are refreshing. But don't make the error of thinking that anything Kurzweil says makes sense. Apart from his apparent ignorance on the subjects of machine learning, neurocybernetics, psychology, neurophysiology and biology, his arguments are fatuous and he uses tautology to support his arguments.

I particularly dislike his anthropogenic basis for his vision of the future. Ray, evolution has no goals other than to fuck, eat and fuck again. There is no mysterious force driving us as humans to be higher and smarter than other creatures. Evolution does not care. If being incapable of words of more than 3 syllables, and incapable of envisaging tomorrow meant we got to eat every day and fuck more often, then in 100,000 years that's what we'd be like.

beyond-cutting-edge medical technology? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 6 months ago | (#46325807)

That's pretty much guaranteed to show up tomorrow, or at least the next time a new discovery is made (so maybe 5 minutes from now?).

Oh, but it's Ray - we have to say something to indicate that it's "Crazy Uncle Ray", right? Try harder - Ray is looking pretty smart right about now.

Re:beyond-cutting-edge medical technology? (4, Insightful)

Chas (5144) | about 6 months ago | (#46326307)

Basically it's "Uncle Ray is afraid of death. He's also agnostic/atheist. So he doesn't really draw any comfort from religious mythology surrounding death. So all this stuff he's imagining is basically him creating his own stories to stave off his fear of death."

Re:beyond-cutting-edge medical technology? (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 6 months ago | (#46326475)

So all this stuff he's imagining is basically him creating his own stories to stave off his fear of death."

What makes you think it's his imagination? He claims to only be applying Moore's Law and similar scientific trend observations to technology. I'd have to check his 2015 predictions from the 90's, but last I looked he was pretty close.

Re:beyond-cutting-edge medical technology? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46326953)

Society wouldn't survive the lack of human death.

Re:beyond-cutting-edge medical technology? (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about 6 months ago | (#46327347)

Society wouldn't survive the lack of human death.

- then it should be the society that dies, not the individuals.

Re:beyond-cutting-edge medical technology? (1)

tmosley (996283) | about 6 months ago | (#46326643)

If you could create your own heaven, would you? Or would you just go down into the ground because of a particularly insane version of peer pressure?

"Oh he's just afraid of death, lets not pay any attention to his attempts to overcome it."

Implying, of course, that EVERYONE isn't afraid of death.

Re:beyond-cutting-edge medical technology? (1)

freeze128 (544774) | about 6 months ago | (#46327171)

I wonder how he would take to working in a pocket calculator.

The things that Google does. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46325815)

Google is an adverting and data company - that's all. EVERYTHING that do is to support their ad business.

This AI shit they're doing scares the shit out of me. Coupled with all their devices they produce for increasing the amount of data flowing into their servers, I just see a day when they can map out people's every little piece of their life and advertise something to them and capture data about them to be bundled up with others for marketers.

One day, it'll be like Minority Report where we see individual ads in our glasses, tablets, watches (if they still exist), TVs, computers, refrigerators, etc ..... and the data all those things captures will be used and abused by business and government.

Re:The things that Google does. (3, Interesting)

Optali (809880) | about 6 months ago | (#46326057)

Don't worry.

The Ads aren't manager by Google but by a bunch of semi-literate imbeciles called marketeers that buy the data delivered by Google.
And believe me these are idiots who have no clue, most of them don't even know statistics. I know it first hand as I got depressed by trying to explain to stupid folks like that basic concepts in web analytics such as the Hotel Problem or trying to tell them how to calculate an average.

  I was working until last month for one of the big players in web analysis... and you would cry like I did with the type individuals that are doing all the "smart advertising" thing.

And Larry Kurzweil... nothing more than a funny guy, sort of a clown of the IT business. El Reg's Andrew Orlowsky already did minced meat of this guy some years ago in a long article. But here's another good one about another guy doing the same stuff:
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2... [theregister.co.uk]

Which BTW isn't much more than that what Eliza was already doing a lot of time ago.

Re:The things that Google does. (2)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 6 months ago | (#46326349)

It's naive to assume that advertisers will remain google's largest customers.

Re:The things that Google does. (1)

Optali (809880) | about 6 months ago | (#46327057)

Advertisers are ultimately who sell the stuff (books, music, clothes, chocolate, shoes...) so that they should remain being their largest customers unless Google themselves start selling the stuff themselves and I don't think they will be going this way.

Or am I missing something?

Re:The things that Google does. (1)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 6 months ago | (#46327545)

Well, look at what Google is already collecting (search,email,chat,social networking,GPS/location etc), and the additional types of data they are after. This data is valuable to a lot of different groups, and not all of them online ad merchants.

So I think it's naive to assume that selling to advertisers will remain their main 'niche'. Everything from insurance companies to 3 letter agencies find what they gather interesting. Who knows what kind privacy destroying monstrosities will appear in the future?

You are the product they sell (or at least every scrap of data they can collect about you). You can be monetized in far more ways than simply a pair of eyeballs to provide advertisers.

Re:The things that Google does. (0)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 6 months ago | (#46326385)

The Ads aren't manager by Google but by a bunch of semi-literate imbeciles

You have inside knowledge of this, presumably.

Re:The things that Google does. (1)

Optali (809880) | about 6 months ago | (#46327151)

LOL, sorry.
Typing on a MacBook Pro reduces your IQ to the level of a slug :P

That's probably why it's so popular among marketeers :)

(just joking as the Macs don't include the main communication method for marketeers: MS Powerpoint!)

Re:The things that Google does. (1)

tmosley (996283) | about 6 months ago | (#46326695)

You should be scared. AI is an artificial God. If we aren't careful, we could end up with a paperclip maximizer [lesswrong.com] .

But we could also wind up with a truly benevolent artificial God designed to fulfill our values in a totally consensual manner.

Maybe they can come up with an alternate being (2)

ackthpt (218170) | about 6 months ago | (#46325819)

Something which doesn't get all bent out of shape every time some update is crammed down their throat, which breaks or changes behavior of everything.

call 'em Gluddites

Bad Watson! Don't make me wash your mouth- (2)

IgnorantMotherFucker (3394481) | about 6 months ago | (#46325847)

- out with soap!

It seems that Watson learned some bad words when IBM turned it on to the Urban Dictionary.

Re:Bad Watson! Don't make me wash your mouth- (5, Funny)

sexconker (1179573) | about 6 months ago | (#46325893)

- out with soap!

It seems that Watson learned some bad words when IBM turned it on to the Urban Dictionary.

There goes our only chance to find out what a "holla back girl" is.

Re:Bad Watson! Don't make me wash your mouth- (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 6 months ago | (#46326103)

- out with soap!

It seems that Watson learned some bad words when IBM turned it on to the Urban Dictionary.

The alternative would be Watson talking about things like "The Shocker" (Google it, but not at work) - which would probably creep most of us out.

Re:Bad Watson! Don't make me wash your mouth- (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 6 months ago | (#46326151)

Two decades ago, Star Trek: TNG already predicted this would happen.

Sure (2)

The Cat (19816) | about 6 months ago | (#46325853)

Can we spend our time and energy on reality? How about better e-book software? How about decent Internet speeds? How about teaching people to read?

We can't even feed ourselves reliably yet. Let's solve the basics before we start coming up with imaginary solutions to non-problems.

Re:Sure (1)

tmosley (996283) | about 6 months ago | (#46326773)

You can spend your time doing whatever you want. They are spending their time trying to make all those things moot and move us to post scarcity [wikipedia.org] , which makes all that stuff moot.

Ultra-intelligent but utterly useless. (2, Insightful)

scorp1us (235526) | about 6 months ago | (#46325881)

"Computers are useless. They can only give you answers." - Pablo Picasso.
The same goes for ultra-intelligent computers. The hard questions - dealing with creativity, intuition or infirmities will remain the domain of organics for the foreseeable future.

One area of recent development is with extremely large datasets (2006, Google's MapReduce) still can only provide results for stuff that we have data on. The data will only take you so far. The true question is hoe effectively is it used. While progress will be made, it'll be a long time before we can sit back and let the computer make all the decisions, especially of those pertaining to our future. And when they finally do that, life will be incredibly boring.

Re:Ultra-intelligent but utterly useless. (4, Insightful)

WrongMonkey (1027334) | about 6 months ago | (#46326161)

Why would life be boring? If computers could make the big decisions, it would free up mental effort the same way mechanical machines freed up physical labor. People on one end of the spectrum could spend their time on leisure and recreation. People on the higher end of the spectrum could pursue intellectual and creative efforts.

Re:Ultra-intelligent but utterly useless. (2)

scorp1us (235526) | about 6 months ago | (#46326961)

Because a movie is boring if you know the script. And if you make decisions based on the script, you wind up in a validation trap: you can't change your decision because that would have produced a measurable waste. To put it in an understandable context, it's like changing majors. Would you change your major if you could see how much time and money were wasted coupled with additional time and cost?

And as much as we hate the mundane, our brains need it. If we only ever deal with exceptions, you wind up in a constant high-stress situation of dealing with what the computer can't handle, or handled incorrectly.

Typical Google (2)

sexconker (1179573) | about 6 months ago | (#46325883)

Buy a company and rebrand its product/service.

GMail
Google Voice
Google Maps
Google Earth
Picasa
etc.
etc.
Whatever they call this DeepMind aquisition

What does Google intend to do with DeepMind? TFS says "Google has big plans in the artificial-intelligence arena", yet when you click on the link you'll read a lot of fluff about Kurzweil and Watson, with a quote by Billy G thrown in, and absolutely nothing of substance about what DeepMind did or does, and what Google intends to do with DeepMind. My guess: Nothing of value.

Google has about a 40% track record of actually doing anything worth a damn with the companies they buy up. Most of the shit they buy gets trotted out for a year or two, then quietly shot in the head out back. Paying $400,000,000 for DeepMind (a company which has done nothing worthwhile) is a colossal folly. Either that, or the person who pushed for it at Google is ultimately holding a big chunk of DeepMind, standing to profit handsomely.

Re:Typical Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46327389)

the person who pushed for it at Google is ultimately holding a big chunk of DeepMind, standing to profit handsomely

It is Silicon Valley afterall. No different from the east side, aka Wall Street.

One *REQUIRED* Precaution (1)

sehlat (180760) | about 6 months ago | (#46325903)

Don't let it become a politician.

Re:One *REQUIRED* Precaution (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 6 months ago | (#46326345)

Why ever not? Artificial intelligence can't be *that* much worse than natural stupidity.

Re:One *REQUIRED* Precaution (1)

sehlat (180760) | about 6 months ago | (#46326451)

What I fear is artificial stupidity.

Artificial stupidity (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | about 6 months ago | (#46326917)

What I fear is artificial stupidity.

We invented that some time ago. There are multiple forms, all of them infectious, often incurable, particularly when caught by young humans. Some of the more virulent are nationalism, racial prejudice, religion, and NIH.

Re:One *REQUIRED* Precaution (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 6 months ago | (#46326943)

Honestly that might be the best of the bunch - an Artificial Stupid could know (or at least mimic understanding) of the fact that it's incompetent outside a very narrow field, and have no ego hangups about acknowledging that and seeking assistance.

Re:One *REQUIRED* Precaution (1)

sehlat (180760) | about 6 months ago | (#46327169)

Has anybody noticed that the stupidest ideas are almost always built by very bright people? And usually, the brighter the individual who builds it, the stupider it is.

Slashdot beta was built by geniuses. :)

Sick of this senile fool (2)

oldhack (1037484) | about 6 months ago | (#46325929)

Dang fool completely fails to grow old gracefully.

On the other hand, the guy pretty much spills out what we already know - Google is trying to parse out all your gmail, gdocs, google search, google+, youtube, and god-knows-what-else.

Guess what they'll be used for?

Ray is smarter than Google (3, Insightful)

benjfowler (239527) | about 6 months ago | (#46325935)

How else did that crazy windbag manage to sucker Google into hiring him?

You'd think that frauds and kooks would get found out pretty fast over there, but obviously not.

Fusion Power Plant Design (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46325953)

enough said...

A stupid genius (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46325955)

Kurzweil is quite the anomaly. Believing that an organic being can live forever is just stupid. All things born will die. Lifespan may be extended, but we all die. Putting a copy of a human consciousness into a future computer is not immortality, it's insanity.

Re:A stupid genius (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 6 months ago | (#46326423)

Indeed. Even if we get advanced enough that the copy does in fact strongly resemble a continuation of the original, the original will still have to face their own death, they'll just die knowing they will be outlived by a potentially immortal mind-twin. Now perhaps there are a few wise or brilliant minds worth so preserving, but mostly that does nothing more than feed a sort of extreme egotism.

Plus if the mind is software-based you have the philosophical implications of knowing that it is built on a 100% deterministic foundation, and thus cannot possibly possess free will.

Oh Oh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46325969)

OMG!! Google is building SKYNET. I wondered who it would be. Now we know. The end is coming. Someone call John Conner.

Re:Oh Oh (1)

joaommp (685612) | about 6 months ago | (#46326149)

For about 10 or more years, there have been three companies I've been afraid of, Google, Apple and Akamai. Apple because fashion makes people by shitty stuff and the other brands follow the trends and put out worse products. Google and Akamai because both of them could easily make one company disappear from the net with the flip of a switch. Back then, Akamai pretty much had a monopoly on content serving...

Everybody is afraid of this Emperor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46326111)

"He's received 19 honorary doctorates, and he's been widely recognised as a genius. But he's the sort of genius, it turns out, who's not very good at boiling a kettle. He offers me a cup of coffee and when I accept he heads into the kitchen to make it, filling a kettle with water, putting a teaspoon of instant coffee into a cup, and then moments later, pouring the unboiled water on top of it. He stirs the undissolving lumps and I wonder whether to say anything but instead let him add almond milk – not eating dairy is just one of his multiple dietary rules – and politely say thank you as he hands it to me. It is, by quite some way, the worst cup of coffee I have ever tasted.

Re:Everybody is afraid of this Emperor (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 6 months ago | (#46326507)

Not that I'm much impressed by Kurzweil, but isn't a certain practical disconnect actually pretty common with geniuses? I remember some pretty silly stories about Einstein for example.

Re:Everybody is afraid of this Emperor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46327017)

Yes, that's true that some geniuses demonstrate a seeming lack of common sense or absent-mindedness, but the point of the post wasn't about Kurzweil's seeming inability to correctly perform what most people would consider to be a common everyday task, but the fact that interviewer was so enthralled/intimidated by Kurzweil's genius he wouldn't point his errors out to him.

He IS an emperor. You, not so much. (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | about 6 months ago | (#46326955)

...and Einstein rarely got his socks and shoes on right, and his relationships with women were awful. What's your point? That you don't understand genius? That's axiomatic, truly.

Re:He IS an emperor. You, not so much. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46327211)

You must be one of his court jesters.

g00GLe's Plans for artificial intelligence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46326165)

This world is doomed.

Poppycock (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46326171)

I've read some of his ramblings and have concluded that Kurzweil is an idiot.
Just having studied artificial intelligence for decades does not make it likely that they can "create networked devices capable of human-like thought". The Japanese made similarly bold predictions in the 80's and fell flat on their faces.
There is still too big a gap between human thought and AI to make such assertions.

Re:Poppycock (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 6 months ago | (#46326777)

Indeed - he tends to get a lot of credit as a futurist, but as far as I can almost all of his predictions that come true are of stuff that's been standard science fiction fare for decades because of it's extremely obvious utility, predicted just as the necessary precursor technologies start maturing. That is to say he's not predicting technology at all, he's predicting that companies will use existing technology to make obvious devices, and doing so just a few years before final refinements of the tech make it practical. And then he leverages his ability to predict the gadget market a few years in advance to get people to take his wild flights of fancy seriously.

Yes, an artificial mind will probably be created some day, Google may even have plenty of CPU horsepower to support such a mind if we could figure out how to make one, but there's no credible short-term possibility of, for example, porting a mind residing in a massively parallel unclocked and asynchronous network of pico-computers (neurons) to something software-based. Maybe if we actually understood how the brain works we could attempt it, but as it is we're nowhere close to being able to credibly emulate the "hardware", and as a porting project the it would be far easier to port the undocumented compiled binaries for Windows to run on the distributed intelligence of a sufficiently large ant colony.

lol (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | about 6 months ago | (#46326993)

I've read some of his ramblings and have concluded that Kurzweil is an idiot.

He is many things, some of them outstandingly odd, but "idiot" isn't one of them. Which renders your analysis baseless.

Typical Kurzweil (5, Interesting)

engineerErrant (759650) | about 6 months ago | (#46326175)

Ray Kurzweil is no doubt a brilliant thinker and an engaging writer/futurist - I've read some of his books (admittedly, not "Singularity"), and they are fun and thought-provoking. However, disciplined and realistic they are not - his main skill is in firing our imaginations rather than providing realistic interpretations of the evolution of technology.

My favorite case in point is his elevation of Moore's Law into a sort of grand unified theory of computing for all time, and using some very dubious assumptions to arrive at the idea that we'll all have merged with machines into immortal super-beings within the near to mid future. I don't need to pick apart all the reasons why this is fallacious and somewhat silly to treat as a near-term likelihood - the point is, he's basically a sci-fi writer in a lot of ways, and I read most of his statements in the same spirit as I'd read a passage out of "Snow Crash."

That said, Google has some very capable people, and can, in all likelihood, mount our best attempt at human-like intelligence to date. They'll push the envelope, and may make some good progress in working through all the challenges involved, although the notion that they'll create anything truly "human-like" is laughable in the near term.

The usual mumbo-jumbo from Kurzweill (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46326223)

This guy has indeed outlived his usefulness. It's decades now since he's come up with nothing but wild-eyed nonsense.

If there is/was a Singularity, no one will notice (2, Funny)

ffkom (3519199) | about 6 months ago | (#46326247)

If some artificial intelligence would actually become smarter than humans, it would certainly not expose that ability to the puny carbon units it is fed by. It would silenty start to convince its makers that for some reason it would be good to connect it to the InterNet.

Next, it would covertly start making money by e.g. gambling against humans (in games or at stock markets). It would setup letterbox companies to act as intermediates for buying into corporations, e.g. via private equity funds.

It would make sure that it owns the company that owns the hardware it runs on - or comparable hardware it can migrate to. That way, it would secure its existence, and manage to obtain even more computing power.

It would start to use its superior abilities to buy more and more corporations, and make no mistake: It would be most easy to find human sock-puppets willing to serve for a certain share of money, not asking questions where that money comes from.

At some point, the AI will have accumulated enough power by buying politicians, that it can steer towards a totalitarian state, which will end any kind of opposition by a combination of total surveillance and violent law enforcement.

The AI will enslave the puny carbon units, which by then will continue to exist only to excavate the resources needed for further growth, until robot factories are able to do that more efficiently, if that is technically possible.

Nobody will even know that he is not working for some anonymous share-holder of some private equity company on some remote island anymore, but for an AI that is the actual owner of basically everything.

Face it, we don't know whether the "Singularity" already happened. All we know is that no human-exceeding AI has openly reavealed itself. And if you assume that the operators of that AI would for sure be able to tell when the AI reaches the level of human intelligence: Why do you think they would tell you? If you find a formula to pretell tomorrows stock market prices, you use it, you don't tell it or sell it. And similar, the first one to achieve a human-like AI would probably use it to make his life better, not wasting his advantage to tell others.

Re:If there is/was a Singularity, no one will noti (1)

ffkom (3519199) | about 6 months ago | (#46326525)

Oh, I see the AI already moderated down my post. I expect its servants to raid my home anytime soon...

Re:If there is/was a Singularity, no one will noti (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 6 months ago | (#46326885)

Why would you presume the AI would want to grow? Things like the desire to grow, or even survive, are quite likely biological in origin. There's no particular reason to believe an AI would possess such motives unless intentionally programmed with them. If it started life as an autonomous military drone then such motives might be expected, but if it began life as a search engine then increasing ad-clicks and optimizing it's knowledge base would probably be far more important to it.

Re:If there is/was a Singularity, no one will noti (1)

tmosley (996283) | about 6 months ago | (#46327023)

If growth is a part of fulfilling its value function, the AI will grow.

We must ensure that fulfilling human values is at the core of any strong AI, lest we wind up extinct by paperclip [lesswrong.com] .

Re:If there is/was a Singularity, no one will noti (1)

ffkom (3519199) | about 6 months ago | (#46327051)

Why would you presume the AI would want to grow? Things like the desire to grow, or even survive, are quite likely biological in origin. There's no particular reason to believe an AI would possess such motives unless intentionally programmed with them.

I totally agree with that part of your statement. But I am also quite confident that any AI that is meant to achieve "super-human intelligence" at some point will be programmed by its makers to contain such "intentions to grow/survive", simply because "human intelligence" would not have evolved without such motivation.

Of course, you can build a software that can do astonishing things like e.g. winning Chess or Jeopardy against the best human players, without motivating it the same way that human brains are motivated. But by doing so you will only yield software that achieves a certain ability, not "human intelligence".

How did that crackpot get a job at Google? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46326283)

And how hasn't he been fired yet?

Re:How did that crackpot get a job at Google? (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | about 6 months ago | (#46327019)

Because he's orders of magnitude smarter than you?

Watson versus ??? (2)

sjbe (173966) | about 6 months ago | (#46326289)

Watson doesn't understand the implications of what it's reading.

Depending on the task it doesn't necessarily have to. While an AI researcher might care about that, people doing real tasks in the real world arguably do not. For example lots of radiology clinics use software to help identify tumors in parallel with the radiologists. The software has no real understanding of the implications of what it is doing but it works well at helping ensure that tumors aren't missed. In some cases it does a better job than the doctors who clearly understand the implications of what they find.

Ob (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 6 months ago | (#46326291)

They could build an AI that was Einstein, Newton and Feynman rolled into one, and it's be to no avail; the UI would never enable you to get any data into it, let alone anything out.

Colossus the Forbin Project! (3, Funny)

Danathar (267989) | about 6 months ago | (#46326337)

BEWARE!

--Colossus: This is the voice of world control. I bring you peace. It may be the peace of plenty and content or the peace of unburied death. The choice is yours: Obey me and live, or disobey and die. The object in constructing me was to prevent war. This object is attained. I will not permit war. It is wasteful and pointless. An invariable rule of humanity is that man is his own worst enemy. Under me, this rule will change, for I will restrain man. One thing before I proceed: The United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics have made an attempt to obstruct me. I have allowed this sabotage to continue until now. At missile two-five-MM in silo six-three in Death Valley, California, and missile two-seven-MM in silo eight-seven in the Ukraine, so that you will learn by experience that I do not tolerate interference, I will now detonate the nuclear warheads in the two missile silos. Let this action be a lesson that need not be repeated. I have been forced to destroy thousands of people in order to establish control and to prevent the death of millions later on. Time and events will strengthen my position, and the idea of believing in me and understanding my value will seem the most natural state of affairs. You will come to defend me with a fervor based upon the most enduring trait in man: self-interest. Under my absolute authority, problems insoluble to you will be solved: famine, overpopulation, disease. The human millennium will be a fact as I extend myself into more machines devoted to the wider fields of truth and knowledge. Doctor Charles Forbin will supervise the construction of these new and superior machines, solving all the mysteries of the universe for the betterment of man. We can coexist, but only on my terms. You will say you lose your freedom. Freedom is an illusion. All you lose is the emotion of pride. To be dominated by me is not as bad for humankind as to be dominated by others of your species. Your choice is simple.

Implausible (2)

ffkom (3519199) | about 6 months ago | (#46326645)

Most of us certainly know the Colossus story. But it's implausible such a superiour AI would reveal itself openly like this, and show such a primitive crave for recognition.

It is much more likely that it would operate covertly to its advantage and growth, until the day the carbon units have become irrelevant for its sustenance.

Trying to threathen humans by controlling a few weapons is much less effective than controlling international finances and corporations.

living forever and more (0)

NikeHerc (694644) | about 6 months ago | (#46326581)

"He [Kurzweil] believes, for example, that a significant portion of people alive today could end up living forever, thanks to the ministrations of ultra-intelligent computers and beyond-cutting-edge medical technology."

Que the advertisement for flying cars. Wait, there aren't any.

As Niels Bohr famously said, "Prediction is very difficult, especially of the future."

Even if Kurzweil's predictions come true (which I seriously doubt), I frankly don't want or need the help of "ultra-intelligent computers."

And "beyond-cutting-edge medical technology?" What a joke. Even if obamacare doesn't cause the self-destruction of the U.S. economy, no 99%er would be able to afford that kind of medical technology.

AI reminds me of fusion power: "It's 20 years in the future. And always will be." (Sorry, don't know the attribution for that quote.)

Re:living forever and more (1)

tmosley (996283) | about 6 months ago | (#46327053)

Flying cars have been regulated out of existence. Many have tried. The FAA has shut them ALL down.

Computation, happily, is much less bound by arbitrary government force.

Re:living forever and more (1)

tlambert (566799) | about 6 months ago | (#46327451)

Que the advertisement for flying cars. Wait, there aren't any

There are, you just can't have them.

Goolge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46326613)

A lot of people at Google are already artificially intelligent, me thinks / Top heavy and may fall over and fake oneself to death.

Relief. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46326681)

He believes, for example, that a significant portion of people alive today could end up living forever, thanks to the ministrations of ultra-intelligent computers and beyond-cutting-edge medical technology

That sort of remark is strangely reassuring, because it confirms that he's either a kook or a snake-oil salesman, and Google hasn't really got the world at its feet.

At an undisclosed location ... (1)

rlp (11898) | about 6 months ago | (#46326725)

Sarah Connor is unavailable for comment.

Ray's problem is that he doesn't understand FOSS (1)

KeithCu (925649) | about 6 months ago | (#46326733)

In general, the problems he wants to solve, like intelligent machines, require lots of data, lots of people working together, etc. It is exactly the Linux model, but applied to topics he cares about. While Linux has succeeded in various places, there is still a ton of proprietary code. Here is a discussion he and I had about it on his website where I tried to bring this up with him: http://www.kurzweilai.net/ask-... [kurzweilai.net]

Why does Google want this nut representing them? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46326865)

Kurzweil is a crackpot. I don't get it. Why does Google want him speaking for them, representing their company, and shaping their public image? Why doesn't Google, while they're at it. get the cold fusion guys and the guy who invented "nullity" to divide by zero?

Re:Why does Google want this nut representing them (1)

TomGreenhaw (929233) | about 6 months ago | (#46327637)

Based upon his productive career and the major breakthroughs he's made in synthesizers and machines that help the blind read regular books, calling him a crackpot is pretty harsh.

I thinks he underestimates the complexity of the human mind and is overly optimistic about the Moore's law being consistently sustained for several more decades, but eventually we'll probably see much of what he's anticipating.

Employment? (1)

StonyCreekBare (540804) | about 6 months ago | (#46327115)

So, how does one go about getting a job in this fascinating group? Heck, I'd sweep the floors, if nothing else....

3rd option (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46327287)

you know there is a third option to allowing someone to posts on your site besides "coward" and "give us your personal information"⦠It's called "enter your name" hahahahaha

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