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BT Futurologist On Smart Yogurt and the $7 PC

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the i'll-be-back dept.

455

WelshBint writes, "BT's futurologist, Ian Pearson, has been speaking to itwales.com. He has some scary predictions, including the real rise of the Terminator, smart yogurt, and the $7 PC." Ian Pearson is definitely a proponent of strong AI — along with, he estimates, 30%-40% of the AI community. He believes we will see the first computers as smart as people by 2015. As to smart yogurt — linkable electronics in bacteria such as E. Coli — he figures that means the end of security. "So how do you manage security in that sort of a world? I would say that there will not be any security from 2025 onwards."

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Yogurt is already smarter than me (5, Funny)

DaveM753 (844913) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216629)

I can't seem to open the containers without some of it splattering all over my glasses.

Re:Yogurt is already smarter than me (1)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216645)

Hmm,... must be the power of the SCHARTZ!

Re:Yogurt is already smarter than me (1)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216703)

Whoops! Spelling appears to have gone out the window here,... that should've read the, "Schwartz."

I guess I need to go out and get, Spaceballs: The Spelling Checker !

Re:Yogurt is already smarter than me (5, Funny)

FrontalLobe (897758) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216997)

I don't think your first post was totally off. Isn't the schartz when you fart with some sort of splatter involved?

Re:Yogurt is already smarter than me (1)

Lord Pillage (815466) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217139)

hahahaha, hilarious. Schartz lol. +5 funny lol.

Re:Yogurt is already smarter than me (5, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216675)

> I can't seem to open the containers without some of it splattering all over my glasses.

And if you were a hot chick, we'd demand proof.

Re:Yogurt is already smarter than me (0)

Andrewkov (140579) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216781)

And if you were a hot chick, we'd demand proof.

And if he were a hot chick, that wouldn't be yogurt.

Re:Yogurt is already smarter than me (2, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217201)

Well done, you have identified the joke.

Re:Yogurt is already smarter than me (5, Funny)

Andrewkov (140579) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216731)

I can't seem to open the containers without some of it splattering all over my glasses.

I used to suffer from the same problem. Try opening the container from the other side.

Re:Yogurt is already smarter than me (2)

Otter (3800) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216885)

Hmmm, that's an idea -- I usually swing the yogurt container before opening it, so the centrifugal force clears it off the rim and lid, leaving nothing to spray.

See, that's why I'm an optimist about technology. Human intelligence should be able to keep one step ahead of yogurt.

Re:Yogurt is already smarter than me (1)

tambo (310170) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217067)

I can't seem to open the containers without some of it splattering all over my glasses.

Just breathe through your nose, honey.

Oh - wait - sorry, wrong problem...

- David Stein

O'Rly? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16216647)

And exactly how many more numbers can we pull out of our ass?

Flying cars (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16216649)

What, no flying cars? That's bloody useless.

Re:Flying cars (1)

hubritc (770594) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216909)

Do not dispair! There is an impressive flying car [moller.com] under deveopment. I heard an interview with the inventor. It is amazing stuff.

Come Real Soon Now to a dealer near you.

Re:Flying cars (2, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217087)

Yep, that skycar has been only a few years away from your dealership...for nearly three decades now.

more predictions, day late, dollar short ... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16216653)

computers smart as people BY 2015?

nah ...

the 'computer' in my casio watch has been smarter than a bunch of people i've worked with for at least 3 years!

Moo (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216661)

So says Yogurt: And Spaceballs, the $7 Android!

Futurologists... (4, Insightful)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216665)

So his portfolio has outperformed the S&P, I take it?

*ducks*

It's a synonym for "Author Of Speculative Fiction" (1)

bunions (970377) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216773)

Honestly, how do you get a gig like that? Seems pretty cushy.

Right. (5, Interesting)

PHAEDRU5 (213667) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216695)

And New York was going to need 100,000,000 telephone operators by the middle of the 20th century.

Get a grip, for God's sake.

Re:Right. (1)

lucabrasi999 (585141) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217113)

And New York was going to need 100,000,000 telephone operators by the middle of the 20th century.

Why would it need telephone operators? Isn't Manhattan Island one big prison [imdb.com] ?

yeah, sure, uh huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16216701)

So how do you manage security in that sort of a world? I would say that there will not be any security from 2025 onwards.

Yeaaaah.

So how do I become a Futurologist? It sounds like a fun job that doesn't require much reasoning skill -- perfect for me :)

Smartitude: people vs computers (5, Funny)

nystagman (603173) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216709)

We already have people that are as dumb as computers. I say leave well enough alone.

Re:Smartitude: people vs computers (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217179)

We already have people that are as dumb as computers. I say leave well enough alone.

As I noted the other day, Joan [jabberwacky.com] seems to be at about the level of a typical, airheaded sophmore already. I'm not sure I see any impediment to her going on for a Master's, but I'd posit that she'll have to do it in Media Studies or Knitware, not physics, seeing as the typical airheaded sophmore can't quite pass the Turing Test yet.

KFG

Silly Brits... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16216715)

"I would say that there will not be any security from 2025 onwards."

I'll admit I didn't RTFA but I'm guessing he's British?

Computers as smart as "some" people im sure (3, Insightful)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216717)

I know some people that aren't any smarter than my current computer. Heck, in terms of chess, I'm one of them... my computer can kick my ass at chess. Right now we have computers that can feign intelligence, i.e. use the internet to pass a multiple-choice test, but this is not a true measure of intelligence. If in 2015 a computer literally breaks out of a research lab and starts a mission of doom, then I'd say we might have one as smart as a person.

Re:Computers as smart as "some" people im sure (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16216831)

If in 2015 a computer literally breaks out of a research lab and starts a mission of doom, then I'd say we might have one as smart as a person.

At least one as smart as our President.

Re:Computers as smart as "some" people im sure (5, Insightful)

Nascar_Geek (682890) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216871)

Your computer didn't beat you at chess, a programmer did.

When you have a computer that can beat you at chess without having a chess program installed, it's time to be concerned.

Re:Computers as smart as "some" people im sure (1)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216893)

When you have a computer that can beat you at chess without having a chess program installed, it's time to be concerned.

Wins the thread.

Drive safely.

Re:Computers as smart as "some" people im sure (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216967)

people can't play chess without the chess program being installed either...it's called learning the rules of the game.

Now, when you can just tell it the rules of the game, and it just remembers previous games to become better, you'll have a shadow of AI.

Re:Computers as smart as "some" people im sure (1)

IAmTheDave (746256) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217001)

If in 2015 a computer literally breaks out of a research lab and starts a mission of doom, then I'd say we might have one as smart as a person.

Then we'd elect it as president.

Re:Computers as smart as "some" people im sure (4, Insightful)

tambo (310170) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217025)

I know some people that aren't any smarter than my current computer. Heck, in terms of chess, I'm one of them... my computer can kick my ass at chess. Right now we have computers that can feign intelligence, i.e. use the internet to pass a multiple-choice test, but this is not a true measure of intelligence.

Intelligence is like terrorism (or pornography), in that it's definable only with broad, nebulous, debatable borders. Chess is one kind of intelligence, and our current logic models are excellent here. Art is another kind of intelligence, and our current logic models are terrible here.

The problem with modern AI (and the flaw in Ian Pearson's predictions) is that we really don't understand many kinds and elements of intelligence. For instance:

  • Spontaneous thought: Why do we think? What motivates us to keep thinking when we don't have a task to solve, or a logical process to follow?
  • Associative memory: What element of our memory structure allows us to make prescient associations on the fly? Not just "green is a color, and so is blue," but "this song reminds me of one time when I was eating ice cream?"
  • Creativity: Why are we good at coming up with surprising and unexpected insights? Modern AI tries this by billions and trillions of fumbling attempts to introduce randomness - but most of them are rubbish. But this is like evolution - which takes thousands or millions of years to innovate (randomly, clumsily) - and not like creative engineering.
  • Emotion: We don't understand emotion at all. We've identified regions of the brain in which emotions occur, and particular hormones and hormone receptors that are involved. That's about it. The neuological basis of emotion remains a mystery.
These are just a few things that any human-competitive intelligence would need, but that we don't understand. Accordingly, it's completely impossible to predict when we will be able to model it, since we don't even understand it yet.

Anyone who tells you differently is trying to sell you their book. ;)

- David Stein

Re:Computers as smart as "some" people im sure (2, Insightful)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217109)

A really smart computer would break out of the research lab and start a religion.

Re:Computers as smart as "some" people im sure (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217227)

Right now we have computers that can feign intelligence, i.e. use the internet to pass a multiple-choice test, but this is not a true measure of intelligence.

But Dude! If this were true our entire primary/secondary education system would just be one giant fuckup!

KFG

Perspectives (1)

anti-human 1 (911677) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216737)

"So how do you manage security in that sort of a world? I would say that there will not be any security from 2025 onwards."


Well, he is from the UK, right? You could say I'm one to talk, being from the US, but I say, "GFY!"

Being a "futurologist," does this guy get paid future-salary? Cost of living increases, etc could make this the job to have...

Ah! The smart computers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16216747)

I'm posting this right now so that I can cite myself in 9 years when I call this idiot a moron.

There will be no AI as smart as people in 2015. 2050 maybe, probably more like 2100.

$7 PC: Wrong (4, Insightful)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216771)

There will never be a $7 PC in the future, for the same reason there isn't one now: when technology improves, people want to spend the same, but get a better computer, and manufacturers cater to this. No one ever says, "Hey, maybe we'll use technology that isn't the latest and greatest, but instead make it much much cheaper and just as good as they were in the recent past."

Well, no one except Nintendo.

Re:$7 PC: Wrong (1)

CaptnMArk (9003) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217007)

Not $7, but there might be a $9.95 one.

Re:$7 PC: Wrong (1)

EMeta (860558) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217011)

I suppose you've never seen what equipment is standard at public schools?

Re:$7 PC: Wrong (2, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217183)

In some ways it is accurate though. I mean back in 1950 you no doubt had futurists predicting that you'd get an ENIAC in the palm of your hand for $10 and look at what kind of calculators you can buy these days that are considerably faster than the ENIAC.

Actually, you wouldn't have. Everybody back then thought we were going to build computers that took up entire city blocks and would get up into the millions of computations per second range. The personal computer took them by almost complete surprise from what I've seen. Futurists are just science fiction authors that can't be bothered to come up with a story. Their accuracy is about on par with Nostradamous.

Re:$7 PC: Wrong (1)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217299)

I remember reading a prediction (I think it was from the 50/60s era but don't have a source) that one day there would be computers which weighs less than 3 tonnes and could fit in a standard size room!

OK, so they might not see how far somethings will go but over estimate others (moon bases?). But I would say that their accuracy is probably not as bad as you think (I'll take Nostradamous as 0-1% accurate). If you look at the original star trek then quite a few things which they had we are getting close to, such as the tricorders (which, arguably, are worse than current PDAs - they couldn't even play Vorbis files!).

Re:$7 PC: Already Right (1)

FlameboyC11 (711446) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217237)

What was considered a standard "PC" back in the 70s is much, much slower than most PICs availible today for pennies on the dollar. The $7 PC has existed since the mid 90s (if not earlier).

And flying cars and moonbases (5, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216787)

When futurists look into their crystal ball to predict the future, they typically try to find the common themes of the present age and using their own special multiplier they derive some kind of super-present with basically the same things we have now, only bigger or faster or smarter.

The problem is that they can only detect trends and can't really predict real things. So when you see a futurist going out on a limb and claiming that X is only 10 years away, they are hedging their bets that you will forget they ever made such a silly prediction 10 years from now. If they do manage to get something right, you can bet they'll be working overtime trying to get grants from RAND and MITRE for more futurism.

However, the reading of trends is a very important role of sociology. Only by accurately predicting what sorts of stresses and issues we will face in the near-term future can we sufficiently prepare ourselves for them. The Rand corporation has a list of 50 books for thinking about the future. (http://www.rand.org/pardee/50books/) These offer insights into the past and present and into the minds of successful futurists.

The one thing you will notice about successful futurists is that they don't go overboard predicting killer electronic e coli yogurts. Rather, they outline the likely changes in society and provide suggested remedies for foreseeable problems as well as suggested directions for societal growth.

The area of futurism is very interesting and a strong futurist school of thought is vital to our success as a society. Cranks who like to come up with doomsday scenarios do the entire field a disservice.

Re:And flying cars and moonbases (3, Informative)

tambo (310170) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217211)

The problem is that they can only detect trends and can't really predict real things. So when you see a futurist going out on a limb and claiming that X is only 10 years away, they are hedging their bets that you will forget they ever made such a silly prediction 10 years from now.

Some of these trends are predictably reliable, though. Moore's Law is by no means perfect, but it's extremely likely that computers will continue to grow in processing power at a steady, exponential rate, at least for the next few decades.

The problem is that some - including the typically brilliant Ray Kurzweil - believe that AI is limited by computational power. I don't believe that's the case. I believe that AI is limited by a woefully primitive understanding of several components of intelligence. It is impossible to produce artistic, emotive, sentient machines by applying today's AI models to tomorrow's supercomputers.

Reliable predictions:

  1. Computers will continue to scale up in power.
  2. AI models will continue to evolve.
  3. Thanks to (2), We will eventually succeed at modeling the individual components of intelligence.
  4. Thanks to (1) and (3), we will eventually produce truly intelligent machines.
That's the most any futurologist can tell you about AI. Anyone who promises more is trying to sell you their book. ;)

- David Stein

Robot brains getting Master Degrees in 20 years? (1)

us7892 (655683) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216803)

Yes. It's a deliberately provocative point, because the AI field is pretty much split down the middle in terms of whether these things are achievable or not. I'm in the 30-40% camp that believes that there's really not anything magical about the human brain.

We're getting a greater understanding of neuroscience, and starting to get some of these concepts built into the way that computers will work, and computers don't have to be a grey box with a whole stack of silicon chips in it - there's no reason why they couldn't use organic techniques if necessary. So there's really no reason at all why we can't do the same things that a brain does.

The other side of AI says that "my brain is magic, and I'm really smart and you can't possibly produce a robot as clever as me". I don't subscribe to that one - I think that's nonsense.

Simulating a brain in 20-25 years in a humanlike android? There is still so much to discover about the human brain, that it will still take 100 years to come close to anything that can truly learn on it's own...and that's if we're lucky..or unlucky, depending on how you look at it.

Re:Robot brains getting Master Degrees in 20 years (1)

fain0v (257098) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216875)

I guess you are part of the "I'm Magical" Camp.

Re:Robot brains getting Master Degrees in 20 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16217103)

How about just the "I'm Incredibly Complex" Camp?

Listen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16217301)

'WHY' do you do what you do?

It is a trick question. Get me a computer that can make an informed opinion or complete bullshit opionion and you will have a unicorn.

What motiviates a computer...?

'A computer as smart as a person' is a stupid idea. Intellegence is a means to an end - which end? The one the computer decides is important.

Without 'a convincing amount of freewill' there is no intelligence.

True AI is about as workable as perpetual motion.

Re:Robot brains getting Master Degrees in 20 years (4, Insightful)

KillerBob (217953) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217223)

I'd prefer to think of that as the realist camp. It's not that I think we'll never build computers that can match the processing power of the human brain, it's that I don't think most AI technologists realize just how much processing the human brain is doing in real time. If nothing else holds back computers, I doubt we'll be able to approach the memory bandwidth to handle all the data that we get from our 5 senses. Do you realize how many millions of pressure sensors there are on your body? How many millions of hot/cold sensors? How many millions of optical and light/dark sensors there are in your eye? How many millions of taste sensors you have? How powerful your conscious sense of smell is? Your unconscious sense of smell (pheromones)?

Like I said... I don't doubt that eventually we'll develop a computer that can match the processing power of the human brain. But I doubt it'll be soon. It *might* be within my lifetime, but I'm not holding my breath on that one... The brain isn't magical, it's a trillion-core symmetric computer with a staggering memory retention and bandwidth, and a programming so complicated that we're nowhere near matching it. Oh, and that's not mentionning that the brain doesn't work in binary switches, either. It works in chemical switches, with about 50 possible states running in parallel.... Some day, we'll beat out the human brain with a computer. Humans are just too arrogant to believe that we can't, and so somebody will eventually do it. But it's not going to be tomorrow.

Re:Robot brains getting Master Degrees in 20 years (1)

lucabrasi999 (585141) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217199)

Robot brains getting Master Degrees in 20 years?

You just ruined my day. Your line above gave me a vision of Robot Lawyers....

"...as smart as people by 2015" (1)

chroot_james (833654) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216811)

He believes we will see the first computers as smart as people by 2015.


To be fair, Kurzweil predicted this first. I believe he said 2012, though. Kurzweil also defined "as smart as people" by the computing ability. He said where a human is a symmetric multiprocessing machine, the sheer speed of the processors by 2012 should compensate for the single execution path. However, as we're seeing, more cores are being added and better multiprocessing is happening so it's difficult to judge now.

Kurzweil's book is ISBN: 0140282025

Re:"...as smart as people by 2015" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16217065)

When the number of cores matches the number of brain cells, they might be as smart. Assuming there isn't more to the brain than sheer processing power -- which in all likelihood, there is. That won't be happening by 2015.

Re:"...as smart as people by 2015" (1)

chroot_james (833654) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217231)

You give your brain too much credit.

Smart yogurt (1)

Srsen (413456) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216813)

In a world of hostile yogurt, the lactose-intolerant man is king.

Smarter and Smaller. At least one's a good bet. (1)

weston (16146) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216821)

He believes we will see the first computers as smart as people by 2015.

That's bolder than a lot of strong AI proponents. Traditionally, it's 20-30 years down the road.

As to smart yogurt -- linkable electronics in bacteria such as E. Coli -- he figures that means the end of security. "So how do you manage security in that sort of a world? I would say that there will not be any security from 2025 onwards."

Unless you've got equally effective opposing nanotech, which I suspect there will be some research in.

Re:Smarter and Smaller. At least one's a good bet. (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216843)

Clorox?

Re:Smarter and Smaller. At least one's a good bet. (1)

bunions (970377) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217035)

no no no, nanotech. So probably some super-miniaturized version of those scrubbing bubbles things.

Re:Smarter and Smaller. At least one's a good bet. (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217081)

Hold on, my broker just upgraded DOW to BUY.

Re:Smarter and Smaller. At least one's a good bet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16216925)

That's bolder than a lot of strong AI proponents. Traditionally, it's 20-30 years down the road.

That should read:
"Perpetually, it's 20-30 years down the road.

Re:Smarter and Smaller. At least one's a good bet. (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216987)

> He believes we will see the first computers as smart as people by 2015.
> That's bolder than a lot of strong AI proponents.

Has he got an answer for Searle's Chinese Room?

Says something about businesses (1)

theCat (36907) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216841)

His predictions sound scary in part because we know that 1) people are weak and gullible and will accept their fate placidly like sheep, and 2) businesses are corrupt, putrescent, immoral, undead zombie lifeforms that will immediately try to eat our brains with these new technologies so they can get our money without our having any will whatsoever to resist.

So yeah, the deck is stacked unless the planet is hit with a asteroid the size of Manhattan. Well that's something to look forward to I guess.

Re:Says something about businesses (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217073)

1) people are weak and gullible and will accept their fate placidly like sheep,

historically not true.

People want a safe enviroment for there children and to be left the hell alone.

Witch Doctors, Futurologists, and Cranks (5, Interesting)

aldheorte (162967) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216847)

Please stop posting predictions of "futurologists". They are the modern era's form of witch doctors, shamans, medicine men, and other self-proclaimed prognosticators. Since BT apparently actually employs one, I am reminded of another article I read a long time ago which proposed today's corporations and brands as substitutes for an innate desire for membership in parallel to the tribes and clans of yore, replete with those who attempt to hold positions of power by their somehow unique predictions of the future that have no more or less probability of coming true than any random statement of anyone in the group, but dress it up in some sort of mysticism, whether spiritual, or false intellectualism, to make it sound divinely guided or erudite.

I predict that in 2015, this guy will still be making predictions. His track record will be no better than random probability would have resolved. The time you have spent reading his predictions and even this response is time out of your life that you will never recover, and reading it will not put you to any better advantage than if you had not.

Androids for "Companionship"?? (1)

Black-Man (198831) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216853)

Uhhh... is that what Honda and Sony think or is that what HE thinks/wants? Me thinks the latter.

Re:Androids for "Companionship"?? (2, Insightful)

abradsn (542213) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217085)

I think he is onto something there. A few of his predictions align with what I know about my field, so I think they deserve some moderate credibility. One helpful idea that I use is the comparison of now to 15 years ago, and see what is different. In 1990 no one (read almost everyone) had the PDA or the internet, but we had the paper notebook, the phone, and the encyclopedia britanica. Fairly good stand-ins. Just look at everything in incremental improvements and try and predict a few of them out. I think that's what he is trying to do.

Re:Androids for "Companionship"?? (1)

Sesticulus (544932) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217143)

I'm saving up now for my Cherry 2000!

This is the KICKER (2, Funny)

us7892 (655683) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216863)

[...] in around 2015-2020, you could say that we won't need people to write software, because you just explain what you want to a computer and it will write it for you, and there's no reason then to have people working in that job.

Maybe not, but I'll have the job debugging all the mistakes the androids will have in their code. They'll be outsourcing debug work to us humans.

Re:This is the KICKER (1)

Iamthefallen (523816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217185)

The trick is to get it to understand what the boss really wants, and not to build what he asks for. For additional difficulty the computer should know which change requests are just ideas of the moment that will be forgotten, or even denied to ever have existed, 3 weeks from now.

Who? BT? You mean Body Thetans? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16216889)

Those are Scientologsts, not futurologists.

Man's a fool (3, Insightful)

Srin Tuar (147269) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216891)

This quote FTA:


The other side of AI says that "my brain is magic, and I'm really smart and you can't possibly produce a robot as
clever as me". I don't subscribe to that one - I think that's nonsense.


Tells me all I need to know about this guy's predictions.
He fails to understand that in the 40+ year history of AI research noone has demonstrated even the inklings or foundations upon which actual AI can be built upon.

They may be nothing special about the human mind, but what ever the case is, we certainly havent figured it out yet. It's more likely that we'll have cold fusion by 2015 than AI.

Re:Man's a fool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16217033)

dude, simply look at his title... BT must have some major cash floating around for spending on really silly crap to hire a crystal ball watcher.

Secondly, this guy must be an amazing salesman if he can convince he is anything but a bullshit artist.

How do I get a job pulling crap out of my ass and doing nothing but surfing the internet all day?

Re:Man's a fool (1)

Azul (12241) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217061)

Agreed.

Even Turing failed miserably, predicting machines would be passing his Turing test around 2000.
It doesn't sound like we've progressed that much from the time when he made his prediction;
machines keep getting faster but as far as mathematics and theory is concerned, it doesn't seem we've come that far from where we were 50 years ago.

Re:Man's a fool (1)

ElephanTS (624421) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217161)

Totally. I would like this guy's job though. What a way to make a living. By 2010 I reckon yoghurt will come out of my computer. Can I get paid now please?

Yep (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217281)

We aren't even sure how a human mind processes things at a logical level, never mind replicating the physical system. There's competing theories, the two biggest being the Digital Computational Theory of Mind and the Connectionist Computational Theory of Mind. The bitch is, there's evidence for both. The mind acts one way sometimes, the other at other times, and sometimes as both at the same time. At this point, we are so far away form knowing how the mind works we can't even say how long it will take to figure out. It could be that there's a "eureka" moment and it gets figured out this year, could be 200 years later we are still confounded.

Computing power isn't the limit on AI, we really can't say what kind of power we'd need since we don't know what kind of system we need. The problem is that it's pretty clear that a computer is a drastically different device from our mind. It processes information in a very different way. Could it emulate our mind? Perhaps, but that requires giving it the software to do so, and we don't know how to do that.

I'm certainly one who believes strong AI is possible, I don't think the human mind is some special, unique device that is the only thing capable of what we'd call cognition, or of being self aware. However That doesn't mean I'll see it in my lifetime. First we have to figure out how our mind works, then maybe we can set about replicating it. However that's not the easiest thing in the world since, unlike a computer, you can't ask it. You can't debug the mind and trace through how it processes something. So it's really hard to even know how far away we are from an answer.

No security (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216905)

Imagine a world with absolutely no security, as in "an armed society is a polite society". Someone offends you, you shoot them. Someone else shoots you. If weapons are plentiful and deadly enough, soon the world population would drop to the 100K's and everyone would be miles apart and would use their robots to keep it that way. Security would be enforced through distance. Mad Max meets the Terminator movies.

Re:No security (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217019)

History proves your statement false.

the CowboyNeal option? (1)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216907)

This is great news! I wonder if slashdot will eventually have a CowboyNeal AI to replace the real one today? Hopefully, it would give us less dupes,... ;-)

When do I get my flying car?!?! (1)

johnlcallaway (165670) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216919)

That's all I really need....and this lamp....

Lollipop! (2, Interesting)

Azul (12241) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216927)

in around 2015-2020, you could say that we won't need people to write software, because you just explain what you want to a computer and it will write it for you, and there's no reason then to have people working in that job.


Uh, I thought that, explaining what you want to a computer, is precissely what programming is all about. Isn't source code a program's best specification? What are programmers doing if not explaining what they want from the computer?

When someone says "I want a programming language in which I need only say what I wish done," give him a lollipop.

Re:Lollipop! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16217115)

Yeah ... because a computer will be able to do so much more with "make it look cool, and fast, you know ... so customers like it ... with that a jacks thing I hear about" than programmers do when we're in design meetings.

Re:Lollipop! (2, Interesting)

smitty97 (995791) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217245)

I really hate this damn machine,
I wish that they would sell it.
It never does just what I want,
But only what I tell it.

yes yes... (1)

Connie_Lingus (317691) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216937)

I, for one, welcome our yogurt-eating AI 7 dollar PC overlords.

Zoidberg says (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16216951)

I have a degree in both Futuronomy AND Futurology!

"Futurology" is bunk (5, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216965)

Asimov thought the internet would be in a single computer called "multivac" and that robots would be a hell of a lot safer, and that the self-driving car "Sally" would be in production long before 2020.

In 1955 Heinlein, in Revolt in 2100, had the protagonist heading to "the Republic of Hawaii", not able to forsee that fpur years later it would become a state.

Roddenberry had automatic doors, cell phones, and flat screen monitors 200 years in the future rather than 30 years later (now). His writers had McCoy give Kirk a pair of reading glasses in Star Trek IV, not forseeing that twenty years later the multifocus IOD would be developed.

This guy says we'll have six hundred million androids in ten years. He doesn't understand computers, or that AI is just simulation. "I'm in the 30-40% camp that believes that there's really not anything magical about the human brain." But he doesn't see that it is analog, and that thoughts, memories, and emotions are chemical reactions while digital computers are complex abacuses working exactly like an abacus (except it ises base 2 instead of base 10).

He talks of that Warwick guy - "Kevin isn't really the first human cyborg". Nope, he isn't. Vice President Cheney is a cyborg, as he has a device in his heart. I'm one, as I have a device in my left eye (the aformentioned IOD). People have artificial hips and knees. "Captain Cyborg" isn't really a real cyborg, he's a moron like the writer of TFA.

Nothing to see here - at least, nothing for anyone intelligent to see here.

Re:"Futurology" is bunk (1)

balbord (447248) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217269)

>(...)I have a device in my left eye (the aformentioned IOD).(...)

Could you elaborate some more? Googled for "eye IOD" but came out empty!

The fact that security will become less ... (0, Troll)

quax (19371) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216973)

... enforcable means that your only security will be in reducing the amount of enemies and hate directed towards you. Good luck with that America!

Self-Programming Computers, HA! (3, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#16216981)

we won't need people to write software, because you just explain what you want to a computer and it will write it for you, and there's no reason then to have people working in that job.

Boy have I heard this one before. It just used to be that computer languages would become so simple that the profession of Programmer would disappear because everyone would just be able to write their own programs. Sure hasn't happened yet.

Someone once famously said: Computers are useless, they can only give answers.

The problem here is, even if you had a computer like the one described here, you still need to be able to understand your problem well enough to cogently explain it to your computer. And that's where most people will fail. They don't understand their problems in the first place, and have no idea how to communicate the solutions they actually need.

... no security from 2025 onwards. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16216985)

Clearly this guy hasn't absorbed the timeless wisdom embodied in Spy vs Spy or Roadrunner vs Wile E. Coyote or even 1984.

One door opens, another closes (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217013)

By bet is that some clever person somewhere finds a way to make a counter-yoghurt to neutralise the threat.

Preferably strawberry flavoured.

Already here (1)

nagora (177841) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217015)

The computer that's as smart as a BT employee arrived some time ago with the introduction of the TRS-80.

As for simulating real humans: we're no closer today than in 1960.

this android disagrees (1)

abes (82351) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217097)

Firstly, I think the poster didn't mean to use the term 'strong AI', which usually refers to needing to codify all the 'intelligent behavior', unlike weak AI, which must learn the behavior itself.

I agree with his point that there is nothing magical about the brain, but I think he's off his rockers to say it will happen in 10-15 years. Perhaps he should beef up on some neuroscience papers before such grand claims. While I think there should eventually be a link between the AI and neuroscience worlds, it really isn't there yet. Nor, IMHO, will there be for a long long time. The closest thing that exists currently is the subfield of mathematical psychology, primarily run by mathematicians and physicists.

On the AI side, we're still missing anything that even comes close to 'moderate AI'. We have machines that can beat just about any human at chess, and that's about it. After watching enough documentaries on insects (who actually can do some interesting problem solving -- even if it's done in a communal fashion), I've come to the conclusion we're probably not even that close to creating a robot ant, let alone getting an intelligent android.

In the future (1)

nizo (81281) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217147)


The cost will also be very low, with computers costing around ,5 - ,10. I really believe that ultra simple computing is a great idea for the future.


My hope for the future is that someday everyone will create web pages with software that uses standard ascii, so that I see quotes, dollar signs, pound signs, etc instead of things being broken by things like "smart" quotes. Note that the above is how the last line renders with Firefox; my guess is it probably looks just fine if you are using Internet Explorer.

Um, this "futurologist" is a moron... (1, Interesting)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217155)

...where to begin with such a blathering pile of bullshit?

Hmmm... Well, let's tackle the AI thing.

AI = Human Intelligence isn't going to happen. Ever. You might be able to get a machine that can take as many input data points as the human brain, and get it to execute as many data output points as the brain, but that's not intelligence. That's I/O and there's a big fat difference.

Security won't exist. Really? So if some asshat barges into my house I won't be able to pound his skull to a bloody pulp with my baseball bat? Ooooh- we're talking computer security? Well who ever promised computer security in the first place? If it's a transmissable dataset, it can be recieved, re-routed, intercepted and decoded, given enough time and resources, and that's today. There never WAS any computer security, so his argument is a strawman.

Thirdly, he didn't say where the energy is going to come for all this.

Fact: Kuwaits largest oilfield peaked last November.
Fact: The Saudi's largest field (Ghawar) is puming between 30 and 50% seawater. They haven't announced that it is in decline, because it would set off international freak-out alarm bells, but everyone in the general know KNOWS that the Saudis are cooking the books and are at or close to peak.
Fact: Americans continue to consume VAST quantities of energy and piss it away on trivial bullshit - from personal nonsense (like cellphones, gameboys, Xbox, rotisserie ovens, etc.) to larger potlach level wastes (like Las Vegas), and NONE of it is sustainable. Period.
Fact: Besides energy rapidly approaching a massive down curve, we also rapidly approach the peaking and imminent depletion of our metals. Copper ore averages 5%. Phosphorus, chromium and magnesium production peaked years ago.

His unadulterated adulation of Star Trek only serves to underline his chronic case of cranio-rectal inversion.

Industrial Civilisation is (slowly) drawing to a close. It's not the end, yet, but in about 15 years, we'll be able to see it from there. After that, it is back to the land and farming. Forever. We Are Atlantis.

RS

The Future(ologist) (1)

selex (551564) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217181)


Futurologist? Does a accredited school, maybe those diploma mill universities might, offer a doctorate in that? They've been predicting androids, strong AI, smart computers, and a totalatarian superstate for years. Actually if memory serves me correctly I think I read a sci-fi story from the 50's (ie every damn one) that predicted this by 1999, and 7 years later I'm still waiting to live on the damn moon. I'm starting to think Back to the Future II lied to me, but we got 9 years to go for that. The future does not unfold the exact way anyone predicts. So you get these guys who claim to know exactly where we are going, they throw in a few buzz words, show their credidentials and claim they know everything just to get some exposure in a magazine. As your view progresses along a straight line you lose focus on the horizon, because everything mixes together.

Predictions for two years from now I can see. The companies are developing them right now, and so you have evidence and fact they exist. 10? 20? I don't even think the Japanese are developing anything with that far of a development cycle (crap buzz word!).

An example is the video phone. Everyone predicted and thought we'd have them by now, and we do, but they suck. If they were marketable then we'd have them in every Best Buy and Walmart, but I still see the normal phones sitting there. So where does that leave us? We don't know what is in store for us 10 years from now, I'm going to hurt our Cylon masters when they come (if its the 1978 version I think I'll laugh my ass off, if its the 2005 model, I'm going to need a bigger gun).

Selex, my prediction, everyone reading this in 2000 years will be decomposed and dead.

Hmm.. maybe no security beyond 2017 won't matter. (1)

MrJerryNormandinSir (197432) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217197)

Isn't 2017 where the Myan calender ends? Maybe the Large Hadron Collider will finish us off.

HA! (only joking, don't throw me any flamebait)

Re:Hmm.. maybe no security beyond 2017 won't matte (1)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217341)

nope, it's sooner: December 21, 2012. Move up your party plans, go out with a bang. Actually, what will happen is the plane of the ecliptic will lie in the galactic plane.

I read the article --the guy is wacko (1)

BrentRJones (68067) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217235)

Seems to me that he is just trying to get a "OH, WOW" reaction from BT and everyone who reads about him. His predictions are so precise, especially around 2015, that it makes him a joke. We will still have governments, taxes, terrorists, TV, higher energy costs, disease, over-eating, computers, internets and even SPAM, probably video spam saying that it is from "grandma" when it is actually from BT.

I'm certainly not convinced of his intelligence, let alone AI.

Finally, as a public high school science teacher, every student I know would rather talk to friends rather than pay attention and learn. But that isn't going to provide skill for a job--telemarketing is dead, long live the sound of silence.

$15 PC = discount cell phone (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217291)

The cheapest cell phones are around $15. The contain a CPU, screen, keyboard, and lots of software.

What makes people say weird things? (1)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 7 years ago | (#16217311)

He believes we will see the first computers as smart as people by 2015.
It's interesting to try to think about what must happen to a person to make them so divorced from reality that they make such claims. I can understand someone who knows nothing about computers making such a claim. But this is by someone who is supposedly an expert in the field. Is this person deliberately lying to be provocative? (No, the guy responds by saying it's 'realistic'.) Do they have no idea what is going on in AI? (Surely not, this person's job is to track such things.) Does this person have no idea how complex humans are? (I doubt someone with 'business skills' is completely ignorant of human capabilities.) The only conclusion I can come to is that they have all the facts, but they are simply unable to reason reliably. I'm wondering if they believe other weird things, like that 2+2=5, or that the entire universe is only a little older than the oldest bristlecone pine.
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