The Singularity could launch human-machine merges

July 15 2008 / by futuretalk
Category: Other   Year: General   Rating: 11 Hot

By Dick Pelletier

As the future unfolds, humanity will reach intelligence levels never before dreamed possible. Today’s powerful supercomputers will evolve into tomorrow’s sophisticated robots and achieve smarter-then-human intelligence.

These super smart machines will one day learn to build copies of themselves with each generation becoming smarter than the last. This will create an information explosion that promises to change the world beyond our wildest imaginings.

The event, called the Singularity, is projected by positive futurists to happen around mid-2030s and will speed breakthroughs in every science and technology. Genetic engineering, nanotech, transportation, space exploration, and environmental improvements will all quickly mature from the impact of the Singularity and will begin delivering huge benefits.

Nanotech, for example, promises to eliminate world food shortage and create forever-healthy bodies – even take a potshot at death itself – plus provide unlimited material wealth. But so far, progress has been painstakingly slow. The Singularity could rush this wonder technology forward overnight.

Other health problems could be solved too. Cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, AIDS – virtually every human sickness could disappear.

In a recent Focus magazine article, acclaimed scientist Stephen Hawking warned that computers are advancing faster than humans. “If we don’t make changes, they could take over our world.” (cont.)

But AI entrepreneur Ray Kurzweil offers a different view. “As computers exceed human intelligence, differences between humans and machines become blurred.” Kurzweil asserts that robots are a human creation, and tomorrow’s super-intelligent versions will simply merge with us and become the next step in our evolution.

But before human-machine merges begin, these super intelligent robots will be living in our communities – and they could pose some interesting issues. Should they be given rights? Should they be allowed to vote? And how should we interact with these mechanical beings who are becoming more human-like with each generation? Though similar to us, they share none of our biological heritage, and their intelligence will be radically different than ours.

When chess champion Gary Kasparov played against Deep Thought, he sensed a new type of thinking that took him by surprise – not just faster thinking, but different thinking; a non-human kind of logic. Some say learning this new logic will raise mankind to new heights.

Although many of us think life rushes by at rocket speeds now, the future will advance even faster. Author James John Bell, in his “Exploring the Singularity” article in The Futurist, says “we won’t just experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century – it will be more like 20,000 years of progress”.

The ‘singularity’ will also help us address the most important problem of all – the 50 million people who die each year. Scientists believe that most of these deaths could be prevented with tomorrow’s technologies. The Singularity could speed technology development and save millions of lives that would otherwise be lost.

Our “magical future” is on the way and the Singularity could make it happen in our lifetime. It should be an incredible trip. Comments welcome.

When do you think the Singularity will happen?

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Comment Thread (12 Responses)

  1. “When do you think the Singularity will happen?”

    2100. The previous dates are far too optimistic, and “never” is too pessimistic.

    Posted by: adbatstone80   July 15, 2008
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  2. So… we’ll experience 20,000 years of progress during this century… Ok… We’re almost 10 years into the century, shouldn’t we have experienced, i don’t know, at least 100 of those 20,000 years?

    Posted by: johnfrink   July 15, 2008
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  3. When Stephen Hawking stops and says ‘whoa,’ that should turn some heads.

    Posted by: John Heylin   July 15, 2008
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  4. johnfrink, progress advances exponentially. This means that there’s very little increase during the first decade; more in the second decade; and huge jumps in the latter decades.

    Posted by: futuretalk   July 15, 2008
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  5. Mid 2030s is extremely optimistic but the idea of the Singularity itself is intriguing, as well as the issue of “robot rights” that this article brought up.

    Posted by: fantasywriter   July 15, 2008
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  6. Perhaps right now, it’s still a bit difficult to put that image in my head. There seem to be so many problems in the world right now to deal with first. 2075 for me.

    Posted by: jcchan   July 15, 2008
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  7. So it goes…

    2000-2014: 20 years of progress (at 2000 rates) 2014-2021: Another 20 years 2021-2024: Another 20…and so on

    According to Kurzweil, 100 years of progress will be achieved by the late 2020s.

    That doesn’t mean I agree with him. This “exponential growth of technology” theory is laughable.

    Dick should put down his copy of “Singularity” and start reading Bob Seidensticker’s “Future Hype: The Myths Of Technology Change”.

    Posted by: adbatstone80   July 16, 2008
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  8. I totally agree with Dick. I love reading all his articles and think the singularity will arrive in mid 2030’s. SO Dick by 2010, how many years of growth would we have experienced?

    Posted by: timejumper2020   July 16, 2008
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  9. Technological change is expected to double each decade during the 21st century. The following represents a probable distribution of progress by decade:

    By 2010, we will progress 22.6 years; 2020, 45.3 years; 2030, 90.6; 2040, 181.25; 2050, 362.5; 2060, 625; 2070, 1,250; 2080, 2,500; 2090, 5,000; 2100, 10,000. Total years of progress during the 21st century = 20,000 as compared to the rate of progress experienced in 2000.

    Comments welcome.

    Posted by: futuretalk   July 16, 2008
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  10. “By 2010, we will progress 22.6 years; 2020, 45.3 years; 2030, 90.6; 2040, 181.25; 2050, 362.5; 2060, 625; 2070, 1,250; 2080, 2,500; 2090, 5,000; 2100, 10,000. Total years of progress during the 21st century = 20,000 as compared to the rate of progress experienced in 2000.”

    I don’t think technological progress has progressed much from 2000 rates at all. I say we’ve made exactly 8.7 years of progress at 2000 rates.

    Posted by: adbatstone80   July 16, 2008
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  11. I see it a little more positive. Since 2000, we’ve entered into 48 clinical trials with nanotech cancer-fighting products. And look at how the Web has grown. UTube, Facebook, and others have created zillions of followers. Maybe I’m just a glass half full guy?

    Posted by: futuretalk   July 16, 2008
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  12. Here are the 48 clinical trials with cancer-fighting nanoparticles.

    Posted by: futuretalk   July 16, 2008
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