Heart Happy (cathy_edgett) wrote,
Heart Happy
cathy_edgett

Singularity Summit at Stanford -

Now, you might be sitting around worrying about the price of gas or a troublesome co-worker, but there is something much bigger looming on the horizon. Attend the Singularity Summit at Stanford on May 13, and find out what, or read about it here, or get Ray Kurzwell's book "The Singularity is Near." Check it out at http://sss.stanford.edu/

What is the singularity you ask, unless you are Jeff or Chris, who seem quite aware of this, and maybe you are too. Well, here is some information. The following is straight from the web-site. I acknowledge that I do not claim this writing as my own. I don't say I read it once and it entered my unconscious, and now, miraculously, I spilled out exactly what someone else already wrote, and I want to be reimbursed and claim fame. I am not one of those, I hope. So, here we go. You could read this on the web-site. I place it here for your convenience.



"What Is the Singularity? In futures studies, the singularity represents an "event horizon" in the predictability of human technological development past which present models of the future cease to give reliable or accurate answers, following the creation of strong AI or the enhancement of human intelligence. Many futurists predict that after the singularity, humans as they exist presently won't be the driving force in scientific and technological progress, eclipsed cognitively by posthumans, AI, or both, with all models of change based on past trends in human behavior becoming obsolete.

In the 1950’s, the legendary information theorist John von Neumann was paraphrased by science fiction writer Stanislaw Lem as saying that “the ever-accelerating progress of technology…gives the appearance of approaching some essential singularity in the history of the race beyond which human affairs, as we know them, could not continue.”

In 1965, statistician I.J. Good described a concept similar to today's meaning of the singularity, in “Speculations Concerning the First Ultraintelligent Machine”:

Let an ultraintelligent machine be defined as a machine that can far surpass all the intellectual activities of any man however clever. Since the design of machines is one of these intellectual activities, an ultraintelligent machine could design even better machines; there would then unquestionably be an 'intelligence explosion,' and the intelligence of man would be left far behind. Thus the first ultraintelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make.

The concept was solidified by mathematician and computer scientist Vernor Vinge, who wrote about a rapidly approaching “technological singularity” in an article for Omni magazine in 1983 and in a science fiction novel, Marooned in Realtime, in 1986. Seven years later, Vinge presented a paper, "The Coming Technological Singularity," at a NASA-organized symposium. Vinge wrote:

What are the consequences of this event? When greater-than-human intelligence drives progress, that progress will be much more rapid. In fact, there seems no reason why progress itself would not involve the creation of still more intelligent entities – on a still-shorter time scale. The best analogy I see is to the evolutionary past: Animals can adapt to problems and make inventions, but often no faster than natural selection can do its work – the world acts as its own simulator in the case of natural selection. We humans have the ability to internalize the world and conduct what-if's in our heads; we can solve many problems thousands of times faster than natural selection could. Now, by creating the means to execute those simulations at much higher speeds, we are entering a regime as radically different from our human past as we humans are from the lower animals. From the human point of view, this change will be a throwing away of all the previous rules, perhaps in the blink of an eye, an exponential runaway beyond any hope of control.

Most recently, in 2005, inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil released The Singularity Is Near, where he presented the singularity as an overall exponential trend in technological development:

What, then, is the singularity? It's a future period during which the pace of technological change will be so rapid, its impact so deep, that human life will be irreversibly transformed. Although neither utopian or dystopian, this epoch will transform the concepts that we rely on to give meaning to our lives, from our business models to the cycle of human life, including death itself. Understanding the singularity will alter our perspective on the significance of our past and the ramifications for our future. To truly understand it inherently changes one's view of life in general and one's own particular life.

While some regard the singularity as a positive event and work to hasten its arrival, others view the singularity as dangerous, undesirable, or unlikely. The most practical means for initiating the singularity are debated, as are how (or whether) the singularity can be influenced or avoided if dangerous. The Singularity Summit will explore these nuances. We invite you to join us."
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