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Old 10-23-2013, 03:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default The Singularity

Nubblies needs a dedicated Singularity thread.

Some time ago on Nubblies, I responded to a post about Ray Kurzweil (I think it was Repug) in the vein of "Yeah, interesting stuff, but I think he's way too optimistic, though". I had done some minimal research at the time, but with hindsight I see that I basically just wanted to sound smart. I hadn't done enough research in order to properly justify an opinion on the matter.

The point is, I have changed my mind. I have progressively been gaining much interest in the Singularity, and am currently reading Kurzweil's book The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence and I am realizing more and more that this is probably going to happen eventually (If it already hasn't happened.)


The thing about the Singularity is that it's not just an "interest" right now -- as far as I'm concerned, it's a priority. It was a line from the Singularity Wikipedia article.

Quote:
The technological singularity, or simply the singularity, is a theoretical moment in time when artificial intelligence will have progressed to the point of a greater-than-human intelligence that will "radically change human civilization, and perhaps even human nature itself."[1] Since the capabilities of such an intelligence may be difficult for an unaided human mind to comprehend, the technological singularity is often seen as an occurrence (akin to a gravitational singularity) beyond which—from the perspective of the present—the future course of human history is unpredictable or even unfathomable.

The Singularity is defined differently depending on the source, but overall it seems to revolve around the basic idea of:

Humans create machines that have gained sentience and are more intelligent than their creators. That is to say, a complex organization of matter that we call "biology" has produced a separate complex organization of matter which we call "technology", and the latter is more efficient at data processing and analysis.


By all accounts, at some point during the Singularity...events will no longer be able to be predicted in real time. Beyond this future potentiality, we have machines several orders of magnitude more intelligent than the smartest human being who ever lived creating machine who will create more intelligent machines, and on and on, because -- why not?

Is it possible?
Is it eventual?
Can we stop it?
Should we?
Will we be prepared?
Can we?

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Old 10-23-2013, 03:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Lesswrong.org is a website dedicated to human rationality, thus integral to future AI development. I have been reading it whenever I get to chance to try to catch up to the regularly-posting members, but a lot of it is currently over my head.

The site was founded by Eliezer Yudkowsky, who has no formal education and is currently a researcher for Machine Intelligence Research Institute, formerly the Singularity Institute.

It is a great website for anyone who is interested in analyzing themselves and attempting to correct any cognitive biases that they may have. Obviously, there are limits here.

Quote:
While you can be definitively wrong, you cannot be definitely right. The best anyone can do is constantly to review the evidence and to keep improving and updating their knowledge.

~ George Monbiot


Here are a few articles I recommend to get started on:

Generalizing From One Example - Less Wrong

Think Like Reality - Less Wrong

The map is not the territory - Lesswrongwiki
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Old 10-23-2013, 04:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Does the concept of a human soul conflict with the singularity?


The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.
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Old 10-23-2013, 05:22 PM   #4 (permalink)
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It depends on the definition of the soul, really. Different religions and spiritual movements have different definitions on what the soul is and how it relates to how we are "supposed" to live our lives.

It also depends on which aspect of the Singularity we are talking about. For example, when it comes to creating new "consciousness" (if that is possible, and there are many who believe it is not), are we creating a soul? Or will they be "missing" something? (An important question to answer first would be whether or not animals have souls? What about animal clones?)

On the issue of transferring human consciousness into machines, things get a bit trickier. For those of you who are fans of Star Trek: TNG, you'll remember that Riker accidentally clones himself in the transporter, in effect creating two Rikers. Is the original Riker's soul now divided, copied, or did it ever exist in the first place? Could a soul potentially transfer the body (or machine) it inhabits?

Do souls have a preference for biology?


That's what is so fascinating to me about the entire concept. From a philosophical standpoint, there are so many incredibly interesting rabbit-holes and each one leads to a new question of ethics, morality, and human responsibility.

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Old 10-23-2013, 05:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Coincidentally, I saw a related post earlier today: IEET Audience Split on Personal Identity

Also related: http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/t...n-of-the-self2
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Old 10-23-2013, 08:25 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Is it possible?
yes
Is it eventual?
no, because someone could stop it
Can we stop it?
yes, one of the simplest methods would be to commit mass suicide/murder. nuke earth.
Should we?
no
Will we be prepared?
you have to define prepared
Can we?
wat?

#YOLO
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Old 10-24-2013, 01:14 AM   #7 (permalink)
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The singularity is already happening. Humans are being integrated by technology. It's a manifestation of us, not a separate thing.

What do you mean by events will no longer be able to be predicted in real time?
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Old 10-24-2013, 10:36 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Future of the human race not good enough?
Glad to see you found Less Wrong and IEET.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Blonde View Post
a lot of it is currently over my head.
Yeah, it's going to take me a long time to become comfortable with the transhumanist vocabulary, hopefully Nubblies can help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ugly Bastard View Post
The singularity is already happening. Humans are being integrated by technology. It's a manifestation of us, not a separate thing.
I think there is a difference between integrating with technology and Kurzweil's Singularity, interested in what you mean by manifestation instead of seperate, you were tweeter friends with Michael Anissimov for a while right? how did you find him?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Blonde View Post

Humans create machines that have gained sentience and are more intelligent than their creators.
I don't think this can happen, binding problem/hard problem of conciousness may mean that the best we can get is a Philosophical zombie - Lesswrongwiki

Link dump,
The Biointelligence Explosion
The Reproductive Revolution: selection pressure in a Post-Darwinian World
Supersentience


You Might Never Upload Your Brain Into a Computer

And the mother site:
The Hedonistic Imperative

Edit : more dumps, Adam Ford interviews a lot of the transhumanists
Adam Ford - YouTube
Colin Hales - Being & Consciousness is a good talk, I want to know more about AGI/AI

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Old 10-24-2013, 12:38 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dent View Post
I think there is a difference between integrating with technology and Kurzweil's Singularity, interested in what you mean by manifestation instead of seperate, you were tweeter friends with Michael Anissimov for a while right? how did you find him?
Was pretty high when I said that Dent so not sure what I meant but I think I just mean that technology is us not a separate thing to be feared but a thing we control.

Also, not sure about Anissimov. I'm not following him so I've unfollowed him if I ever was but don't remember ever following him.
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Old 10-24-2013, 06:21 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Yeah i'm getting confused.
(edit : it's http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Ptolemy that i'm thinking of.)
I don't think a Paperclip maximizer is a likely scenario.
superhappiness, superlongevity and superintelligence are the goals, but is it via mind uploading AI or biological?


Quote:
Originally Posted by The Biointelligence Explosion
So we may distinguish two radically different conceptions of posthuman superintelligence: on one hand, our supersentient, cybernetically enhanced, genetically rewritten biological descendants, on the other, nonbiological superintelligence, either a Kurzweilian ecosystem or singleton Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) as foretold by the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence (SIAI). Such a divide doesn't reflect a clean contrast between "natural" and "artificial" intelligence, the biological and the nonbiological. This contrast may prove another false dichotomy. Transhuman biology will increasingly become synthetic biology as genetic enhancement plus cyborgisation proceeds apace. "Cyborgisation" is a barbarous term to describe an invisible and potentially life-enriching symbiosis of biological sentience with artificial intelligence. Thus "narrow-spectrum" digital superintelligence on web-enabled chips can be more-or-less seamlessly integrated into our genetically enhanced bodies and brains. Seemingly limitless formal knowledge can be delivered on tap to supersentient organic wetware, i.e. us. Critically, transhumans can exploit what is misleadingly known as "narrow" or "weak" AI to enhance our own code in a positive feedback loop of mutual enhancement - first plugging in data and running multiple computer simulations, then tweaking and re-simulating once more. In short, biological humanity won't just be the spectator and passive consumer of the intelligence explosion, but its driving force.

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Old 10-24-2013, 07:27 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ugly Bastard View Post
The singularity is already happening. Humans are being integrated by technology. It's a manifestation of us, not a separate thing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dent View Post
I think there is a difference between integrating with technology and Kurzweil's Singularity, interested in what you mean by manifestation instead of seperate

Agree with both of your points. Technically speaking (heh), the Singularity seems to have begun the first time a human being used a tool (technology). The Singularity is just one possible outcome of the use of technology, but if biological life is common throughout the universe, then it seems like it would be an eventual step that any evolving species would gravitate towards; Technology could just be a general side-effect of biological life. I suppose there could be species that evolved to be Luddites, though.

UB, I agree that technology is a manifestation of biology. People tend to forget that human beings are not separate from nature, we are nature. Joe Rogan makes this point often. Some look at humanity akin to a tumorous abberration (even though tumors are also natural) that is doing the "wrong things". Technology is no more unnatural than mud hives, nests, dams, etc. One complex organization of matter is using "less complex" organizations of matter to propogate its own survival. So it goes.




Technology appears to be the "child" of the collective species of humanity in a lot of ways. Right now, it's just a lot of objects we have created. If we organize matter in a way to simulate or surpass human consciousness, one might look at technology as an aging and dying father might look on his youthful, strong child -- who he can "live through" beyond his own passing. Interesting to think about, in any case.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ugly Bastard View Post
What do you mean by events will no longer be able to be predicted in real time?
I'm not quite sure I fully understand it either, which is why it creeps me out so much, but in a good, Twilight Zone sort of way. The statement, if it means what I think it does, is fundamentally beyond most human comprehension. Statistics, as humans know the concept of Statistics, might cease to work in the benefit of humanity. New beings will be then be able to collect, analyze, and understand the consequences of variables we can't even fathom.

If one accepts a human being as an organic structure that has the ability to process information from its external environment, using various sensory abilities from evolved organs, one must admit that there are very real limitations to human sensory perception (from which we define and 'understand' all things). It is why we have always invented machines -- machines capable of doing things more efficiently than humans or for doing things that we cannot. Try to think of how different your every day reality would be if humanity had an extra sense --- if you could see ultraviolet or infrared spectrums.

If we are able to create computers capable of thinking, reasoning, (aka data interpretation) far better than humans, what will those machines end up doing? When events are happening too fast for the human brain to keep track of (think of what happens if you miss a day on Reddit or your favorite website), what will become of "us"? The mystery is really what excites me.

This is where transhumanism comes in -- becoming the technology rather than keeping separate, defined lines. Implementing biology with technology might just be the "destiny" of human species.

We might be the Borg.

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Old 10-24-2013, 07:50 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Future of the human race not good enough?
It can always improve. I know what you meant.
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Old 10-24-2013, 08:18 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Just watched this. I'm pretty new to the concept of the binding problem and consciousness in general -- my interest in consciousness, right now, is much more from a psychological point of view --- namely, that it appears every human being experiences a subjectively different reality from the Absolute Reality (if such a thing exists) as well as from the Other, and how their experience of being the protagonist/"hero" of their particular story affects the quality of their own lives and the lives of those they interact with. The fact that most people think that they "should" be the "winner" is an extremely interesting subject to me, having suffered from that mindset most of my life.

How do you, personally, interpret the Binding problem? Can you sum it up so I can become more familiar with the idea?

David said something very interesting in that clip, I had to watch it again to make sure -- did he say that he finds the concept of the Quantum Mind a likely solution to the problem of the coherency of consciousness? If so, that sounds very familiar to some of the concepts I've discovered studying Eastern philosophy.

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Old 10-24-2013, 08:21 PM   #14 (permalink)
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It can always improve. I know what you meant.
You got me.
Joe Rogan did an episode on transhumanism a few months back
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Old 10-24-2013, 08:26 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Last post for the evening: Is your signature a Ship of Theseus reference? Could you see that concept being applied to transhumanism, or is that how you mean for it to be interpreted?
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Old 10-25-2013, 03:17 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quantum computing: the first 540 million years by David Pearce
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Old 10-25-2013, 04:31 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Physicalism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 10-25-2013, 10:06 PM   #18 (permalink)
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#YOLO
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Old 10-26-2013, 08:38 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Old 10-26-2013, 08:42 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Old 10-26-2013, 11:04 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Blonde View Post
How do you, personally, interpret the Binding problem? Can you sum it up so I can become more familiar with the idea?
no


Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Think
The binding problem is when you look at what's happening in the brain, you find there's a division of labor. You have some parts of your brain that care about vision, some about hearing, some about touch. And even within a system, like vision, you have parts that care about colors, parts that care about orientations, parts that care about angles.Clicky And how this all comes together so that you have a unified perception of the world is one of the unsolved mysteries in neuroscience.

Were not aware of that division of labor. Everything seems like its perfectly unified to us. So this is still something were all working on.
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Is it possible?
yes
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Old 10-26-2013, 11:32 AM   #22 (permalink)
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And the most depressing concept in the Universe award goes to..
Quantum Ethics? Suffering In The Multiverse

Quote:
ABSTRACT
The Abolitionist Project outlines how (post)humans will use biotechnology to abolish suffering in all sentient life. Sadly, this utopian-sounding outcome may not be nearly as wonderful as it sounds. Assume a "block-universe" conception of spacetime. The suffering occurring in what we naively call "the past" is as real and unalterable as what we call "the present". Moreover, post-Everett quantum mechanics suggests that Darwinian life abounds elsewhere in the Multiverse. In the vast majority of quasi-classical macroscopic branches in which sentient life arises, no hominid-like creatures will evolve capable of rewriting their own source code and abolishing pain. So "future" suffering persists indefinitely too. Worse, if Linde's chaotic eternal inflation scenario is correct, then the amount of suffering in Reality is increasing exponentially. Its extirpation in any one pocket universe like our own is a purely local phenomenon. The only crumb of comfort to be drawn from this analysis is that the scenarios sketched are all speculative.

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Old 10-26-2013, 06:06 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Last post for the evening: Is your signature a Ship of Theseus reference? Could you see that concept being applied to transhumanism, or is that how you mean for it to be interpreted?
pretty much
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why isn't repug joining in?

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Old 10-27-2013, 11:31 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Old 10-27-2013, 11:32 PM   #25 (permalink)
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