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New Scientist: The Singularity is unlikely

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From Toby Walsh at New Scientist:

In December 2014, Stephen Hawking told the BBC that “the development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race… It would take off on its own, and redesign itself at an ever increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.” Last year, he followed that up by saying that AI is likely “either the best or worst thing ever to happen to humanity”.More.

You’d have to pay to find out why Walsh thinks it won’t happen (paywall) . Some of us think it won’t happen because other things will happen first.

It’s one thing to want a robotic snow shovel but consider, for example, the robotic cat, via Dave Lee at BBC:

I bumped into Dr Takanori Shibata, Paro’s creator at the recent CES tech show in Las Vegas. He welcomed Hasbro’s efforts, but said the cat was “just a toy”.

Paro is in use around the world, including within Britain’s NHS. Discussions taking place later this year will look at expanding the number of Paros in UK hospitals and care homes.

And that’s because people are seeing real benefits from cuddling up to robotic companion pets – a sense of empowerment. For people who are being cared for 24 hours a day, being able to care for something themselves is invigorating. More.

Except that the robotic cat isn’t real, which pretty much eliminates the objective reality of caring for a live being. And legal euthanasia is happening much faster than the robotic cat.

Yes, there are people who want robotic lovers and children out there too but they are best left to themselves—and they will be.

See also: Claim: Humanity and AI inseparable by 2021 Most apocalypses actually can’t happen because they are competitive. Subtractive, not additive. The TED talks will, however, assuredly happen.

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