The Daily Dot tells us,
Transcendence is based directly on the principle of singularity, the moment when technology surpasses humanity. In fact, Dr. Caster, the film’s protagonist, even states as much in the trailer, asking an audience to, “Imagine a machine with the full range of human emotion. It’s analytical power will be greater than the collective intelligence of every person in the history of the world. Some scientists refer to this as the singularity. I call it Transcendence.”
Before we consider the merits of the principle of singularity, Transcendence has not transcended the laws of the box office. It has tanked under their weight.
Ray Kurzweil’s most famous work, The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology, defines the singularity as, “the union of human and machine, in which the knowledge and skills embedded in our brains will be combined with the vastly greater capacity, speed, and knowledge-sharing ability of our own creations.”
Maybe they had better build the humanchine first, and it can then advise them on producing a film with a better box office.
Speaking of films, Kurzweil’s book was made into a film too.
It’s a curious comment on our times that people who live in places where even public services don’t work as well as they did thirty years ago may think they are heading toward a transcendent singularity (instead of to litter, disorder, chaos, and crime).
See also: How some nerds hope to find eternal life
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12 Replies to “The singularity, as it happens, is not so near after all”
Haven’t read the first two. Enjoyed the last one. It’s Science Fiction
The biggest problem with Singulatarians is that they understand neither intelligence nor consciousness. And these are the things that they write and preach about the most. Their belief in our eventual ability to upload our consciousness to machines and in a possible future robot rebellion can only be described with one word: superstition. They have deluded themselves and others into believing that what they are doing is science but in reality it’s no better than chicken feather voodoo.
Emotion is nener used as a word in the bible.
There are no emotions. There are just thoughts and those that linger are called emotions.
A machine would only ever contain memorized data. tHat is what we do also. however we can manipulate such data. its called wisdom.
machines never have wisdom. only knowledge and that they don’t seek themselves because they have no wisdom.
Wait, is Noam Chomsky telling us that robot communism is not going to happen? Oh well, so much for my retirement strategy.
“My intestines have become boisterous for him. By all means I shall have pity upon him.” (Jer. 31:20). Commenting on this word picture about intestinal agitation, a guide for Bible translators explains: “For the Jews the interior of the body was the center for emotions.”
“Emotion” might not be found in the languages used in the Bible, but it is silly to think that the Bible doesn’t recognize emotions as being more than thoughts. Anxiety, compassion, depression, empathy, fear, grief, and happiness are all emotions described in the Bible, often by the people experiencing them.
A machine would only ever contain memorized data.
Programming codes aren’t the same thing as memories.
tHat is what we do also. however we can manipulate such data. its called wisdom.
Wisdom is the putting of knowledge to practical use.
machines never have wisdom.
Tell that to Skynet.
only knowledge and that they don’t seek themselves because they have no wisdom.
They might not have wisdom in the human sense, but surely AI computers have the capacity to learn. What about Deep Blue? The potential is there, but whether or not AI functions as well as the human brain does is yet to be seen.
Yes, the Bible is full of words that describe emotions.
The idea of a singularity event in the field of AI and machine awareness is in large part based on the ideas of emergent properties of systems. Whilst the idea of emergent properties is interesting, I often feel that its scope and importance is over stated by people.
A good example of “emergent” behaviour was the work carried out by Stephen Wolfram on cellular automatons. What he showed was that simple rules can give rise to complex non-repeating patterns. However, the emerging patterns are only recognisable because humans were able to see them, so in this sense they don’t really “exist”. They can be best described as static non-interacting manifestations that don’t do anything interesting and are ultimately sub-ordinate to the rules that the system is built upon.
The type of emergent property that is mandated by the “singularity” event in the field of machine intelligence would be something that is able not only to manifest in some way but also be able to interact with the underlying system, whilst simultaneously transcending it and maintaining it’s own “identity”. This seems to be highly speculative and without much empirical support.
Aside from the above, the idea of Christopher Nolan directing a movie on a topic of this nature has me salivating at the mouth!
How do humans think anyways? In what patterns?
That is a good question. We don’t have an adequate model of how thinking works inside the human brain, so it amazes me how some people can be so confident that it’s just a question of the “type” and “complexity” of computation that will ultimatley lead to the singularity event within computers that will allow them to rival and surpass their human counterparts.
Roger Penrose provides some good lectures with some very nice examples of why mathematical understanding and truth are beyond computation (i.e. Turing machine). He argues that if mathematical understanding (a narrow branch of “understanding” in general) is beyond computation, then it is reasonable to assume that “understanding” as a whole is as well. Both understanding and truh must be pivotal to the process of “thinking” so we can draw some fairly important conclusions from that fact alone.
We need something new and it’s best just to accept that, rather than grope around in the dark and hope for these singularity events that don’t have any emprical support, but just the hopes and aspirations of those with a metaphysical leaning to consign the human mind to a glorified computer.
The AI fraternity, both strong and weak variants are uttely misguided in their vain hopes and the sooner they realise this the better.
So, you would affirm that, consciousness requires more than just computations and algorithms if your going to try and recreate it artificially.
Speaking of which, how is the AI field doing? I heard that, even if consciousness was an emergent property of matter, that to recreate it would require some inspiration from organic components or quantum something or other.
Also, what do you think of prosthetic arms that respond to nerve signals from an amputee’s stump and how do you think such a thing related to transhumanism and this whole singularity thing.
Firstly, I would like to apologise for not getting back to you sooner. I have been a little busy at work and was unable to find some time.
Yes that is exactly what I am saying. We will no doubt continue to make computers do intelligent things and maybe some day they might come close to rival what humans do, but they will still be no different conceptually to my pocket calculator, without any awareness or understanding, if they continue to work on the basic principles of Turing machine computations.
The AI field continues to flourish by making machines do clever things. You might want to make some searches on Google and see for yourself. However as I have pointed out above, conceptually even the most clever algorithms, such as those that are able to parse (to some extent) natural language are conceptually no different to the simple “hello world” program. I think organic integration with synthetic machines could be interesting but my main interest is in the field of quantum computing where we might see some interesting results. The “Orch R” model that entails quantum effects is a very interesting model that you might want to read up on.
I am not an expert in this field, but I would comment that interfacing prosthetic arms to living human tissue and nerves, whilst a monumental achievement in of itself, does very little to further our understanding of consciousness. IMO all it will do is improve the quality of life of humans and maybe improve the field of advanced robotics, but in both cases would not shed any light on the underlying basis of how consciousness works. What we need is a proper detailed theoritical basis for consciousness, with testable models and predictions that can be investigated. We are only scratching the surface.
I’m not sure it would happen so soon, but it is certain that technology is advancing rapidly. Some believe that machines will be smarter and more intelligent than humans. The human race is definitely unstable – produce devastating machines, lead wars, moral values have been lost long time ago. Louis A. Del Monte may be right when he says that machines will perceive us in the same way as we now perceive harmful insects and animals. Just like in this comic