Technological Singularity

sam laurie sslaurie at gate.net
Sat Jun 6 19:47:55 EST 1998


Arthur T. Murray wrote:
> 
> After several hours of programming Mind.forth I escape to the
> Usenet for relaxation and find this gem of a post by Bill Moyer:
> 
> > [...] seebs at plethora.net (Peter Seebach) writes:  [...]
> >> Arthur T. Murray <uj797 at victoria.tc.ca> wrote:
> >> Engineers of Mitsubishi, of Daewoo, and of the Weng Zhen economy,
> >> please make a humanistic and Chardinesque way to the Singularity.
> >>
> >> Can anyone figure out what this means?  [ Sorry; SHEN Zhen -- ATM ]
> 
> >   Arthur is referring to what Vernor Vinge dubbed the "Technological
> > Singularity", which can be generally described as the point in time
> > at which a technological innovation either renders mankind incapable
> > of controlling their environment, or at least exerts an irresistable
> > force on humanity.
> 
> > Vinge wrote an article about the TS .. my copy is at:
> > http://www.shinma.org/ttk/vinge.html
> 
> >   His article tends to run pretty strong in the rhetoric..  I've
> > been meaning to write up my own take on the TS ever since I attended
> > one of his TS seminars a couple of years ago, but I haven't had the
> > time.
> 
> >   Some examples of scenarios which would constitute the Singularity:
> 
> >  * The grey goo scenario -- [ Read Bill Moyer's post.]
> >  * The outbreak scenario -- [ Read Bill Moyer's post.]
> >  * The Homo Superior scenario -- [ Bill Moyer's post.]
> >  * The Borg scenario --     [ Read Bill Moyer's post.]
> >  * The Frankenstein scenario --  [ Bill Moyer's post.]
> 
> > I gather that Arthur is referring to the Frankenstein scenario,
> > and that he is asking that whoever makes the vital innovation would
> > do so in a way that assures that the superintelligent AI is benign
> > towards humanity. [...] Even by very conservative estimates, it is
> > likely that we will have the technology necessary for implementing
> > any one of the scenarios I outlined here in no more than 20 years,
> > possibly less.  (My own pet figure is 12 years, but that's more of
> > a back-of-the-envelope number based on blind projection of Moore's
> > Law than anything supported with hard evidence.)
> 
>   Arthur here -- my own not-so-pet figure is three months, because
>   that's how long a leave of absence I have taken in order to write
> <a href="http://victoria.tc.ca/~uj797/aisource.html"> Mind.forth </a>.
> 
> >  -- Bill Moyer
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>



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