Technological Singularity

Richard davri06-spam at cai.com
Tue Jun 9 05:28:37 EST 1998

On 8 Jun 1998 13:37:46 GMT, patrick at gryphon.psych.ox.ac.uk (Patrick
Juola) wrote:

>For example, one of the hard problems (towards which large steps have
>been taken, but which has not been solved) is the identify-friend-or-foe
>(IFF) problem.  In a nutshell, "friendly fire isn't" -- and you don't
>want to shoot at your friends.  So it would be useful to install cutouts
>on your weapons so that you don't shoot friendlies by mistake.  And if
>the cutouts worked, then you don't need to detail as many men to sentry
>duty; a bunch of automated machine guns could be set up to shoot at
>any hostiles crossing an area.  This makes this whole "Halt! Who goes
>there?  Pass, friend!" schtick a thing of the past -- or would make it
>if the IFF stuff worked.
>The military does *NOT* want mindless order-following machines; they
>want machines that follow orders when given and otherwise do something
>"intelligent."  Hence the interest in AI.
>	-kitten

So if I stole one of the "friendly" trucks.. I could happily drive
past your AI machine guns and blow up your base.. Sounds like a
distinctly tricky problem which is probably why it hasn't been solved

As for the singularity issues it would seem that the main point is the
subservience or partial / total aniahlation of the human race (as we
know it)

yes we as human animals have evolved and developed into very complex
beings.. No more complex on a biological or physical level than other
animals in fact quite a lot LESS complex than some organisms..

But we have developed a mental state and social capacity that has put
us in better control of our environment.. What we dont seem to be able
to do that well is control that environment WELL..

It is the human hunger for knowledge that will lead ( if it happens )
to the singularity. If we develope some technology with its own
cognitive and reproductive capacity then regardless of whether it is
nanotech, biological, mechanical, technological, AI or any combination
of these.. Surely it will be at the same mercy of our control as the
elements of our environment are..

We live and breath in our environment everyday but we have not
mastered it to the point of being able to find a cure for pollution or
global warming..

History has shown us that we have a great capacity for working things
out and finding new and better explanations of the world around us..
We use this knowledge to advance inventions and new technologies..

The invention of the car was heralded as one of mans greatest
achievements of the day.. But it has left us a legacy of pollution and
increased illness in children.. Allthough no one could be said to be
subservient to a car surely it is still having a direct and profound
impact on human life.. 

Surely the concept of the singularity is not about the discovery of a
technology or the development of it.. But it is the use and ultimate
control we have over it and its use..

Einstein wept when hiroshima was bombed he had theorised the theory of
relativity as a neat way to end up older than your parents and get
your own back ( twins paradox ).. Its was not the technology that
caused the devastation and fear of the nuclear age but the use of the

As has been mentioned elsewhere in this thread.. The millitary always
seems to have its hands in the best technology and therefore the new
ideas and discoveries are bound to be used for militaristic purposes..

We are all responsible for what we know and learn.. It is an
unfortunate fact of human development that what people are responsible
for knowing they do not always accept the same level of responsibility
for the use of what they know...

A singularity could happen, it could be happening, it could have
happened allready but we just haven't noticed yet..

We can allready see a 2 tier society forming between people who
understand the technology and those who do not.. 

We should look to the industrial revolution for lessons..

I have said enough.. I am not a fully qualified AI guru.. nor am I a
historian.. I just believe that knowledge is a tool and like any tool
in the wrong hands it can do considerable damage..

It seemed to me a superlative thing,
To know the explanation of everything,
Why it comes to be, why it perishes, why it is.

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