Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Singularity is Near :)

The idea of technological singularity is roughly a state in the future when machines are smarter than humans, which in turn sets the stage for them to make even smarter machines etc. I understand that there are a bunch of people who think Singularity is exceedingly near with Ray Kurzweil’s The Singularity Is Near arguing that it is likely to be attained by 2045!!! Elizer Yudowsky's posts on http://www.overcomingbias.com/ have a similar theme too!

Most of their arguments for the singularity being near have to do with the highly super-linear impact of a lot of technology which tend to build on one another etc. I would like to add a new argument borrowed from the movie, idiocracy!

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1597642154209383351&ei=F_xzSeTeB564qAP-3pmzBA&q=idiocracy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idiocracy

Idiocracy makes that point that the last 50-100 years have been a turning point in the history of human evolution. While higher intelligence caused better survival and reproductive success for several million years, in the last few decades number of surviving offspring is undoubtedly negatively correlated with intelligence in most societies. The movie is a hilarious take on a society 500 years hence wherein society has undergone a heavy dumbing down both for the aforesaid genetic reasons, and also since popular culture heavily discourages activities that involve usage of intelligence.

So here is my two cents from a discussion with Jonathan. One more reason to believe that the singularity is near is that humans are getting dumber and consequently the machines could cross human intelligence (aka. Turing's test), simply as a result of humans getting dumber. :P

39 comments:

JP said...

Here's my two cents so we now this discussion can be worth 4 :) .... I have thought briefly about scientists or other people believing that machines can ever be intelligence... and frankly never for a second could digest how you can call machines, which are nothing but instruction sets, 'intelligence' (The other extreme that humans are also 'instruction sets' is still appears non-refutable through scientific arguments).... But irrspectve of the truth, I feel that unless some sense is brought into minds of ppl - human intelligence will degrade/diminish to such levels that they 'believe' that machines are intelligent :)

JP said...

Actually VK... missed the Turing test part... in that sense, essentially ended up saying the same thing as you :)

Nitesh said...

Nice video dude...

Bridget Jones said...

I just started reading "The Singularity is Near", it seems interesting for sure ! Maybe we can talk about it when I get done with it :)

The video was extremely cooL - made me want to watch the movie...

But if you think of singularity as a place where humans and computers "merge" to get the best of both worlds... where would idiocracy fit in?

P.S. : Have you read http://dilbert.com/blog/entry/definition_of_life/ ?

Vijay Krishnan said...

@Kriti:

Let me know how Ray's book is once you are done.
Yeah, Idiocracy is quite a nice watch! I am sure you should find it online somewhere. Apparently it wasn't even released in theaters in a big way.

I don't follow the dilbert blogs though I do follow the comic strips every now and then. I am guessing the blog is a nice read too? Some articles by scott were certainly nice, and his books are quite nice too. They all involve some kind of satirical reflections on the workplace, society etc. interleaved with appropriate cartoon strips.

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