Documenting the Coming Singularity

Monday, October 20, 2014

What's Coming - The Genuine Cyborgs

The Telegraph - 10.20.14 by Arthur House

Forget wearable tech. The pioneers of our “post-human” future are implanting technology in to their bodies and brains. Should we stop them or join them?
Ian Burkhart concentrated hard. A thick cable protruded from the crown of his shaven head. A sleeve sprouting wires enveloped his right arm. The 23 - year-old had been paralysed from the neck down since a diving accident four years ago. But, in June this year, in a crowded room in the Wexner Medical Centre at Ohio State University, Burkhart’s hand spasmed into life.

At first it opened slowly and shakily, as though uncertain who its owner was. But when Burkhart engaged his wrist muscles, its upward movement was sudden and decisive. You could hear the joints – unused for years - cracking. The scientists and medical staff gathered in the room burst into applause.

The technology that made this possible, Neurobridge, had successfully reconnected Burkhart’s brain with his body. It was probably the most advanced intertwining of man and machine that had so far been achieved.

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Genetic Engineering Will Produce Super-Intelligent Humans?

Nautilus - 10.16.14 by Stephen Hsu

Genetic engineering will one day create the smartest humans who have ever lived.
Lev Landau, a Nobelist and one of the fathers of a great school of Soviet physics, had a logarithmic scale for ranking theorists, from 1 to 5. A physicist in the first class had ten times the impact of someone in the second class, and so on. He modestly ranked himself as 2.5 until late in life, when he became a 2. In the first class were Heisenberg, Bohr, and Dirac among a few others. Einstein was a 0.5!

My friends in the humanities, or other areas of science like biology, are astonished and disturbed that physicists and mathematicians (substitute the polymathic von Neumann for Einstein) might think in this essentially hierarchical way. Apparently, differences in ability are not manifested so clearly in those fields. But I find Landau’s scheme appropriate: There are many physicists whose contributions I cannot imagine having made.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Computers May Delete You Like Spam

c|net - 10.08.14 by Steven Musil

"If its [function] is just something like getting rid of e-mail spam and it determines the best way of getting rid of spam is getting rid of humans . . . "
Elon Musk has made no secret of his worries about the possible destructive power of artificial intelligence.

The billionaire chief executive of SpaceX and Tesla Motors may be a techno-optimist when it comes to solar power, space exploration and electric cars, but he continues to express his concerns that super-intelligent machines might one day pose a threat to human existence.

During an on-stage conversation Wednesday at Vanity Fair's New Establishment Summit in San Francisco, Musk voiced concern that people did not recognize how quickly AI is progressing and its potential destructive effect.

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Tuesday, October 07, 2014

One-Third of All Jobs Will Go to Robots or Software by 2025

COMPUTERWORLD - 10.03.14 by Patrick Thibodeau

"Gartner predicts one in three jobs will be converted to software, robots and smart machines by 2025," said Sondergaard. "New digital businesses require less labor; machines will be make sense of data faster than humans can."
ORLANDO - Gartner sees things like robots and drones replacing a third of all workers by 2025, and whether you want to believe it or not, is entirely your business.

This is Gartner being provocative, as it typically is, at the start of its major U.S. conference, the Symposium/ITxpo.

Take drones, for instance.

"One day, a drone may be your eyes and ears," said Peter Sondergaard, Gartner's research director. In five years, drones will be a standard part of operations in many industries, used in agriculture, geographical surveys and oil and gas pipeline inspections.

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Saturday, September 27, 2014

5 Possible Paths to Superintelligent Machines

The Conversation - 09.25.14 by Nick Bostrom

Exactly how we will get there is also still shrouded in mystery. There are several paths of development that should get there eventually, but we don’t know which of them will get there first.
Biological brains are unlikely to be the final stage of intelligence. Machines already have superhuman strength, speed and stamina – and one day they will have superhuman intelligence. The only reasons this may not occur is if we develop some other dangerous technology first that destroys us, or otherwise fall victim to some existential risk.

But assuming that scientific and technological progress continues, human-level machine intelligence is very likely to be developed. And shortly thereafter, superintelligence.


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