Documenting the Coming Singularity

Friday, June 08, 2007

Want to Sound Like a Singularity Guru? Learn These Terms

George P. Dvorsky's blog, Sentient Developments, has an excellent list of "Must-Know" terms for the 21st century intelligentsia.

If you like to think of yourself as a knowledgeable person who is comfortable discussing the bleeding-edge developments of his or her day, you need to study this list. Here's a taste:
Artificial General Intelligence: This ain't your daddy's AI. Rather, AGI describes the kind of intelligence that you and I have -- the commonsense knowhow we have when we're put into unfamiliar situations. Once developed, artificial agents endowed with AGI will be non-specialized intelligent entities that will come to represent the bona fide synthetic equivalent to human intelligence, and then move beyond.

Cosmological Eschatology (aka physical eschatology): CE is the study of how the Universe develops, ages, and ultimately comes to an end. While hardly a new concept, what is new is the suggestion that advanced intelligence may play a role in the universe's life cycle. Given the radical potential for postbiological superintelligence, a number of thinkers have suggested that universe engineering is a likely activity for advanced civilizations. This has given rise to a number of theories, including the developmental singularity hypothesis and the selfish biocosm hypothesis.

Friendly AI: If we are going to survive the Singularity and the onset of greater-than-human AI, it had better be friendly. And if it turns out to be friendly, it won't be by accident. Computer science theorists such as Eliezer Yudkowsky and Ben Goertzel are already working on what may ultimately prove to be an intractable problem. A poorly programmed, malevolent, or misguided SAI could destroy all of humanity with a mere thought. Asimov's Three Laws will do little against incomprehensibly powerful autopotent entities (a term coined by Nick Bostrom indicating total self-awareness and ability to self-modify).
You don't want to be totally left behind, do you? Then get cracking!

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