Documenting the Coming Singularity

Monday, October 08, 2007

Predicting the Path to AI

As they say, hindsight has perfect vision. It is a simple matter to look back after an event takes place and recreate the path of steps that led up to that event. It is much more difficult to see that path in advance. When AI is born, assuming that such an event would be immediately apparent, and assuming that it has not yet occurred, what path will it have taken? Will cloud computing and data centers turn out to have been a crucial fork in the road?

IBM and Google have announced a joint initiative to build large data centers that will allow students and researchers to participate in remote "cloud computing," at term that refers to the combined use of thousands of processors, vast libraries of data, and specialized software that "scour the Web and other data sources in seconds or minutes for patterns and insights."

As these cloud computing centers are created and more and more resources are injected into their ever-increasing capacities, will a crucial threshold be attained? It has been theorized that consciousness is an inevitable outcome when a sufficient degree of processing complexity is reached. Are we on a path to the inevitable emergence of a conscious Internet? If this is indeed what happens, remember where you heard it first. Stay tuned.

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