Skip to comments.The Singularity Is Near
Posted on 11/19/2005 11:34:03 AM PST by Momaw Nadon
At the onset of the twenty-first century, humanity stands on the verge of the most transforming and the most thrilling period in its history. It will be an era in which the very nature of what it means to be human will be both enriched and challenged, as our species breaks the shackles of its genetic legacy and achieves inconceivable heights of intelligence, material progress, and longevity.
For over three decades, the great inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil has been one of the most respected and provocative advocates of the role of technology in our future. In his classic The Age of Spiritual Machines, he presented the daring argument that with the ever-accelerating rate of technological change, computers would rival the full range of human intelligence at its best. Now, in The Singularity Is Near, he examines the next step in this inexorable evolutionary process: the union of human and machine, in which the knowledge and skills embedded in our brains will be combined with the vastly greater capacity, speed, and knowledge-sharing ability of our own creations.
That merging is the essence of the Singularity, an era in which our intelligence will become increasingly nonbiological and trillions of times more powerful than it is todaythe dawning of a new civilization that will enable us to transcend our biological limitations and amplify our creativity. In this new world, there will be no clear distinction between human and machine, real reality and virtual reality. We will be able to assume different bodies and take on a range of personae at will. In practical terms, human aging and illness will be reversed; pollution will be stopped; world hunger and poverty will be solved. Nanotechnology will make it possible to create virtually any physical product using inexpensive information processes and will ultimately turn even death into a soluble problem.
While the social and philosophical ramifications of these changes will be profound, and the threats they pose considerable, The Singularity Is Near maintains a radically optimistic view of the future course of human development. As such, it offers a view of the coming age that is both a dramatic culmination of centuries of technological ingenuity and a genuinely inspiring vision of our ultimate destiny.
IMHO, this is the most important book of the new century.
Hmm... I thought when I read the title that it was about a black hole swallowing us up.
Welcome to the Matrix.
I was thinking about a singularity bomb that would make all the worlds nukes look like firecrackers. That would suck.
It all began with the TV remote control ...
No one ever went broke underestimating the (gullibility) of the American Public.
Hopefully this does not extend to animals. For example, if cats were to get smarter and learn to read, we would all be in big trouble.
I've been enjoying Singularity for 6 years now... the ex doesn't even know where I live.
It's called "Let's Play God". Result: hell on earth. Let God be God.
Sounds like a bit of a nutbar to me.
Do we have a pic of Michael Jackson dismantled...
Nah, smart dogs would keep them in line. LOL...
People used those same arguments whenever something new was invented. For example, people would say to the Wright Brothers "If God intended for us to fly, he would have given us wings."
"... and you will be like God," the serpent said.
Be VERY careful.
Science Fiction, meet Reality. (Or vice versa)
There is nothing that can be done. Technology is developing at ever-increasing rates. Accept it.
You notice the borg never took on any lardasses.
Every one of them is in pretty good physical shape. Are the rotund borgs busy watching TV and not able to take part in the assimilation of everything?
Be VERY careful.
If I put a bandaid on a cut, am I playing God?
Was the first caveman to discover fire, or invent the wheel, playing God?
Those huge accomplishments (flight, moon landing, AI chess victory) are small potatoes compared with "humans transcending biology."
I'll believe it when I see it. At that point, the other question that remains will be "why?" Am I really possessed of such boundless megalomania that I want to live forever and know everything? Why would I want to connect my brain to some FutureNet that subsumes my individuality into the singularity of all intelligence and all mankind?
I don't even like my next-door neighbors.
P.S. Kurzweil might just be a major-league stoner.
Good Lord, flashbunny, that's funny! LOL
If you've ever flown Southwest, you might rightfully conclude that "no, God does NOT want us to fly."
Life extension ping!
I don't there is anything to this. I don't see the machines getting up off the sofa to shovel out the snow in the driveway. Nor weeding the garden. Nor fighting a wildfire. Nor, in fact, doing any actual work. Nor even successfully implementing a major long range plan. Of course we don't do that last well at all either.
You are just parsing words here. When we invent a vaccine to cure polio, for example, it can be argued that we are "playing God." After all, can it not be argued that God intended for some of us to contract polio? Why would he create it otherwise? And now, by playing God, we went ahead and upset God's master plan.
Whenever a heart attack patient gets a bypass or a cancer patient gets chemotherapy, we are playing at God. Obviously God had decided that these people were ready to die but us God-playing humans went ahead and circumvented God's plans.
When we invent machines that can fly us through the air or take us to the moon, we are playing at God. When we sentence our criminals to death or incarceration, we are playing at God. And on and on and on.
Now I happen to believe all of that which I just wrote is nonsense. For if God did not intend for us to invent and innovate, he would have given us smaller brains.
You mean what by this exactly? I'm hoping you're not suggesting some luddite jihad against technology.
I am, but I still believe that everyone should live with liberty to fully pursue their happiness, as long as they do not harm others.
Why would I want to connect my brain to some FutureNet that subsumes my individuality into the singularity of all intelligence and all mankind?
I read the entire book. Individuality is very much an option.
Haha! And what about spam? Will I be forced to think about weenie enlargement potions?
Individuality is an option? How generous.
I read that one a couple years ago. There were several threads on it or that referenced it. The best part of the book is the notes that follow the main presentation. It's worth looking at, but it isn't the big book of the century since it has no philosophy. Although it is a big book and very well printed.
Do you mean 'even more than normal?" LOL
Spiritual matters are a whole different arena.
The attempt to pretend that because I am a Christian, I am guaranteed to be anti-science and anti-medicine is specious. Witness the use of this computer and the internet.
Medicine and the creative powers God gave us can be used for good OR evil.
Be VERY careful.
Could you elaborate on this statement?
How do you define "playing God"?
What did God "never intend us [humans] to do"?
And I'm sure you've racked your brain thinking of things that could be done, and after exhaustively thinking about the options for such a long time, you finally concluded that there's no way.
No, you wouldn't just be going on presumption or anything.
You're still not seeing the distinction. This isn't about what God supposedly intended. Playing God is something completely different. Even an atheist would be able to understand the problem with that.
If Resistance is Futile?...Is Futility infinite "Ohms"?
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