Skip to comments.Kurzweil featured on new syndicated radio show "Science Fantastic" hosted by Michio Kaku
Posted on 04/14/2006 6:50:53 AM PDT by Neville72
Ray Kurzweil will be the first guest on theoretical physicist Dr. Michio Kaku's new ("Science Fantastic") radio show, which debuts on about 90 commercial radio stations nationwide Saturday April 15 at 5:00 - 8:00 p.m., Eastern, 2:00 - 5:00 p.m. Pacific. The show is syndicated on Talk Radio Network.
Kaku, the co-founder of string field theory, holds the Henry Semat Chair in Theoretical Physics at the City Univ. of New York and is the author of two international best-sellers, Hyperspace and Visions: How Science Will Revolutionize the 21st Century, and Parallel Worlds.
The interview covers the Singularity, merger with intelligent machines, radical life extention, and other topics related to Kurzweil's The Singularity Is Near book.
Someone correct me if I am wrong, but didn Sci-Fi writer Vernor Vinge come up with that idea, well if not the idea, the name "Singularity" and the current popularity of it? I've read about this for quite some time, and I am assuming its the same thing.
"Someone correct me if I am wrong, but didn Sci-Fi writer Vernor Vinge come up with that idea, well if not the idea, the name "Singularity"
You would be correct about that.
Pick up Kurzweil's book at your local library or bookstore. It's a great read with lots and lots of mind-boggling implications.
Once credible people getting into the Art Bell market.
You must not have read Kurzweil's new book. If you had no "Art Bell" reference would have eminated from your keyboard.
Are you promoting his book here on FR?
He helped originate the concept of technological singularity (describing the point beyond which human modelling cannot predict or explain things), but the term "singularity" is a standard scientific term for places or circumstances where normal scientific laws cannot explain the operations and behaviors at that place or condition. For example, superconductivity is an example of singularity, as is a black hole. So, AFAIK, in this case he simply applied an already existing term to a particular type of unknown.
"Are you promoting his book here on FR?"
Nope. Just making an editorial comment on a fascinating and stimulating read.
What are the important events in my life? Well, as time goes on, the significance of any given event decreases. Hence, for any past time period, the density of "significant events" over that period will decrease as time marches away from that period. It's not that the events have changed, it's that our judgment is myopic.
Look at the second entry: "Eukaryotic cells, multicellular organisms". Is that an "event"? There are a huge number of absolutely critical developments lumped in there, and who knows when they occurred? When and how did mitochondria develop? How did the Krebs cycle arise? When and how did ribosomes develop? When and how did chloroplasts develop? (I could go on for a long while.) All of these were critical events in the history and expansion of life on Earth, but from the perspective of a billion years or more, it all gets lumped into a single development, "the cell".
The fact that those things fall on a straight line (just below 1 year per year) reflects human psychology, and not anything intrinsic about the nature of reality. We ask ourselves, "what was the most important event in the last two billion years", and then "what was the most important event in the last billion years", and then "what was the most important event in the last half-billion years", etc., up to "what was the most important event this week" (my wife made a really good meatloaf), and those events qualify for inclusion.
That said, I do believe that the pace of technological development is increasing exponentially. Unlike that graph, Moore's Law really is an objective measure.
I forgot to finish that thought. If I were to make a list of them, they'd be likely to fall along that same line. But that would remain true all through my life: the listed events would just change. Close to the time my kids were born, I'd have listed their births individually. Decades from now, they might get compressed into "my kids were born". At age 18, high school graduation loomed as a critically important thing; from my perspective at age 41, it's just another marker of normal development, like puberty.
The chart has no objective meaning.
PZ Myers (the raving far-left moonbat in charge of the biologically-sound but politically idiotic Pharyngula blog) hated it, which is good enough for me.
Well maybe at first glance. But in fact the Log-Log chart simply reflects that progress in technology is accelerating. While you can argue that different choices in the selection of events would yield a different curve the reality is that it wouldn't. In fact Kurzweil shows a similar chart in his book where there were several independent selection of events and they all pretty much follow the same curve.
The message: Things they are a changing and they are changing faster and faster.
True, but the big question is when do the reach the intercept point...
Great, it's entertainment, and so is Art Bell. The wonders of exponential growth, and technology have been known for a long time. I think Kurzweil is turning it into a sideshow. He strikes me as an egotistical carnival barker. Isn't he selling his own brand of vitamins now?
I often think about where human knowledge and technology will be 100, 1000, or even one million years from now. It's an awesome thought. Just don't get too caught up in the hype of someone who is only doing it in his own self interest.
While it may be true that progress in technology is accelerating, what do any of the data points at or before the one labeled "Homo sapiens sapiens" have to do with progress in technology?
The reason the chart has no objective meaning is that "Event" is unspecified.
Well I suppose that's true in the case of this posting but it is not true of the chart in the book.
The author makes the point that the actual "events" that are selected are not that important. You can pick any set of events that you like that represents significant milestones in terms of the advance of technology. His point is that these events or milestones are coming faster and faster.
Example: How many years did it take for us to go from kites to balloons to gliders to gliders that would a carry a man to a plane that was self powered to a man on the moon. Chart those events and you will see that progress accelerates. That is the point of the chart.
See, this is is what I mean. If there is no rule selecting the events then the chart of those events has no objective meaning. It is an exercise in rhetoric or propaganda because the events can be selected to match the desired chart.
You should really have a look at the book. The point is that you can pick any set of events you like and you always get the same curve. That is not because there is no objective meaning - it is because technology accelerates, it grows exponentially rather than linearly. That is the point. He's describing the Moore's Law of Technology.
OK, I pick the events called out in the History section of this article on clocks. The data points are these
|Years ago||Years delta||Event|
|830||74||Sens Cathedral installed a horologe|
|756||184||earliest reasonably accurate clocks|
|572||223||first self-striking clock|
Here are the points for log-log plot
If you plot them you don't get a line. Instead it starts out curved then hooks up and then back down. I wish I could post it somehow.
Do you get the point now?
Note: this topic is from 4/14/2006. Thanks Neville72.