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Old November 28 2012, 09:29 PM   #209
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Re: What are your top 5 technologies of the next 15 years?

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
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newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Which doesn't change the fact that it is a religious faith-based worldview. The meaningful element here is that you have already internalized your articles of faith:
- The Singularity is coming
- The Singularity will be a good thing
- Those who believe in the singularity will be the first to benefit from it.

The rest of this is you RATIONALIZING what you've already decided to believe. Several times, you attempted to claim that it's not irrational because it doesn't appeal to the supernatural. That is a distinction without a difference; just because you've replaced the Book of Revelations with Ghost in the Shell doesn't make your worldview any less faith-based.
Well of course, this is untrue in general, there is, as always a subculture in almost any belief/endeavor that may believe such things, and as I point out fairly frequently there is enough support to show that the conditions and developments needed are actually happening all the time around us.
Correction: there is plenty to to show that the conditions and developments needed are well within the reach of humanity. To use a concrete example: you once cited an iPhone based electronic guitar pick as evidence for small startup companies being able to develop new mobile software without huge overhead. While I am not sure what you believed that proves, it wouldn't really demonstrate much for Singularity theory unless that particular company/invention had been developed by some ambitious peasants in Kenya using only their $40 tablets and a kickstarter account. As it stands, it was developed by IIRC a couple of grad students from California; SSDD.

What you've pointed out, in other words, is ordinary technological progress. But the singularity isn't purely about technology, because it's supposed to be a realized EVENT, not a realized POTENTIAL. Put simply, we're not making equivalent SOCIAL progress to bring that about, especially in the developing world where hyper conservative dictatorships continue to hold sway and where centuries-old ethnic/religious/political rivalries continue to cause wars and upheavals.

There's a concept I used in one of my books, something called the "global ghetto." Essentially the idea is that certain technologies reach a threshhold of power and affordability where they allow the peasants of the world to cheaply empower themselves and then compete directly with the elite capitalist class of the developed world. That's no small/incremental technology that would do that; something like an economical brain machine interface with full memetic integration (the ability to directly upload/download working knowledge) would be the IT equivalent of the atomic bomb: it would completely uproot the existing economic power structure and clear the path for a whole generation of upstart entrepreneurs to expand and thrive in a world that otherwise would have crushed them underfoot. And even this is in no way enough to bring about the Singularity.

It's interesting to note that I've seen 2-3 fairly significant developments with AI that have been reported in the last few days...
I've seen 2 or 3 fairly interesting squirrels in the past few days. That doesn't mean squirrels are getting smarter.
"Ordinary technological progress" apparently isn't really what most people including the technologically oriented thought it was. That frame of reference is changing.

I believe I posted articles about social progress and the associated evolution of the brain that would mitigate your ideas on the subjects. I established economic (in fact, the changes you describe were already happening, not all at once, but since the 60s, where the UN statistics show a profound change amongst the poorest of humanity) , educational, political (the disappearing dictator) violence facts that can be argued for as great social change for humanity over the centuries and even more so in the last few decades. I established how the forward thrust of a singularity relies not on one thing but a multi-faceted set of advancements. I even posted an article that contradicts your idea that evolution has nothing to do with technology. I still feel these arguments are correct.

I also argued before that a transhumanist future will take over for natural selection (and since then have had my position bolstered in several quarters, not least of which is Stephen Hawking), making the idea of a continued linear progress in culture, society also come into question. I feel these were rather obvious but it's nice to know I'm backed by "experts" on this. This change can either be positive or negative, though I feel on a personal level we might become "enlightened" to the point social problems may disappear. It could also lead to the Borg, I really am not sure...point is the chance is there and by acknowledging it, we might shape it.

It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. Carl Sagan
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