Information age to "Hybrid Age"

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by RAMA, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 1999
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    Well if you want to get technical, there are already tens of millions of cyborgs alive in the world today.

    Wanting to keep humanity IN AI is survival, quite a common human value.

    Smartphones are basically a buffer to your brain already; chips implanted in humans are not sci fi they already have been done; human to computer and human to robot parts links have already been done. I've already posted my timeline when I think these technologies will mature, but they are already here.

    RAMA
     
  2. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Location:
    Your Mom
    Let's define some terms here. What RAMA is basically predicting is the advent of "recreational cybernetics," which is the use of cybernetics to enhance the abilities of otherwise perfectly healthy people to give them an edge over their non-cybernetic peers. This is a contrast with "corrective cybernetics" which is essentially a high tech prosthesis which replaces functionality lost due to illness or injury.

    Well the first hurdles would obviously be financial and medical. Most of those recreational technologies will evolve out of prosthetic ones; implants designed to correct, say, extreme forms of epilepsy or Alzheimers would probably gain a secondary use enhancing otherwise healthy people who want to be able to use those implants for additional mental stability and cognition.

    The thing is, the corrective technology is already so expensive that it is only used in extreme cases. Note that in this example "Extreme cases" means either an extremely bad case of Alzheimers, or for the treatment of an extremely important (or extremely wealthy) patient. The procedure is likely to remain extremely expensive for a long period of time since at the outset only a handful of surgeons would even be familiar with the procedure -- let alone qualified to perform it -- and only a handful of patients would be able to afford their rates. If/when it became more common it would still remain relatively expensive and difficult enough that it would continue to be used prosthetically as opposed to recreationally for a considerable length of time.

    But there's another side to this, see below:

    One thing I've figured out is that, initially, recreational cybernetics will be an outgrowth of prosthetic technologies; you don't just want replacement legs, you want high-performance replacement legs that might allow you to jump higher than someone with normal legs. You don't just want a prosthetic arm, you want an arm with superior dexterity than your original arm. You don't just want your sight back, you want 20/5 vision, enhanced night vision and maybe infrared. You don't just want the chip that stabilizes your epileptic episodes, you want one that can enhance your concentration or improve your spontaneous recall or visual memory.

    We had a taste of this with Oscar Pistorius' Olympic bid, first with the controversy over his prosthetic legs (the extent to which they gave him an advantage over able-bodied athletes) and to what extent his performance was owed to the quality of his prosthetics or his own athletic skill. It wound up not mattering at all since Oscar didn't place in the finals, but it marks a precedent for the way these things are likely to progress: a generation of two from now, we're going to see at least one parapelegic or otherwise handicapped athlete win Olympic glory and then be immediately challenged on the premise that the high-end prosthetics he's using give him an unfair advantage over other athletes. Eventually, the Olympic committee will probably treat high-end prosthetics as a kind of cybernetic performance enhancement and regulate them accordingly; handicapped athletes will have to have their prosthetics certified and approved beforehand in addition to the usual steroid/performance enhancer testing. That same standard is likely to extend to the broader economy and the workplace; people who don't care about performance enhancers won't care much that the VP of Communications has a chip in his head that allows him to work twenty hours without passing out, while police departments might include the overall integrity of prosthetic parts and implants as part of their physical fitness standards (and maybe require an upgrade for a one-armed ex-Marine attempting to join the force with a cheap plastic arm he got from his crappy HMO).
     
  3. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Location:
    Your Mom
    That's long-term species survival, which is not an overriding one, nor is it a universal one. We're more likely to stop fighting wars and using fossil fuels long before we embrace AI and/or brain uploading on their own merits.

    On the other hand, "survival" in human terms is individualistic. When you wake up one morning with an empty stomach and an empty fridge, the first thing most people think is "I better go find something to eat," not "I better go program a smart AI that can increase global food production enough that I'll have more to eat in the mornings."

    No, smartphones are handheld computers that double as communications devices. They're no more a "buffer to your brain" than a pencil and a post-it note, except that while everyone in America knows how to use a pencil, not everyone knows how to use a smart phone, or even owns one.

    You also continue to ignore the fact that implanting a chip in your brain involves a highly invasive major medical procedure. Most people -- NORMAL people -- would probably elect not to undergo major brain surgery unless it was medically necessary; putting a smartphone in your brain isn't medically necessary, especially since that same smartphone fits just as handily in your front pocket.
     
  4. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Location:
    A Long Time Ago...
    You really do not know your audience do you?
     
  5. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    Frankly all I see coming out of ever more immersive cyber is a rise in pickpockets and purse-snatchers among the non-connected.

    Only here, the mark will not even notice the theft for some minutes afterwards.
     
  6. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 1999
    Location:
    NJ, USA

    Possibly overstating the case, but I still see quite a lack of imagination from the supposedly imaginative. Sad really.
     
  7. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Location:
    A Long Time Ago...
    We're all very imaginative, just not delusional.
     
  8. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2001
    Absolutely Right(TM).

    Belief in the Singularity is very much like belief in "Ancient Aliens" and is similarly a failure of imagination.
     
  9. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Location:
    Your Mom
    ^ Not really. There's a concept of technological utopianism, the idea that technology will solve all problems and conquer all barriers. Like all utopnianists, the basic premise is that the world can be made into a paradise just by systematically eliminating all of its varied problems.

    Singularity theory is really just the cyperpunk wing of utopianism: the idea that cybernetics and/or AI are the means to eliminate all of those problems. It's no less imaginative than the belief that the discovery of alien life will unify mankind and transform our entire civilization, for example.
     
  10. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell so far this is a dumb future Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2001
    Location:
    comments 2 my butt
    I don't think any kind of utopia is particularly imaginative. In any case, even if we were to consider a Singularity-based civilization a utopia, that came out of the imagination of one person, or perhaps a handful of people. Those individuals get the credit for being imaginative. The thousands of others who blindly parrot it as inevitable, however, do not.
     
  11. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Location:
    Your Mom
    Fantasy is often imaginative, even if it can never be real. Scifi writers play with FTL travel and forehead aliens too, and both of those are just as likely as a post-singularity utopia.

    Fair point.
     
  12. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Location:
    A Long Time Ago...
    The thing about the Singularity is, I don't even particularly not believe something like that could happen. I just think that -

    A) It will take place much further in the future than is worth worrying about.
    B) It will cause just as many problems as it solves.
     
  13. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2001
    Not necessarily.

    This Singularity nonsense and "Ancient Aliens" both fail imaginatively in a similar way. The believers in ancient astronauts understand so little about history and archaeology that they cannot imagine how "primitive" people could be as inventive and creative as they were. The Singularity evangelists see the world constantly and rapidly changing and they can't imagine this as an ongoing process over long periods of time into the future with no fixed end result, so they do what those filled with anxiety and doubt about the future have always done: they resort to apocalyptic thinking.

    Kurzweil doesn't want to die. Guess what - very few people do. Denial takes many forms.
     
  14. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 1999
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    I think this is the key to the change in paradigm...EVERYONE thinks things will advance slowly but surely over time OR disaster and we'll destroy ourselves. This misses the actual facts we can learn from history and the present...what we normally perceive in our limited way is not what is actually happening...this is where the implications for a more rapid accelerated change come into play.

    Even if a Singularity creates a society that is post scarcity and and extremely advanced, I'd always hesitate to use the word "utopia". Would it be more positive than most people think, yes my opinion is it would be. If you ask for perfection, even if you could define it I'd have to say no.

    RAMA
     
  15. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 1999
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    As usual I think you preconceptions are way off, or generally inaccurate.

    "Singularity" type predictions pre-date Kurzweil. Kurzweil popularized it because of his resume' and convincing work, as well as accurate predictions. A Singularity event does not need human-like behavior from an AI but human level AI although that is likely to happen also. A Singularity event does not need Kurzweil to tell us it will take place in his lifetime. We have math for that. Marovec already predicted an AI "event" well before Kurzweil's recent popularity.

    Ancient astronauts: Not an iota of proof. Singularity: based on science and mathematical models. Still a possibility (or probability) but a good one with many extent technologies in development. They are not even remotely related.

    For the 1000th time, a Singularity does not have to be a dystopia or apocalypse. :rolleyes:

    RAMA
     
  16. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Location:
    Your Mom
    First of all, people think this because even a cursory look at history shows this is exactly what has always happened throughout history. The advent of the bronze age saw an explosion in metallurgical technology and military, social, political and architectural innovations made possible by new tools, weapons, techniques and infrastructure. Yet after an initial burst of innovation lasting some 300 years, further progress slowed to a crawl and new innovations became either subtle variations on what had been done before, or novel uses of old technology in slightly new ways, hundreds of years after the fact. The same thing happened in Iron Age, and again in the age of sail. Arguably it is also true of the mini-paradigm surrounding the invention of gunpowder and firearms, but these too are subject to larger patterns like the Industrial Era, of which the computer revolution is just one small part.

    Second of all, you keep using the word "paradigm" or "paradigm shift" incorrectly. It isn't a magic word for "Change I'd like to see," but describes an existing set of patterns and conventions that most people adhere to. The CURRENT paradigm is industrialization and computerization. Were that paradigm to shift, all the industrial and scientific effort that goes into industrial uses for computers and software would be directed in an entirely different direction.

    Good, because the singularity -- if it happens at all -- is unlikely to create anything of the kind.
     
  17. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Location:
    Your Mom
    Kurzweil's predictions were many things, but accurate is not one of them.

    And Marovec, IIRC, predicted it would occur some time in the mid 1990s; he was ALSO wrong, because like Kurzweil, he utterly failed to take into account the fact that technology is developed by PEOPLE, and that its development can be constrained, slowed, or halted altogether by the same kinds of liabilities facing the people who develop them.

    Strictly speaking, a dystopia and an apocalypse are two different things. Christians believe that the apocalypse will bring about the millennial reign of Christ and heaven on Earth for all mankind. Singularitans believe something similar about the reign of AI.
     
  18. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 1999
    Location:
    NJ, USA

    Almost everything you wrote is innacurate actually.:lol: I can certainly cite proof, but I think you could find the facts yourself at this point.

    RAMA
     
  19. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Location:
    Your Mom
    No, you certainly cannot.

    I wasn't going to do this, but let's get straight to the point:

    From "The Age of Intelligent Machines"
    Early 2000s


    • Translating telephones allow people to speak to each other in different languages. - FAIL: Technology undeveloped
    • Machines designed to transcribe speech into computer text allow deaf people to understand spoken words. - PARTIAL FAIL: Market never materialized
    • Exoskeletal, robotic leg prostheses allow the paraplegic to walk. - FAIL: Still experimental in 2012
    • Telephone calls are routinely screened by intelligent answering machines that ask questions to determine the call's nature and priority. - FAIL: Technology developed in 2010s and is only used by call centers.
    • "Cybernetic chauffeurs" can drive cars for humans and can be retrofitted into existing cars. They work by communicating with other vehicles and with sensors embedded along the roads. - EPIC FAIL
    • The classroom is dominated by computers. Intelligent courseware that can tailor itself to each student by recognizing their strengths and weaknesses. Media technology allows students to manipulate and interact with virtual depictions of the systems and personalities they are studying. - FAIL
    • A small number of highly skilled people dominates the entire production sector. Tailoring of products for individuals is common. - FAIL
    • Drugs are designed and tested in simulations that mimic the human body. - FAIL
    • Blind people navigate and read text using machines that can visually recognize features of their environment. - FAIL
    • PCs are capable of answering queries by accessing information wirelessly via the Internet. - PARTIAL WIN, see SIRI.
    2020–2050


    • Phone calls entail three-dimensional holographic images of both people. - IMMANENT FAIL: Video chat isn't even that popular.
    • By 2020, there will be a new World government. - IMMANENT EPIC FAIL

    To be fair, that was Kurzweil in 1990, projecting on trends that seemed obvious in the late 1980s. Surely he learned and wisened a bit with his old age, so he should be more accurate with his 1999 predictions... right?

    In "The Age of Spiritual Machines", Kurzweil predicts that by 2009:



    • Most books will be read on screens rather than paper. - FAIL: Not even half
    • Most text will be created using speech recognition technology. - FAIL
    • Intelligent roads and driverless cars will be in use, mostly on highways. - EPIC FAIL
    • People use personal computers the size of rings, pins, credit cards and books. - PARTIAL FAIL: some tablets are the size of books
    • Personal worn computers provide monitoring of body functions, automated identity and directions for navigation. - PARTIAL FAIL: Smartphones do this, but are not "wearable computers"
    • Cables are disappearing. Computer peripheries use wireless communication. - PARTIAL FAIL: Wireless devices exist alongside wired ones.
    • People can talk to their computer to give commands. - PARTIAL FAIL: People CAN, but nobody wants to
    • Computer displays built into eyeglasses for augmented reality are used. - FAIL
    • Computers can recognize their owner's face from a picture or video. - FAIL
    • Three-dimensional chips are commonly used. - FAIL
    • Sound producing speakers are being replaced with very small chip-based devices that can place high resolution sound anywhere in three-dimensional space. - FAIL
    • A 1000 dollar pc can perform about a trillion calculations per second. - FAIL: most high-end PCs currently peak at around 20 billion
    • There is increasing interest in massively parallel neural nets, genetic algorithms and other forms of "chaotic" or complexity theory computing. - UNSURPRISING FAIL
    • Research has been initiated on reverse engineering the brain through both destructive and non-invasive scans. - FAIL
    • Autonomous nanoengineered machines have been demonstrated and include their own computational controls.- FAIL
    Most of Kurzweil's last round of predictions haven't lapsed yet, but already his perennial predictions of "wearable computers" has still failed to materialize, mainly because imbedding computers in your clothing is the kind of idea that sounds really cool until you try to sell it to someone and realize what a stupid idea it really is.

    In fact, MOST of Kurzweil's predictions have this feature: the SOUND cool, until someone tries to SELL those ideas and is jarred by the reality that they are either totally impractical or technologically infeasible.

    Ray Kurzweil is at best average in making near-term projections about technology that he is intimately familiar with (e.g. speech recognition and computerized language support) but has been wrong on literally every other subject he has offered a prediction for. His predictions are therefore about as reliable as the premise for "2001: a Space Odyssey."
     
  20. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 1999
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    n
    I missed this somehow, BUT again you're wrong: Your counterpoint post has already been done and countered(quite successfully in my opinion):

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexknapp/2012/03/21/ray-kurzweil-defends-his-2009-predictions/

    ..and more famously, to Paul Allen's crticism:

    http://alfin2100.blogspot.com/2011/10/debating-near-term-singularity-kurzweil.html

    Kurzweil defends that 86% of is predictions are either correct, or "essentially" correct, and most reviews of his claims I have seen concur with this.

    A FULL summary of his predictions can be found here:

    http://www.kurzweilai.net/how-my-predictions-are-faring-an-update-by-ray-kurzweil.

    RAMA