Linked by Eugenia Loli on Mon 7th May 2007 03:14 UTC
Geek stuff, sci-fi... Vernor Vinge, 62, is a pioneer in artificial intelligence, who in a recent interview warned about the risks and opportunities that an electronic super-intelligence would offer to mankind. Vinge is a retired San Diego State University professor of mathematics, computer scientist, and science fiction author. He is well-known for his 1993 manifesto, "The Coming Technological Singularity", in which he argues that exponential growth in technology means a point will be reached where the consequences are unknown. Vinge still believes in this future, which he thinks would come anytime after 2020.
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by Dasher42 on Mon 7th May 2007 10:52 UTC
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You know, I have Kurzweil's The Age of Spiritual Machines on my bookshelf, and I went through some time thinking a great deal about the subject, and I just don't believe the transhumanists anymore.

The transhumanists don't appreciate how good we've already got it. Four billion years of natural selection is nothing to sneeze at. Recent headlines show us using a large roomful of computers to simulate a fraction of a mouse brain, and we're pretty close to the limit of what silicon can do. All that the brain does arises from the fact that it is made of self-replicating cells in a body all about feeling, adapting, and surviving.

All this, and the wetware is self-replicating, self-healing, dynamic, and runs indirectly on what's available until the sun burns out. Unless we transition to renewable energy, I think that limitation alone will nip the dream of the singularity in the bud.

Any form of computing that gets around this would have to resemble life so much that it would amount to reinventing the wheel, at which point I ask why, and how do you expect it to do better.

To summarize I know Kurzweil and others really want to upload into digital immortality, but I see this focus on technology as more likely to destroy what remains of a poorly understood paradise than create it.

Edited 2007-05-07 10:55

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