The Singularity and Memory Compression

Posted 21 Jun 2006 at 16:30 UTC by steve Share This

J├╝rgen Schmidhuber has released a paper, titled New Millennium AI and the Convergence of History (PDF format), which makes some interesting comments about AI and the Singularity. He maps events onto a timescale of human history going back 40,000 years, revealing a consistent doubling in the rate of progress. The rate turns out to be measurable in powers of 2 multiplied by the average human lifespan. The rate of progress is converging to something he calls the Omega Point, more commonly known by Vernor Vinge and Ray Kurzweil's term: the Singularity. Whether the Singularity is a disaster scenario to be avoided or the next step in human evolution is frequently debated but Schmidhuber suggests the whole idea may be nothing more than a side-effect of how we think about history. He suggests it may be a combination of the way our brains compress memories of historical events and the desire many individuals have to witness world-changing events within their own lifetime. He notes that historians in 1525 predicted something like the Singularity would occur by 1540 based on a similar series of events that they deemed significant but which have mostly been forgotten.

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