Science

Kurzweil on The Future of Robots

Posted 29 Aug 2006 at 13:45 UTC by steve Share This

A Popular Science article gives Ray Kurzweil's view on the future of robots, the merging of man and machine, understanding the human brain, and the singularity. The singularity refers to the idea that technological change is increasing at an exponential rate approaching infinity. At a certain point (the singularity), kurzweil and others believe, the rate of change will exceed the ability of humans to deal with it and machines will take over as the dominate species. As we noted in a previous story, the idea has been around for a long time and we've missed at least one previous predicted date for the impending singularity. It's more likely that the compression method our brains use to store historical information produces an illusion of accelerating change.


Nutty, posted 29 Aug 2006 at 16:20 UTC by reed » (Apprentice)

I've always though that Kurzeil's singularity theory was a bit nutty, don't you?

It's sort of interesting (and frightening) to think about, but after pondering it for a while and coming back into the real world, there's not much to be learned from the theory that's useful.

Grey goo nanites will eat and replace your brain!, posted 29 Aug 2006 at 17:09 UTC by The Swirling Brain » (Master)

The singularity theory is just one of the possible futures that could happen if all went wrong and no one cared about life and doom and gloom and if sky net becomes coherent, and grey goo nanites eat and replace your brain and all future shock theories comes true. I don't expect the future to really happen that way. People have predicted a techno gloomy future many times before. I'd like to think he wants to think of the singularity in a happy thoughts kind of way but in reality, it's still just another techno doom and gloom scenario to shock you and that likely won't come true. I mean, you could really work yourself up over this future shock stuff, but at some point, like you said, you have to come back to reality. So, don't worry, be happy. I think Kurtzweil is a little over the top on this stuff too. Enjoy life and embrace technology and we'll control you from here. ;-)

Hit the accelerator!, posted 29 Aug 2006 at 19:26 UTC by tbenedict » (Master)

I think a lot of these theories leave out two very important concepts:

First, in order for something to "take over" it has to actually want to. Since we have yet to build something that can rub its mechanical manipulators together in a maniacal and tyrannical way and play the EvilLaugh.wav file out its speakers in a convincing manner, I don't think we're at risk of having the industrial spot welder and spray paint robots take over any time soon. They simply don't have any desire to do so.

Second, in order for technology to out-pace the human ability to "keep up" you have to change the humans first. Some of the early statements about computers come to mind. To paraphrase: computers double their computing power every N months, therefore in X years they will [insert scary statement]. But what happened was that every year, every month, every day, software developers developed more and more powerful (and yeah, more and more bloated) software that took full advantage of the available computing power. They didn't outstrip our demands... we simply made more demanding demands and kept going.

Maybe it's short-sighted of me, but I have a hard time buying into the sentient and evil computers and robots theories. I think we stand a much better chance of wrecking our various economies first. But that's a doom and gloom story for another day.

Said in one sentence mate., posted 30 Aug 2006 at 00:03 UTC by marev » (Observer)

"Technological change is expotential rate approaching infinity",too true mate,it is the worlds mission and decree,the wisdom you have spoken here,bring it on,there is no other way,machines are the true future.

I know we're all special ..., posted 30 Aug 2006 at 07:13 UTC by marcin » (Journeyer)

...but unless we adapt ourselves - probably by integration with our technological creations - we will become inferior. I don't see it happening in my lifetime to any appreciable extent, but it will happen. I'd love to have the ability to do creative problem solving as now, and augmented by all that google/wikipedia/national-archives had to offer.

Or we'll run out of oil and fall into the dark ages.

M

Another note., posted 30 Aug 2006 at 22:48 UTC by marev » (Observer)

good message there ,just the latest point about no oil/petrol is wrong,total electricity is the answer,we must find any other possible replacements for oil/petrol,the oil and petrol countries overall are producing 5 times the oil than they did when they were all starving years ago,so the population has incresead 5 times and now with the soon prospect of these oil/petrol resources running out we are about to have total starvation and lack of resources in depreived countries running at far greater times than it was in band aid times with charity work for band aid was the one of the most ill conceived ojects in history with as a result 100s of millions of extra people dying when the oil drys out woth maybe 10 times the casualty figures,wake up and make robots please or at least prosthetic limbs/organs that make up for the deveoped world,cheers.

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