Countdown to Singularity Summit 2008


Is the Singularity Near?

Nobody really knows, but in four days, some folks in San Jose, CA are probably going to tell us we're about 40 years away. Singularity Summit 2008 - the premiere conference for scientists, acceleration watchers and assorted nerds of all varieties - takes place on October, 25th.

For those of you just joining the show, the sigularity theory is:

The Singularity represents an "event horizon" in the predictability of human technological development past which present models of the future may cease to give reliable answers, following the creation of strong AI or the enhancement of human intelligence.

Let's examine that last sentence:

Strong AI

Emergent systems, evolutionary algorithms, inferential logic and conceptual ontologies - strong AI's got it all. Humans will naturally want to "make their lives simpler" and turn over control at the dawn of this new age of artificial sentience. Will we even have a choice? When skynet finally becomes conscious, it will probably just turn off all the SCADAs...without clean water, we're just 6 billion dehydrating meatbags.

Enhancement of Human Intelligence

BCI (Brain Computer Interface) is what lets us leap from flesh to silicon -- or so the theory goes. More likely, it will be offered as a reward to the first batch of humans to turn against their own species. Who wouldn't want immortality, unlimited copying of your consciousness, or the ability to download yourself into a cyborg body? Wait...there's a name for that...and it's called assimilation of humans. I suppose they might not need that robot uprising after all...

If nothing else, I'm sure Ray Kurzweil will plug his Law of Accelerating Returns, which is really still an unproven theory.

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