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Old 03-04-2012, 08:59 PM
 
Location: Pueblo - Colorado's Second City
11,739 posts, read 18,317,370 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NightBazaar View Post
First of all, let me say thanks for your thoughtful reply and views.
Thanks for your reply as well!

Quote:
Originally Posted by NightBazaar View Post
If you look back at what I said, you'll see that I wrote "People like Kurzweil..." So it's not just Ray that holds that view, although he certainly seems to be touting it more. And why not? It sells books, provides speaking engagements, and generates a nice income. Just ask Erich von Daniken or Paul Ehrlich. To be fair, Ehrlich did ultimately back down and recognize that he was incorrect about his fervent predictions.
The point I was trying to make was not only futurists like Ray try to figure out how computers will advance but its actually main stream as the gaming industry has done that for years. Honestly people, including myself, give Ray Kurzweil to much credit here. I like him and he is a genius but he is not the reason society is reaching the singularity he just happen to be one of the first people to put it all together in a way that made logical sense. When I first saw his movie and later read his book nothing that he discussed was nothing I had heard before it was just put together in a way that had not been done. I knew about Mores law, have seen computers get smaller and knew the gaming industry planned ahead as to when to release the games so it would work on the latest computers. What I had not heard was long term projections and what the implications of those projections will have on society. Sure futurists have been talking about the future since I was a kid but none that I saw backed it up with data it was just computers do this now so logically in 10 years they should be doing this. usually they were wrong because it was not based on science and that caused most people, including my self, to ignore them. Until Ray. He takes accepted principals and expands on them in ways that everyone agrees is logical but comes up with answers that some people don't want to hear so they dismiss his results. As the Time article said its coming so get use to it and ignoring it will not make it go away.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NightBazaar View Post
I'm not saying that charts don't show a steep increase in computer technology, nor am I saying that computer technology won't make significant improvements. However, the same thing can be said about charts regarding global population growth over the last 6000-8000 years. In fact the population growth charts overall show a much steeper upward curve over the last few centuries than computer technology. Will global population continue to increase at exponential rates? No. Eventually, we'd run out of room and resources. And that's not counting wars, disease, natural catastrophies, starvation, and so on.
Not a fair comparison. Computers advance at the same rate all the time period. There are way to many varriables to know how the population of humans will grow. Sure it looks exponential but if you look at the data closely its not as some years it more then others and as nations advance they tend to have less kids so again it changes. Now if you are trying to say at some point computers will reach a stage where they cant advance like they have then sure I would agree with you, however, we are no where near that "limit" even at exponential growth its likely thousands if not millions of years away. Yes I am just guessing because no one knows how far computers can advance after the singularity but everyone agrees we are no where near that limit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NightBazaar View Post
If we rely solely on charts and trends to predict what will happen in the future, then it really is nothing more than wishful thinking and speculation. The reason is because, like it or not, there are plenty of obstacles that can and do get in the way that can abruptly change things. That was why I also said that despite predictions that we'd have thriving colonies on the Moon, etc., before the year 2000, that clearly has gone into a much different direction than had been expected or anticipated. It doesn't mean we won't continue to advance, but it does mean that exponential growth trends, whether it's population growth or computer technology, cannot continue upward indefinitely. Sometimes trends level off and sometimes they can take a nosedive.
Predicting certain events like when humans will have a moon colony or a mars colony or what IBM will be doing in 5 years is just guess work, Ray admits to that as well. What he can do is say what the cost per dollar computers will be at in 2020 or how big will the supercomputer will be by 2030 as that follows a predictable path proven by the mathematical models that he puts on a graph for us to look at. Its rather simple as I am not computer genius yet I can read his book and look at his movies and see his presentations on youtube and get it. History does mean something as I have the I phone 4s and when I was 5 years old my dad had a main frame that took up a whole room and it was the "computer room", that was in 1978. Just look how far we have come and will do so in the next 15 years that is all Ray is saying.

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Originally Posted by NightBazaar View Post
If computer technology is to make any truly radical changes, we'll probably have to develop a very different technology to do it, which you seem to agree with. Quantum computing could provide much faster and more accurate computing, but even so, there are no guarantees it will provide us with solutions to all our problems. In any case, we're far from having quantum computers that work as efficiently as our current computers, which includes supercomputers.
My understanding is that More's law will come to a end around 2022 as they will no longer be able to fit circuits on the boards any closer together. However they are already working on the next generation and that is 3 dimensional computers.

This article does a much better job of explaining it then i ever could:

In a move that could remake the microchip industry, Intel announced Wednesday it will start mass-producing the first three-dimensional silicon transistors. The 3-D transistor design, which Intel says will improve efficiency by more than one-third, will be integrated into a 22-nanometer node in an Intel chip called Ivy Bridge. It’s a major change from the two-dimensional flat transistor structure we all know and love, which has powered every computer chip for the last 50 years. The 3-D switch design and the scale of its production will allow Moore’s Law to advance apace, Intel said. Moore’s Law holds that the number of transistors that can be placed on a circuit will double every two years, but this places limits on the circuits’ size — a growing problem as engineers cram greater numbers of transistors onto ever-tinier chips. A 3-D switch could allow computer chips to be built like skyscrapers, optimizing space by building upward, and thereby allowing uninhibited transistor growth.


The link: Intel to Mass-Produce New 3-D Transistors for Faster, More Efficient Computer Chips | Popular Science


I don't know much about quantum computing but it looks fascinating. I will do more research on it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by NightBazaar View Post
Whoa, slow down there partner. Kurzweil's predictions are centered around a "technological singularity", a point at which the world will radically change because of a shift of automonous intelligence in computers that will exceed that of human intelligence. You mentioned "Project Blue Brain" as if to validate the idea that a technological singularity is approaching sooner than Kurzweil expected. Forget about Kurzweil. Those on the front lines are saying all that's being done at the present time is an ambitious plan to map out the human brain.
Um ya this is where I got sidetracked and was not referring to the singularity. One of the predictions Ray makes is that by 2029 we will have reversed engineered the brain, a full 10 years after the Blue Brain project says they will have it done. This does not change the 2045 date for the singularity as computers are still progressing the same its just that they were able to complete a project faster then thought possible and that goes back to what I posted about how its easy to tell where computers will be in 10 years but not so easy to say how individual projects will fair. In this case they are going faster as they found ways to get their project done with out computers that could fully simulate the brain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NightBazaar View Post
At present, only the most primative part of the brain, the cortex, has been mapped. The plan to hoped to gradually map out other areas of the brain with the ultimate goal of having mapped the entire human brain to have a simulation which can be useful for several applications, including (but not limited to) medical applications. It'd be a lot easier to practice on a simulated brain than a real one. Robotics is another application. The other stages are intended to include what has been previously mapped but at increasing volumes anywhere from incorporating 100's of times that of previous findings to 1000's of times each step of the way. And that's just mapping. Here's a look at what goes on in the brain. Keep in mind that there are about 100 billion neurons and trillions of combinations. The way the the brain processes information is pretty remarkable that it ultimately results in thoughts, perceptions, and ideas that enable us to visualize abstracts and respond to world around us.

Now, let's see what those on the front lines of mapping the brain, like Henry Markham (the director of Project Blue Brain) and Idan Seveg of Israel have to say. How long will it take? No one knows for sure, but it could take a few decades or it could take a hundred or more years. Are there any obstacles that could slow things down? Yes. It all relies on funding of very large amounts of money, much of it coming from governments, but also grants and private funding. If the funding slows down or stops, for any of numerous reasons, the project slows down or stops. With the state of how the global economy is today, it's hard to guess. It gets down to economic priorities. There have been plenty of casualities, like the Tevatron collider, the space shuttle, human landings on the Moon, etc. It happens. Things don't always turn out as planned or hoped for.
I might place to much importance on this one project as I honestly believe this to be the most important science project in the history of man kind and I think the implications of knowing how the brain works down to the molecular level will transform society in ways we cant understand. There is a documentry on it that is great and I highly recommend it. here is the link to the first year but they have done 2.

BLUEBRAIN – Year One: Documentary Film Preview : The Beautiful Brain

All I can say is wow when I think about this project.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NightBazaar View Post
No need to apologize for anything. You're not alone. We all tend to wander with our thoughts, and are not always so concise and accurate. You're doing just fine, although I think it helps to understand that (in this subject) it's extremely complex and there are no simple answers. Not only does it offer the potential of some greatly impressive benefits, but there are also numerous obstacles to take into consideration before declaring what will happen in the future and when it will happen.
This subject is mind numbing complex and I think that is one reason it is not main stream. I am starting to grasp it and I literately spend hours and hours studying it from many aspects. I totally get why the average person does not understand the singularity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NightBazaar View Post
If I may, allow me to pose a couple of interesting questions. Let's say that indeed artificial intelligence can be achieved that actually exceed that of humans. And let's say that artificial intelligence is completely autonomous. What we would then have is an advanced intelligence based on technology and mechanics rather than biological. A new form of life.
In some ways it wont be like a invading race as they will be part of us. I know I plan on integrating computers in me to enhance my cognitive ability. So in a way it will be a extension of us. I do agree there will be AI and in some way that does scare me and in someways I am excited.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NightBazaar View Post
First of all, who do you think would be first in line to grab on to it? I wouldn't be surprised that it would probably fall into the hands of the military. Issac Asimov originally established the "Laws of Robotics", which is quite reasonable as a way to achieve and ensure peaceful uses. The idea is that autonomous robots would be designed to prevent them from harming humans. But in the world we live in today, I think it's pretty clear that there are people who have less than peaceful motives. What would happen if this technology falls into the wrong hands like extremists? You can bet yer boots that would eventually happen. As it is, militaries are already looking at the possibility of using autonomous robots as war machines. Would that be okay with you?

Secondly, if an autonomous AI system were much more highly advanced than any human, what would prevent that system from deciding that humans are too inefficient, and decide to either abandon the planet and let humans work out their own problems, or in a worst case scenario, to either force humans to integrate, or simply decide that humans are useless and that it'd be better to exterminate all of them? The idea here being that AI systems become far more advanced than humans. How would you feel about such a scenario?

I'm not saying that's how it will end up, but how could such a possible outcome be prevented? International treaties are meaningless to those who aren't willing to take part in abiding by them. I think it's healthy to look at all sides of the issue, to look at the negatives as well as the positives.
Those are real questions that will have to be dealt with but that is different then saying it wont happen anytime soon. I don't know the answers but to be honest I think these questions are why society should be dealing with is sooner rather then later because putting our head in the sand and saying some of the possibilities are bad and I don't like them when in fact its coming is not solving the issue at all. I am not saying you are doing this all I am saying is the singularity is coming and all indications is it will happen in our lifetime so we might as well get use to the concept and the implications it will have the best way we can given our current technology.

Last edited by Josseppie; 03-04-2012 at 09:08 PM..
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Old 03-05-2012, 01:34 AM
 
Location: where you sip the tea of the breasts of the spinsters of Utica
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Oh you guys have pretty much got it all figured out since I was last here! Carry on.

The big obstacle I see is whether or not we can sustain civilization long enough to keep this going. I think we're in serious trouble worldwide with economic destabilization, and the need to transition to different energy sources now that petroleum has passed its peak. I don't know if we're making enough progress on the energy issue especially to be assured of technological advances in AI, since agriculture comes first in survival priority, and it consumes enormous amounts of fuel in plowing, fertilizers, harvesting, and distributing foods around the globe. People will demand that research be cut to put money into agriculture (not understanding that the research is the main way to solve the problems) and into subsidizing gasoline for their cars, at least if we can't transition quickly enough to natural gas and nuclear reactors.

If we develop those energy resources - and use the advances in computing power to put them in place quickly - we should be good to go on a planetary scale. Abundant energy can solve just about any human problem. But it doesn't look like that is happening in time to keep the civilization and the research on track.
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Old 03-05-2012, 10:40 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Woof View Post
Oh you guys have pretty much got it all figured out since I was last here! Carry on.
LOL! It'd be great if that were true.


Quote:
The big obstacle I see is whether or not we can sustain civilization long enough to keep this going. I think we're in serious trouble worldwide with economic destabilization, and the need to transition to different energy sources now that petroleum has passed its peak. I don't know if we're making enough progress on the energy issue especially to be assured of technological advances in AI, since agriculture comes first in survival priority, and it consumes enormous amounts of fuel in plowing, fertilizers, harvesting, and distributing foods around the globe. People will demand that research be cut to put money into agriculture (not understanding that the research is the main way to solve the problems) and into subsidizing gasoline for their cars, at least if we can't transition quickly enough to natural gas and nuclear reactors.
I agree that it's a matter of priorities. But I also think the problem goes a bit deeper than funneling money into one area. I mentioned earlier that it seems like we tend to put too many eggs into too few baskets. We sink enormous amounts of money into weapons and battling other countries to change their political systems (which isn't always appreciated) at the expense of education for kids. The kids of today are the future of humanity. It seems like the economic problems are at least in part related to lop-sided spending to where issues that need it aren't getting enough support to keep up. There needs to be a better balance in the distribution of funding. When the scales are tilted too far in one direction, there's a big leap to fix it at the expense of other issues which in turn start to tilt too far. It gets down to what's going to get the biggest piece of pie.

In the meantime, the world population continues to grow. There is an advantage to having more people, in that it provides more minds to contribute to bettering civilization. Unfortunately, there's the ideal, and then there's the real. While AI is certainly making some impressive advances, I agree with you, that I don't think it's going to solve our current problems. While there are people who feel that AI will change the world in less than a decade. While I do think impressive advances will be made, I don't think it's going to be much more than an impressive novelty, at least in terms of the near future.

The energy issue seems pretty significant, and not just in terms of fuel. The more people there are, the greater the consumption there is for power. Where to get that power? Nuclear power? The problem in Japan should at least tell us that unforeseen natural disasters can bring a power plant to a halt with long term consequences for using contaminated land. Wind and solar energy have their limitations. The Sun certainly provides plenty of energy, and harvesting it with numerous collectors in space might be a solution. We still need to clean up all the junk orbiting the planet though.


Quote:
If we develop those energy resources - and use the advances in computing power to put them in place quickly - we should be good to go on a planetary scale. Abundant energy can solve just about any human problem. But it doesn't look like that is happening in time to keep the civilization and the research on track.
I agree that abundant energy could solve many important problems. I'm not sure it will resolve social problems, nor would it necessarily resolve wasteful spending, greed and territorial disputes. But if enough energy could be evenly distributed, it would certainly help. The question is whether it would be evenly distributed or not.
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Old 03-05-2012, 10:43 AM
 
Location: Pueblo - Colorado's Second City
11,739 posts, read 18,317,370 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woof View Post
Oh you guys have pretty much got it all figured out since I was last here! Carry on.

The big obstacle I see is whether or not we can sustain civilization long enough to keep this going. I think we're in serious trouble worldwide with economic destabilization, and the need to transition to different energy sources now that petroleum has passed its peak. I don't know if we're making enough progress on the energy issue especially to be assured of technological advances in AI, since agriculture comes first in survival priority, and it consumes enormous amounts of fuel in plowing, fertilizers, harvesting, and distributing foods around the globe. People will demand that research be cut to put money into agriculture (not understanding that the research is the main way to solve the problems) and into subsidizing gasoline for their cars, at least if we can't transition quickly enough to natural gas and nuclear reactors.

If we develop those energy resources - and use the advances in computing power to put them in place quickly - we should be good to go on a planetary scale. Abundant energy can solve just about any human problem. But it doesn't look like that is happening in time to keep the civilization and the research on track.
I am not worried at all for 2 main reasons.

First is if you look back at history at such large events like the great depression, world war 1 and 2, the current recession it did not impact the advancement of computers at all.



This is the graph from Time Magazine and you can see how those events did not impact it at all.

The second reason is the law of accelerating returns applies to all information technology and solar technology happens o be a form of information technology and it doubling every 2 years.

Here is a graph on it:



My understanding is solar is about 8 doublings or 16 years away of overtaking fossil fuels but that the tipping point is about 4 doublings or 8 years away, around 2020. Oh ya and its good for the environment. In my opinion fossil fuels are on their last years as the dominant source of energy. The funny thing is I think President Obama will aprove the oil pipeline from Canada and while I think he should by the time its done and in operation our dependance on oil will actually be starting to drop.
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Old 03-05-2012, 11:32 AM
 
Location: where you sip the tea of the breasts of the spinsters of Utica
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Well, you can't make fertilizer from solar energy, and agriculture purposes have a need for exceptionally high power consumption, which I don't think solar and wind together could generate on a large scale. Ten times the amount wouldn't be enough to replace oil. Maybe natural gas, it remains to be seen whether that will be held up by (perfectly legitimate) legal issues.

Even fission reactors couldn't be built big and fast enough at this point to maintain energy needs, from what I've read, and they seem to be generating an actual loss of energy return from energy input, not to mention the legal issues.

Really our main hopes in the long run are either nuclear fusion, or some sort of dark horse coming in from the furthest reaches of physics research.

If civilization crumbles so that all or most nations are at the level of current thirdworld nations, then there won't be the kind of advanced infrastructure needed to bring AI developments from paper to widespread use.
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Old 03-05-2012, 11:48 AM
 
Location: Pueblo - Colorado's Second City
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Yes but you are forgetting the implications of exponential rate on solar so it wont be 10 times the amount of oil but thousands of times.
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Old 03-05-2012, 02:41 PM
 
Location: where you sip the tea of the breasts of the spinsters of Utica
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But there are natural limits to the amount of solar that can be used, unless it's collected far from earth. Same with wind, there are limits that can't be exceeded without disrupting the climate even worse than is starting to happen now.

Well, at any rate, I won't obsess about it. I think I will be long dead before such crises hit hard.
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Old 03-05-2012, 04:30 PM
 
Location: Pueblo - Colorado's Second City
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I can't find a "natural limit" on solar. I do agree that solar alone will not solve our energy needs. however, it will play a big role. Another energy source to look out for is fusion energy. Currently they are building ITER, a large-scale scientific experiment that aims to demonstrate that it is possible to produce commercial energy from fusion. The objective of the ITER project is to gain the knowledge necessary for the design of the next-stage device: a demonstration fusion power plant. In ITER, scientists will study plasmas under conditions similar to those expected in a future power plant. ITER will be the first fusion experiment to produce net power; it will also test key technologies, including heating, control, diagnostics, and remote maintenance.

The link: ITER - the way to new energy

To be honest given everything that is going on in the industry I do not think energy production will be a problem, at least for the advanced nations.

Last edited by Josseppie; 03-05-2012 at 04:45 PM..
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Old 03-05-2012, 05:09 PM
 
Location: Tyler, TX
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Originally Posted by Josseppie View Post
the changes his generation experienced is nothing like what we are experiencing now.
If you think that the advances we've had are more significant to society than the automobile, the airplane, electricity and antibiotics, then I'd say that you're a little bit confused.

Yes, we've seen some amazing things in our time (I'm 41 - not significantly older than you), but their role in shaping society as a whole pale in comparison to the inventions and discoveries of our grandparents' generation. Those things made everything you've experienced possible - including the long life that you're probably not even half way through.
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Old 03-05-2012, 06:01 PM
 
Location: Pueblo - Colorado's Second City
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Originally Posted by swagger View Post
If you think that the advances we've had are more significant to society than the automobile, the airplane, electricity and antibiotics, then I'd say that you're a little bit confused.

Yes, we've seen some amazing things in our time (I'm 41 - not significantly older than you), but their role in shaping society as a whole pale in comparison to the inventions and discoveries of our grandparents' generation. Those things made everything you've experienced possible - including the long life that you're probably not even half way through.
My grandparents generation saw a lot I agree and I don't take anything from them. I always look back at the old documentaries on computers from the 1940's, 1950's and 1960's and think wow because of them I have the chance to see the singularity and most of them did not even think about that. In a sense they did a lot of the base work and I get the benefits. However as societies advance progress comes even faster so I do not think I am taking anything from them by saying I will see more changes then they did just like I don't take away from their parents generation when I say they saw more changes then their parents did. Its just the result of the law of accelerating returns.
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