Futurology? Not. Biological and cyber warfare

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Ricter, Mar 4, 2011.

  1. Ricter


  2. Hello


    This is a little off topic, but for some reason when i read the article it kind of reminded me of this book im reading.

    Ricter have you ever read the book "The singularity is near" Its by Ray kurzweil..... If you havent you should order it i think its something you would like. The reason i brought it up is because it is a book which talks about the possibilities we are facing in terms of automation and robotics, as well as nanotechnology, and i remember talking to you about that in the past on some thread, and pretty much being in agreement over where we were headed.
  3. Ricter


    Haven't read the book but I did read this review of it just days ago:


    I wish we could have an intelligent discussion of its ideas on this board, but I'm certain we can't, Obama (or Bush) would be trotted out.
  4. Hello


    Yep me too, I wish there was a forum with no politics involved on this site for discussing stuff, but elitetrader is what it is, and since your a liberal I hate you.... :D j/k

    Anyways check out the book, based on previous discussions I have had with you about this stuff, I guarantee you will not be disappointed. Let me know how you like it.
  5. I'll confess up front that I haven't read Kurzweil's book, and nothing I have seen of what he has been reported to have said makes me want to.

    The Time piece is basically a load of old nonsense. Conflating computer processing speed with artificial intelligence is just dumb. Just because you can calculate the digits of pi to some remarkable precision ten times faster than you could three years ago does not confer any extra intelligence on the machine.

    Most software these days is written in object oriented languages and there is no prospect of that changing anytime soon. But object oriented languages date back at least to SIMULA in the 1960's. If you could transport somebody working with SIMULA in the 60's to the current day, they would have have no trouble in quickly adapting. There is no qualitative leap at all.

    In reality progress on AI has been quite slow and some of the early researches would surely be disappointed at the rate of progress. The prospect of an AI that can rival human intelligence in any generalized sense looks as far off as ever. A gazillion iPads being used for self promotion on Facebook are not going to change that situation.

    This is not to say that there will not be huge developments in computing and communications but as far as a "singularity" goes - read Arthur C Clarke; far more entertaining.

    Kurzweil apparently thinks that climate is not a problem because the world will be powered by solar power by 2030 anyway. There are any number of reasons to dismiss this as a load of old nonsense, but the lack of any economical method of electricity storage (other than pumped hydro which is limited) will remain the killer for the foreseeable future. For example Germany has ~15GWe of PV solar capacity. But in winter, the peak output at the best time of the day on many days could not crack 1GW. You are talking stupendous amounts of storage at even more stupendous cost. In facts months of storage. Blind faith that this can be done, based only on progress in electronics where miniturization is king is just rubbish.

    Fantasies wrapped up in some sort of technological cargo cult may be soothing for some, but I prefer a reality based approach.
  6. Eight


    The progression of AI:

    1950: we could make solid state computers
    1960: we will make computers that are smarter than humans
    1970: we will make computers that are as smart as humans
    1980: we will make computers that are useful to humans
    1990: we will make computers that humans can stand to use all day
    2000: we will make computers that don't make us sick just thinking about them...

  7. Hello


    Did you actually take the time to look up alot of the points kurzweil makes? At first, I thought alot of it was simply pie in the sky ideas, but every chapter i go through i actually research what he is talking about, and all of it has a solid basis in reality.
  8. Ricter


  9. pspr


    #10     Mar 5, 2011