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Archive for the ‘singularity’ category

May 2, 2017

Why Silicon Valley Can’t “Disruptively” Vote Its Way To Digital Immortality

Posted by in categories: existential risks, governance, life extension, lifeboat, Ray Kurzweil, robotics/AI, singularity

You’ve probably heard about billionaires’ Plan B for when the end of the world comes, much of it centering around property in New Zealand. It’s not exactly a bad plan as far as doomsday prepping goes; buy a nice bunker somewhere in Middle Earth and wait out the chaos in luxury on one of two fairly isolated islands. Now, you may have noticed that front and center for such planning is Silicon Valley billionaire and Trump backer Peter Thiel of the pay-to-sue-Gawker-into-oblivion fame to the public at large, and ultra-libertarian venture capitalist with some crazy ideas about the future to the techies who know him. His backing of seasteading and support for Trump just because he got bored with Obama, are but a warmup to what he really has in mind for the future: immortality as a sentient super-AI.

No, you didn’t read that wrong, and no, this is not hyperbole. In fact, yours truly was once invited to an event where Thiel was a featured speaker after a rather public spat with the president of the Singularity Institute. I did not take up the offer because I had to be in class to learn how to build actual AI systems. And for full disclosure, I was invited to join an advisory board for a group of futurists called The Lifeboat Foundation, but like Groucho Marx, I didn’t want to be involved in a club that would accept someone like me as a member, much less as an advisor based on little more than me being a grad student at the time. So Thiel’s involvement with a group of futurists and an occasional computer scientist who thinks we’re on the verge of something a lot like the plot of Transcendence, is extremely well known in tech.

In fact, the belief that at some point, artificial intelligence and the march of technology will create a singularity that will alter humanity forever, has an alarming number of adherents in Silicon Valley. The face of the Singularity today, Ray Kurzweil, works at Google and runs Singularity University where it’s preached thanks to a multimillion commitment from his employer. And the fact that this belief is so popular in the world’s biggest tech hub isn’t all that surprising if we consider its followers. They’re told that their code and the technology they’re developing is changing the world, or they’re devoted followers of popular science news ready for the incredible future promised to us by the glossy magazines and sci-fi movies to arrive. To be told that by 2035 or 2045 we may become immortal through technology is appealing to say the least, and empowering for those who think they can help.

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Apr 28, 2017

An Alternate Universe: Our Cosmos May Have Been Spawned by a Hypermassive Black Hole

Posted by in categories: cosmology, singularity

Siegel explains how this is possible:

“As the black hole first formed, the event horizon first came to be, then rapidly expanded and continued to grow as more matter continued to fall in. If you were to put a coordinate grid down on this two-dimensional wrapping, you’d find that it originated where the gridlines were very close together, then expanded rapidly as the black hole formed, and then expanded more and more slowly as matter fell in at a much lower rate. This matches, at least conceptually, what we observe for the expansion rate of our three-dimensional universe.”

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Apr 21, 2017

A naked singularity: Can we spot the most extreme object in the universe?

Posted by in categories: cosmology, physics, singularity

A team of scientists at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai, India, have found new ways to detect a bare or naked singularity, the most extreme object in the universe.

When the fuel of a very massive star is spent, it collapses due to its own gravitational pull and eventually becomes a very small region of arbitrarily high matter density, that is a ‘Singularity’, where the usual laws of physics may breakdown. If this singularity is hidden within an event horizon, which is an invisible closed surface from which nothing, not even light, can escape, then we call this object a black hole.

In such a case, we cannot see the singularity and we do not need to bother about its effects. But what if the event horizon does not form? In fact, Einstein’s theory of general relativity does predict such a possibility when massive stars collapse at the end of their life-cycles. In this case, we are left with the tantalizing option of observing a naked singularity.

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Apr 14, 2017

Zoltan Istvan — Cybrink Podcast #3

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, singularity, transhumanism

A new 45-min video podcast interview I did with Cybrink on #transhumanism, my #libertarian run for Governor, and the singularity:


Cybrink talks with Zoltan Istvan about transhumanism, artificial intelligence, the singularity and his run for Governor of California in 2018.

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Apr 6, 2017

Human-Level AI Are Probably A Lot Closer Than You Think

Posted by in categories: business, robotics/AI, singularity

Although some thinkers use the term “singularity” to refer to any dramatic paradigm shift in the way we think and perceive our reality, in most conversations The Singularity refers to the point at which AI surpasses human intelligence. What that point looks like, though, is subject to debate, as is the date when it will happen.

In a recent interview with Inverse, Stanford University business and energy and earth sciences graduate student Damien Scott provided his definition of singularity: the moment when humans can no longer predict the motives of AI. Many people envision singularity as some apocalyptic moment of truth with a clear point of epiphany. Scott doesn’t see it that way.

“We’ll start to see narrow artificial intelligence domains that keep getting better than the best human,” Scott told Inverse. Calculators already outperform us, and there’s evidence that within two to three years, AI will outperform the best radiologists in the world. In other words, the singularity is already happening across each specialty and industry touched by AI — which, soon enough, will be all of them. If you’re of the mind that the singularity means catastrophe for humans, this likens the process for humans to the experience of the frogs placed into the pot of water that slowly comes to a boil: that is to say, killing us so slowly that we don’t notice it’s already begun.

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Apr 5, 2017

Ray Kurzweil responds to fears

Posted by in categories: Ray Kurzweil, robotics/AI, singularity

Ray is not worried about A.I. though he does not dismiss the dangers.


James Bedsol interviewed Ray Kurzweil, one of the world’s leading minds on artificial intelligence, technology and futurism, in his Google office in Mountain View, CA, February 15, 2017.

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Apr 5, 2017

CeBIT 2017- Ray Kurzweil Keynote: The Future is Brighter Than We Think

Posted by in categories: internet, Ray Kurzweil, singularity

Ray Kurzweil is probably the most qualified individual to talk about the future of technology. He does it at CeBIT in a captivating presentation about technologies that will be as important as the internet. Ray is an Inventor, Entrepreneur, Futurist, Writer, founder of the Singularity University and now at Google. (Intro is temporally missing). March 2017.

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Apr 1, 2017

Can Futurists Predict the Year of the Singularity?

Posted by in categories: Ray Kurzweil, robotics/AI, singularity

The end of the world as we know it is near. And that’s a good thing, according to many of the futurists who are predicting the imminent arrival of what’s been called the technological singularity.

The technological singularity is the idea that technological progress, particularly in artificial intelligence, will reach a tipping point to where machines are exponentially smarter than humans. It has been a hot topic of late.

Well-known futurist and Google engineer Ray Kurzweil (co-founder and chancellor of Singularity University) reiterated his bold prediction at Austin’s South by Southwest (SXSW) festival this month that machines will match human intelligence by 2029 (and has said previously the Singularity itself will occur by 2045). That’s two years before SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son’s prediction of 2047, made at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) earlier this year.

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Mar 27, 2017

Elon Musk’s new co could allow uploading, downloading thoughts: Wall Street Journal

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, Elon Musk, neuroscience, singularity

This is big: Is the Singularity a step closer?

Tesla Inc founder and Chief Executive Elon Musk has launched a company called Neuralink Corp through which computers could merge with human brains, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Neuralink is pursuing what Musk calls the “neural lace” technology, implanting tiny brain electrodes that may one day upload and download thoughts, the Journal reported. (on.wsj.com/2naUATf)

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Mar 26, 2017

The Singularity Will Come In 2029

Posted by in categories: life extension, singularity

Google’s chief futurist says that humans could start living forever by 2029.

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