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Archive for the ‘Star Trek’ tag

Oct 30, 2014

Amit Singhal (at Google): Will your computer plan change your life?

Posted by in categories: lifeboat, posthumanism, robotics/AI, science

This archive file was compiled from an interview conducted at the Googleplex in Mountain View, California, 2013. In the discussion, Amit Singhal, a key figure in the evolution of Google’s search engine, broadly outlined the significant hurdles that stood in the way of achieving one of his long-held dreams — creating a true ‘conversational’ search engine. He also sketched out a vision of how the initial versions of such a system would, and also importantly, would not attempt to assist the individuals that it interacted with.

Though the vision was by design more limited and focused than a system capable of passing the famous Turing test, it nonetheless raised stimulating questions about the future relationships of humans and their ‘artificial’ assistants.

More about Amit Singhal:

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Oct 23, 2014

Who is Amit Singhal (at Google)?

Posted by in categories: futurism, lifeboat, science, transhumanism

This archive file was compiled from an interview conducted at the Googleplex in Mountain View, California, 2013.

As late as the 1980s and the 1990s, the common person seeking stored knowledge would likely be faced with using an 18th century technology — the library index card catalogue — in order to find something on the topic he or she was looking for. Fifteen years later, most people would be able to search, at any time and any place, a collection of information that dwarfed that of any library. And unlike the experience with a library card catalogue, this new technology rarely left the user empty-handed.

Information retrieval had been a core technology of humanity since written language — but as an actual area of research it was so niche that before the 1950s, nobody had bothered to give the field a name. From a superficial perspective, the pioneering work in the area during the 1940s and 50s seemed to suggest it would be monumentally important to the future — but only behind the scenes. Information retrieval was to be the secret tool of the nation at war, or of the elite scientist compiling massive amounts of data. Increasingly however, a visionary group of thinkers dreamed of combining information retrieval and the ‘thinking machine’ to create something which would be far more revolutionary for society.

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Sep 29, 2012

Debunking Time Travel (Looper)

Posted by in categories: media & arts, physics, policy, space

Previous Post in this Debunking Series.

I just watched Looper the movie. It is such a good movie and a great story. But then I’m biased. Anything with Bruce Willis is a great movie. Bruce Willis is getting older, which reminds me so am I!

For those who have not watched Looper I won’t give the story away … Looper is a must watch for science fiction fans. And there were other great movies and episodes about time travel. The three Back to the Future, and the Star Trek episodes, for starters.

That was the good news, and now for the bad news. Time travel is impossible. The mathematics behind time travel is excellent, but the physics is not. In contemporary physics, the mechanism of time travel requires wormholes. You get into a wormhole on one side and you pop out the other side either in the future or in the past, depending on what the wormhole was designed to do.

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