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Old 12-07-2012, 09:55 PM
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Default Re: Ensign Steve waxes philosophical on the Singularity, a thrad by Ensign Steve

Originally Posted by Ensign Steve View Post
Post the first a little bit of background

There's a great introduction to what the hell I mean when I say "the singularity" at this link:

IO9: What Is The Singularity And Will You Live To See It?

Basically, the singularity refers to a theoretical point in the future when artificial intelligence created by humans becomes so intelligent that we can no longer control or even comprehend it.
OK. Here are the biplanes I mentioned. They assume that we are the same we as today.

The word "singularity" is borrowed from astrophysics, and has to do with the event horizon around a black hole.
Actually, it's a pole, which is a point where a function tends to infinity. I remember one good point from a talk of Kurzweil, that the exponential growth like we see in Moore's law can be observed in all kinds of other areas of technology too. If you look carefully, you'll notice that exponential functions don't have singularities. The point at the center of a black hole is a singularity, but only because we don't have a working theory of quantum gravity yet. That's where our known laws of physics break down, that's where the analogy breaks down, although it never really took off.

It's something like how since no light or information can escape from the gravity of a black hole, we are not able to observe, measure, or perceive anything on the other side of the event horizon (IANAPhysicist, btw). Similarly, since the artificial intelligence will be beyond our comprehension, it is impossible for us to predict anything about our future after the singularity.
Then they should call it the Event Horizon. It's not like that sounds like anything less mysterious that science fiction nerds can't wank over.

It is a concept that has been played around with a lot in science fiction, like The Terminator, The Matrix, and Battlestar Galactica, just to name a few. Pretty much any time the machines rise up and enslave humanity, that's the singularity. In Terminator, they gave it a date. Judgement Day was August 29, 1997.
In the Terminator, they have a nice twist. That is something (maybe) closer to a singularity, but still nothing like one, namely closed timelike curves. Having one of those enables you to solve NP-complete and even PSPACE-complete problems in polynomial time.

Here's an article that explores the singularity as the rapture of the nerds, which I think is dead on. A lot of us (nerds) don't believe in the Rapture of the Bible, or the Mayans,

or anything supernatural.
Yeah right.
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