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Old 12-08-2012, 02:25 AM
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lisarea lisarea is offline
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Default Re: Ensign Steve waxes philosophical on the Singularity, a thrad by Ensign Steve

Oh, OK.

I think I was going to say that, like, yeah, while these developments are normal and explicable, they are still an extremely big deal. So while I disagree that they're literally beyond human comprehension (that's limited by time and resources, not ability), which is the standard tipping point, they do have the power to enhance human potential to an extent we haven't seen before.

We already have a sort of convergence going on, where machines are not just replicating and enhancing human intelligence, but other human performance. People with and without disabilities are increasingly able to do more both mentally and physically, to communicate and move around in ways that they haven't before using external computers and implanted devices. So our bodies are pretty literally changing.

And human cognition is no doubt changing to some degree too, as we have information and computational aids available that let us outsource a lot of the things we used to have to occupy ourselves with, like rote memorization and repetitive computations and things, both at an individual level and as a group.

Some of the notions about the singularity I think are a little bit overstated. Like self-awareness and stuff, or about this idea of uploading ourselves to the cloud or something and becoming immortal. I mean, yes, at some level, we are uploading information that could reasonably be defined as some sort of limited purpose humang, but you cannot upload love!

However, we have definitely gotten to a saturation point. We carry extremely powerful computers with at least limited AI functions in our pockets and all scattered throughout our homes, we have computers operating our vehicles and even our bodies. And that is definitely something to be excited and also worried about. Not because the computers themselves are going to become self aware and rise up against us or anything, but because there's another digital divide up past that first one, where there are people who understand and operate and control and manipulate those intelligent systems, and those who are operated and controlled and manipulated by them; and if we don't have a robust and transparent system of oversight put into place to govern those things, it's not really going to matter whether it's self-aware robots or just people operating regular robots that rise up against us.

And I think the big tipping point that we've pretty much definitely passed is the opt out point. I no longer think it's safe or reasonable for a person to opt out of technology, or even to approach it just as a consumer. I mean, not us. We're old. It's too late. But I mean kids. I don't think it's really a good, viable choice for a kid to not learn about technology anymore, because 1) like language, it's much, much harder to pick up as an adult, after you lose your weird kidlike brain plasticity, and 2) if they aren't at least reasonably technically conversant, they're going to be at a huge disadvantage in a lot of different aspects of their lives. It's not just a career path anymore.
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