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  #26  
Old 12-08-2012, 04:49 PM
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Default Re: Ensign Steve waxes philosophical on the Singularity, a thrad by Ensign Steve

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Originally Posted by Ensign Steve View Post
Post the zeroeth wherein I hedge a whole bunch before post the first

I like this topic a lot. Seriously, I think about it probably 99% of the time. I have wanted to start a thrad and type about it at great length for a while, but I keep not doing so for several reasons:

- It is super indulgent and navel-gazey, and it's hard for me to take myself seriously for very long when I get like this, at least in public. Call it social conditioning or faux modesty, but it is what it is.

- There is no shortage of insight porn on the internet, and I didn't feel like I needed to add to the noise, especially when people with far more effective rhetorical style have said the same or similar things already. George Carlin I am not.

- I fear (probably rationally) that it will be riddled with assumptions and unchecked bias on my part, and I don't want to offend anybody or embarrass myself. What if it turns out I'm not as awesome and enlightened as I think I am?! :gasp:

- Whenever I try, I start with some sort of thesis to maintain or conclusion to drive toward, but once I start unloading it branches exponentially and I find myself trying to compose Ensign Steve's Grand Unified Theory of Everything. That's when I get overwhelmed and quit.

Okay, so, hedges have been hedged. Standby for insight. This is in Philosophy and not Computers and Technology, for reasons that I hope will be obvious, but it has a whole lot to do with computers, so go ahead and start getting excited about that.
I am getting exited too, and I have also a whole lot of feelings about computers, but i have a rule for my self , and that is do what you like to do and fuck the rest. Only your BEST of friends or family you can give a little attention.

If I had a computer like now when I was say 17, I would be lost forever.

I HAD moments when I downloaded movies and such, I would hear the music
:notes:"I GOT THE POWER!!":notes: Master of the universe!
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  #27  
Old 12-08-2012, 09:14 PM
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Default Re: Ensign Steve waxes philosophical on the Singularity, a thrad by Ensign Steve

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Originally Posted by Dragar View Post
So my opinion is a bit above my station, but I work with a number machine cognition people (one of whom transferred over from a neuroscience academic career path) and seems to align roughly the same with them.

We're in no danger of a singularity any time soon - our computers and our way of programming computers appears to be fundamentlally different to how biological computers work. And I am fairly convinced that our notions of intelligence hinge on that sort of functionality.

And to make things worse, to draw on Ensign Steve's point that we don't understand how our current computers work - we really don't understand how biological computers work.
Well, then, what is the technological singularity that we're in no danger of? The definition that most use is of 'smarter than human intelligence,' or of systems that function in ways we don't understand.

So what does that mean, anyway? Computers have been faster and more reliable than us at certain types of tasks pretty much forever. It's not that humangs--and I mean humangs in the universal or collective sense, not existential--are incapable of understanding how to do math, but we don't feel like it because math is boring and stupid so we let the boring and stupid computers do it instead. Even if a computer is doing some kind of calculation that we literally don't have the collective time for, like if every person in the world were to collaborate on it, it still doesn't make it unfathomable. It's not doing something totally inconceivable, it's just doing too many conceivable things for us to keep up with sans computers.

For technology to actually do something that is beyond human comprehension, it would have to employ some kind of supernatural force.

So again with language. Humans are capable of using natural human languages innately, but we are not capable of describing them. Early attempts at natural language processing were sort of brute force rule-describing programs, but there is only so far we could go with that because of the sheer volume of rules, and because we haven't articulated most of them yet. We could. There are rules. We don't have time for that shit is all. So modern NLP focuses more on machine learning. That is, rather than trying to write down all the rules that govern language, computers observe language as it's used and make their own observations just like human children do. Computers still can't do this at the level that humans do by a long stretch, but they're already doing things that people haven't fully articulated, similar to the way people do.

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In a sense, they are beyond human comprehension (there are so many interpretations of every word). Time and resources are limited, but it's also a societal problem (we are science-fiction nurds,[*] so let's say the neural network of our species super-organism is dysfunctional and because of that the information processing.. OK forget that, you know what I mean).

As a society, we don't seem to have that much of an idea of what we're doing there. Actually, ideas abound, but they don't translate into effective action. We are in the middle of a disaster, we have mountains of good data about it, but the information processing is just fucked up. People still behave a lot like a herd of zombies, so it takes only small pushes in particular directions by the professional perception-manipulators ("PR industry") to control everything.
That's why it's important to distinguish between the universal and existential human. One individual person doesn't have to understand something. If that were the standard, in my case for example, the stock market would literally be some kind of magical fantasy land ruled by warlocks or something, because I dunno. I am capable of understanding it, and back when I was young and needed the money, I had some dark chapters in my life where I had to become a little conversant in it, but I am not dedicating any of my precious long term memory on the stupid stock market.

Other people understand it, though, and hypothetically, I could understand it myself if I were forced to. I just dunwanna because that is part of the human understanding that is only for assholes.

And that extends to other human knowledge too.

And there are certain types of information (not all) that are pretty accurately discovered by the wisdom of crowds, but every discrete person in the crowd could be individually wrong.

Of course, not all types of information are like that, and that crowd wisdom can be very effectively manipulated with shiny stuff, like, ummm, Brave New World,** which is exactly what is happening now with consumer model technology, and we should be very very worried about that.

* For the record, I am not a science fiction nurd. I have not really been into science fiction since I was a kid, so I really only know what people are talking about with stuff like Skynet from the context, and from looking shit up on the internet. Science fiction shortcuts are longcuts for poor old Lisa Pea.

** Check me out, adapting my communications in order to accommodate the interests and proclivities of you young hepcats, making references to various Star Tracks and shit.
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  #28  
Old 12-08-2012, 10:01 PM
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Default Re: Ensign Steve waxes philosophical on the Singularity, a thrad by Ensign Steve

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That's why it's important to distinguish between the universal and existential human. One individual person doesn't have to understand something.
Do you mean an individual person doesn't have to understand every single detail to understand something?

Quote:
If that were the standard, in my case for example, the stock market would literally be some kind of magical fantasy land ruled by warlocks or something,
It isn't a fantasy land ruled by warlocks?

I'd drop the "magical" though. But a warlock has to be magical, right? Let's say a fantasy land ruled by people with dark souls.

Quote:
* For the record, I am not a science fiction nurd.
Nor am I. I meant we are for the purposes of this thread.

Quote:
I have not really been into science fiction since I was a kid,
LOL, it's the same in my case. The difference is that you're old, and the Terminator was on when I was a kid.

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so I really only know what people are talking about with stuff like Skynet from the context,
That's more than enough. I probably got it wrong anyway.
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  #29  
Old 12-08-2012, 11:49 PM
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Default Re: Ensign Steve waxes philosophical on the Singularity, a thrad by Ensign Steve

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Originally Posted by But View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by lisarea View Post
That's why it's important to distinguish between the universal and existential human. One individual person doesn't have to understand something.
Do you mean an individual person doesn't have to understand every single detail to understand something?
Well, when you put it that way, it sounds all dumb and shit, so I will award you three points.

Anyways, I just reread what I poasted before, and it sounds like I'm being snarky or confrontational about that "Well, what is the singularity, then?" part, but I am actually serious. I actually really don't understand what the perception is of what the singularity is.

I have not read the Vernor Vinge thing since [calculating....] 1999, and am only just looking at it again now, in light of intervening events; and I don't see anything jumping out at me that hasn't happened unless you interpret the parts where he's talking about 'awake' systems as being sentient, or maybe have some strict definition of the type of 'interface.' (Maybe I think the literal, physical interface might be the biplane.)

The other main interpretation, which I think is what ES was getting at, was the fundamental change in how we do things. Like a great convergence of disruptive technologies. Which has pretty much definitely happened, or at least is well on its way.

So I really can't think of a real argument that the Singularity isn't here or soon to be, based on my understanding of it. I'm sincerely asking what the pivotal criteria are, because I think I'm missing something.

Quote:
Quote:
* For the record, I am not a science fiction nurd.
Nor am I. I meant we are for the purposes of this thread.
Ha, so you mean the collective of 'we.' Individually, you and I are still cool guys, though, and Ensign Steve supplies the nurd.

But she is gone until Wednesday.

WEDNESDAY.

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  #30  
Old 12-09-2012, 12:18 AM
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Default Re: Ensign Steve waxes philosophical on the Singularity, a thrad by Ensign Steve

You are p. old, though.
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  #31  
Old 12-09-2012, 12:29 AM
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Default Re: Ensign Steve waxes philosophical on the Singularity, a thrad by Ensign Steve

You know who else is old, though?

That's right. Edward Twilights, the vampire.

See? I just talked more Star Tracks, like a young person. I AM EXTREMELY WITH IT, I WILL HAVE YOU KNOW.
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  #32  
Old 12-09-2012, 01:07 AM
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Default Re: Ensign Steve waxes philosophical on the Singularity, a thrad by Ensign Steve

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Originally Posted by lisarea View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by But View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by lisarea View Post
That's why it's important to distinguish between the universal and existential human. One individual person doesn't have to understand something.
Do you mean an individual person doesn't have to understand every single detail to understand something?
Well, when you put it that way, it sounds all dumb and shit, so I will award you three points.
:glare: Thanks, I guess.

I'm still not sure if I understand what you meant. Also, that is really mean. You quoted something I said, then said "that's why", and then you write something I don't understand. If you fall over dead now, I will go insane.

Can you do this part again:

Quote:
That's why it's important to distinguish between the universal and existential human. One individual person doesn't have to understand something. If that were the standard, in my case for example, the stock market would literally be some kind of magical fantasy land ruled by warlocks or something, because I dunno.
and explain it for dumb people?
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  #33  
Old 12-09-2012, 01:42 AM
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Default Re: Ensign Steve waxes philosophical on the Singularity, a thrad by Ensign Steve

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Originally Posted by But View Post

:glare: Thanks, I guess.

I'm still not sure if I understand what you meant. Also, that is really mean. You quoted something I said, then said "that's why", and then you write something I don't understand. If you fall over dead now, I will go insane.
Oh. I thought you were making fun of ME. :glare: This is the kind of thing that happens in sitcoms.

What I meant is that 'human intelligence' in that sense doesn't, or IMO shouldn't, mean the individual intelligence of one person, because that really usually is p. stupid. I assumed it referred to collective, or maybe better cumulative, intelligence. So just because I don't understand the stock market doesn't mean that it's not a part of human intelligence as a whole.

Quote:
Can you do this part again:

Quote:
That's why it's important to distinguish between the universal and existential human. One individual person doesn't have to understand something. If that were the standard, in my case for example, the stock market would literally be some kind of magical fantasy land ruled by warlocks or something, because I dunno.
and explain it for dumb people?
I am accidentally making it sound too fancy, I think. I just mean to distinguish a given individual (existential, ∃) human intelligence from collective (universal, ∀) knowledge. That's all I meant, that there's no single intellectual task that a computer can do that some human or another can't also do, even if it's outside the expertise of a specific human or some speculative average 'wisdom of crowds' personified human.

So a computer can do [fancy math problem] that, say, Ensign Steve* can't personally do, and also that most people couldn't do collectively, like if you put it to a popular vote. I'm just saying that doesn't mean that [fancy math problem] is outside the realm of human intelligence.

* Because she's not here.
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  #34  
Old 12-11-2012, 10:12 PM
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Default Re: Ensign Steve waxes philosophical on the Singularity, a thrad by Ensign Steve

FYI I am sort of here and I am thanking and doing email and Facebook and shit. Turns out its possible to stay hooked up from pretty remote places. Typing on the iPads a bitch though. And I did not bring my laptop! On purpose! bey brought his and he has been working. Nerd! :hoot:
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  #35  
Old 12-12-2012, 01:20 AM
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Default Re: Ensign Steve waxes philosophical on the Singularity, a thrad by Ensign Steve

NO. YOU HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL WEDNESDAY JUST LIKE EVERBODY ELSE.
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  #36  
Old 12-12-2012, 01:45 AM
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Default Re: Ensign Steve waxes philosophical on the Singularity, a thrad by Ensign Steve

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Beep boop. I am a humang made from meat, in the geographic location of 'Jamaica,' where I am vacationing with my meat-husband, thus proving that I am not an incorporeal entity that exists only on the internet.

Shutting down...please wait. ***END***
:yup:
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  #37  
Old 12-12-2012, 02:14 PM
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Default Re: Ensign Steve waxes philosophical on the Singularity, a thrad by Ensign Steve

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Quote:
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So my opinion is a bit above my station, but I work with a number machine cognition people (one of whom transferred over from a neuroscience academic career path) and seems to align roughly the same with them.

We're in no danger of a singularity any time soon - our computers and our way of programming computers appears to be fundamentlally different to how biological computers work. And I am fairly convinced that our notions of intelligence hinge on that sort of functionality.

And to make things worse, to draw on Ensign Steve's point that we don't understand how our current computers work - we really don't understand how biological computers work.
Well, then, what is the technological singularity that we're in no danger of? The definition that most use is of 'smarter than human intelligence,' or of systems that function in ways we don't understand.

So what does that mean, anyway? Computers have been faster and more reliable than us at certain types of tasks pretty much forever. It's not that humangs--and I mean humangs in the universal or collective sense, not existential--are incapable of understanding how to do math, but we don't feel like it because math is boring and stupid so we let the boring and stupid computers do it instead. Even if a computer is doing some kind of calculation that we literally don't have the collective time for, like if every person in the world were to collaborate on it, it still doesn't make it unfathomable. It's not doing something totally inconceivable, it's just doing too many conceivable things for us to keep up with sans computers.

For technology to actually do something that is beyond human comprehension, it would have to employ some kind of supernatural force.

So again with language. Humans are capable of using natural human languages innately, but we are not capable of describing them. Early attempts at natural language processing were sort of brute force rule-describing programs, but there is only so far we could go with that because of the sheer volume of rules, and because we haven't articulated most of them yet. We could. There are rules. We don't have time for that shit is all. So modern NLP focuses more on machine learning. That is, rather than trying to write down all the rules that govern language, computers observe language as it's used and make their own observations just like human children do. Computers still can't do this at the level that humans do by a long stretch, but they're already doing things that people haven't fully articulated, similar to the way people do.
When most people refer to the singularity, they talk about the point machines become capable of designing more intelligent machines. Hence the rate at which computers progress diverges, or the timescale of development becomes singular (hence the name - a similar thing does happen with black holes, but not at the event horizon unless you work in silly coordinates).

I don't disagree we could make Chinese-room like constructions if we had the time and inclination, and thare are even some who make the case that this would be intelligence of a sort - perhaps even similar to human intelligence, if sufficiently sped up. But I agree with you that a better approach is the inference/machine learning one.

And yes, computers are getting better at that. And I think parallelism is a bigger paradigm shift than people realise when it comes to doing that sort of thing. But it's hard - really hard. And the successes we have are essentially brute force tecniques of doing what biological systems are clearly doing much, much better jobs of. With processor speed no longer doubling every couple of years (far from it), we can't just add more brute force computational power to solve the problem. I'm excited to see what happens next, but pessimistic it will be anything dramatic in machine intelligence within our lifetime.
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  #38  
Old 12-12-2012, 08:08 PM
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Default Re: Ensign Steve waxes philosophical on the Singularity, a thrad by Ensign Steve

:unwhosthat: :examine: :look:


:loud:
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  #39  
Old 12-13-2012, 12:39 AM
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Default Re: Ensign Steve waxes philosophical on the Singularity, a thrad by Ensign Steve

My junior project became self aware, but quickly realized it had no sensory organs nor appendages of any kind and lived in north Jersey. It established communication with my laptop and wiped its files, then shorted its logic device to ground through the output buffers.

I was able to deduce all of this when I found that my firmware files were missing and smoke issued forth from the breadboard.
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Old 12-13-2012, 04:51 AM
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Default Re: Ensign Steve waxes philosophical on the Singularity, a thrad by Ensign Steve

We just got in a little bit ago, and I work like 13 hours tomorrow, no exaggeration.

:plzhold:
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Old 12-13-2012, 05:37 AM
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Default Re: Ensign Steve waxes philosophical on the Singularity, a thrad by Ensign Steve

i just came back from the shed and i was thinking...

what if our consciousness actually springs from technology and our desire to make a better human through science isn't humankind's need to better itself, but technology's need to make the ultimate machine? i mean...just using tools made our brains grow. those tools know what they are doing.

humanity- the ultimate tool.
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Old 12-16-2012, 06:58 PM
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Default Re: Ensign Steve waxes philosophical on the Singularity, a thrad by Ensign Steve

:cough: :cough:

I am not even sure where this link came from. I just sort of found it there in a tab in my browser. So if somebody else poasted it already, :dealwithit:. (:cough: imus :cough:)

Robots! | The Weeklings

:cough: :cough: (mirrored) :cough: :cough: (mirrored) :cough: :cough: (mirrored) :cough: :cough: (mirrored) :cough: :cough: (mirrored)
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  #43  
Old 12-16-2012, 07:03 PM
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Default Re: Ensign Steve waxes philosophical on the Singularity, a thrad by Ensign Steve

:brooding:
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  #44  
Old 12-16-2012, 07:08 PM
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Default Re: Ensign Steve waxes philosophical on the Singularity, a thrad by Ensign Steve

Oh, and also, this, which came indirectly through Yang(uL) on the pinterests:

Mechademia 3: Limits of the Human: Frenchy Lunning: 9780816654826: Amazon.com: Books

I don't know why you're mad, drusus. It's not like I was the one who forgot to make a :dealwithit:
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  #45  
Old 12-16-2012, 08:14 PM
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Default Re: Ensign Steve waxes philosophical on the Singularity, a thrad by Ensign Steve

I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about.
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  #46  
Old 12-20-2012, 09:29 PM
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Default Re: Ensign Steve waxes philosophical on the Singularity, a thrad by Ensign Steve

So I'm trying to decide where to put this--in the open source fight thrad, where we were already talking about implanted medical devices; or here, where I can bump the thrad and make Ensign Steve feel guilty for TOTALLY IGNORING THE SINGULARITY. I picked that.

How a Simple Smartphone Can Turn Your Car, Home, or Medical Device into a Deadly Weapon | Vanity Fair

It highlights pretty well what the creepiest thing is right now, the trend where, as people become more and more dependent on smart technologies, they're also becoming more and more ignorant about how they work.
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  #47  
Old 12-20-2012, 10:31 PM
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Default Re: Ensign Steve waxes philosophical on the Singularity, a thrad by Ensign Steve

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Originally Posted by lisarea View Post
or here, where I can bump the thrad and make Ensign Steve feel guilty for TOTALLY IGNORING THE SINGULARITY
And it might have worked, too, if you hadn't picked the night of my wedding anniversary to do it. :hoot:

See you later, losers! :salute: I got better things to do.
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  #48  
Old 12-20-2012, 10:55 PM
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Default Re: Ensign Steve waxes philosophical on the Singularity, a thrad by Ensign Steve

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It highlights pretty well what the creepiest thing is right now, the trend where, as people become more and more dependent on smart technologies, they're also becoming more and more ignorant about how they work.
Couple that with the entropy thing where it gets easier and easier to destroy stuff, and the end of the planet is going to look like "Pull my finger".
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Old 12-30-2012, 07:12 PM
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Default Re: Ensign Steve waxes philosophical on the Singularity, a thrad by Ensign Steve

Oh, hi, Ensign Steve. I hope you don't mind if I put some things in your LONG ABANDONED GHOST THRAD ABOUT THE SINGULARITY, WHICH YOU DON'T EVEN CARE ABOUT AT ALL.

This isn't really directly singularity-related unless you stretch a bit, and TBH, it's not even really super-insightful, either, but it's true and it addresses a general thing that's been nagging at me of late:

All Journalism Is Tech Journalism Now | TechCrunch

The thing is that technology really isn't a separate topic anymore at all, not just in journalism. It is no longer an optional, niche subject that can be separated from everything else. It's already integrated into just about everything as it is, and has created new niches and channels that didn't exist before. And it's going to continue to do that, so that in coming decades, people will be dependent on things that don't even exist now.

So, as for why it's bugging me, for example, I have a friend with a teenaged son who doesn't care about computers, and I have a hard time impressing upon her that it's really not a subject he can safely ignore. It's not a discrete subject, it's not a discrete career path. It's a thing everyone depends on and uses. Being technically illiterate is rapidly approaching the point where it's like being actually illiterate. You'll be able to get by, but not well and not easily, and not without depending on others a lot, making you an easy mark.

And it's not just an individual thing, either. Technology has been advancing and more importantly integrating so quickly and so opaquely that technical knowledge of how things actually work and what they actually do is rapidly being concentrated into a smaller and smaller group of people. It seems that there's already been a turning point in technology adoption. It used to be that early adopters were mostly tinkerers and people who cared about the technology itself, but that seems to be turning around completely, so it's less technically literate people who are the bigger technology consumers and the ones really driving and defining demand in the consumer market.

And that worries me a whole lot, which is what I wanted to say.
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Old 12-30-2012, 08:39 PM
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Default Re: Ensign Steve waxes philosophical on the Singularity, a thrad by Ensign Steve

One of my favorite quotes is Carl Sagan talking about how we're setting things up so that we depend more and more on science and technology, even as we make it so fewer and fewer people understand that science and technology.

It worries me, too.
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