July 10, 2003 1:03 PM   Subscribe

What Happens When Technology Zooms Off the Chart? (pdf) Singularity is the subject of the Spring 2003 issue of Whole Earth magazine.
posted by Ty Webb (14 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
why does it have to be in pdf? why can't it just be html?
posted by insomnyuk at 1:07 PM on July 10, 2003

Another heaping helping of futurist propaganda. I didn't think we would be plunged into war and recession at the turn of the century, that's for damn sure. Why is it that 1999 seems a whole lot more fucking futuristic then 2003!?
posted by delmoi at 1:08 PM on July 10, 2003

why does it have to be in pdf? why can't it just be html?

Google's html version
posted by eddydamascene at 1:17 PM on July 10, 2003

"Rapture of the Geeks." - Hee.

I have often felt this way about AI - like it is some sort of techno-religion, only we are the Gods. AI discussion always seems to end in evolution or destruction. I would be surprised if either extreme happened. To be sure, if AI causes evolution we will take all the credit, if AI causes destruction, it will take all the blame.
posted by jopreacher at 1:24 PM on July 10, 2003

Why is it that 1999 seems a whole lot more fucking futuristic then 2003!?

Haha. Good point. Moore's law assumes the continued economic health of the world.

I'm amazed that even after the 75% collapse of the Nikkei, the Japanese still manage to outpace out consumer electronics by like 3 years.
posted by Pinwheel at 1:26 PM on July 10, 2003

"Ah, the Singularity! We yearn for it and fear it. It looms up before us, a cipher, a riddle, a limit horizon beyond which our puny minds can go no further. We are dragged towards it even as we dig in our heels and are pulled along against our will, but for those brave captains of technology, science and industry who lead the charge. "Onward" they cry, "We must sail to the Edge of the Earth, to the Edge of the Universe, to the End of Reality itself. And beyond! Onward!!

Cut, to Rod Serling-like voice, [ camera shot of banks and banks of computer servers, shots of antique wiring tangles decades old - the best the image bank boys could do - signifying the scary and almost organic nature of the emerging technological sphere. ] The music/soundtrack background is an ominous, flat pulsing drone

Rod Serling voiced narrative: "Here in Starlab's Artificial Brain Project in Brussels, Belgium, Dr. Hugo de Garis is building "Starbrain", a 100 million dollar project he hopes wil be the first of the "Artilects", a term De Garis coined."

[ music - distant and slightly dissonantly cracked monotonal choir "Aaaaahhhhhh....."]

Rod Serling: In his own words, De Garis has said: " deny the creation of the first true artilect, which would be "worth" a trillion, trillion, trillion human beings, would be a far greater tragedy, a "cosmic" tragedy. For me, the tragedy of seeing the human species wiped out is less significant than not seeing the birth of the artilects. This sounds monstrous, and it is, in human terms...."

[ cut, to footage of industrial robots welding together Volkswagon Passats, and then to an Intel's chip factory, where microchips are rolling along a miniature conveyor.

Rod Serling: "Here at Intel's ___microprocessor facility, the limits of the tiny, and the continuation of what is called "Moore's Law", are constantly being tested..........(blah blah blah. Serling goes on........

[Fadeout, to white blinding light ]
posted by troutfishing at 1:33 PM on July 10, 2003

Why is it that 1999 seems a whole lot more fucking futuristic then 2003!?

~belly laugh~

Interesting link, Ty. Some of us, of course, still breathlessly await the arrival of human intelligence, let alone the Advent of a superlative artificial intelligence.

But your link brings to mind Douglas Hofstadter quoting philosopher and composer John Myhill:

Myhill is bold enough to speculate as follows: "The analogue of Godel's theorem for aesthetics would therefore be: There is no school of art which permits the production of all beauty and excludes the production of all ugliness." To each coin there are two sides; and the obverse side of beauty is ugliness. By a rather ironic coincidence, the complementary set to a productive (or prospective) set is called, in the jargon of mathematical logic, creative. It must be admitted that it would take a stupendously brilliant, if perverse, sort of creativity to produce all possible ugly objects."
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 2:00 PM on July 10, 2003

Some of us, of course, still breathlessly await the arrival of human intelligence

It's a cookbook!
posted by kindall at 3:02 PM on July 10, 2003

It's a cookbook!

Some of us, of course, still breathlessly await the arrival of human intelligence....but we didn't have to wait all that long for mincemeat.... nor did we need a cookbook, eh pertinent one?

posted by fold_and_mutilate at 3:27 PM on July 10, 2003

Thanks for the help eddy.
posted by insomnyuk at 3:37 PM on July 10, 2003

See, the whole problem with the idea of "THE SINGULARITY" (...cue music...) is that we're not making "minds" when we make computers.

And, mind you, unless we build something that is both reallly smart and really creative (or even mildly creative), then its not going to go all singular on us. It'll just be able to factor bigger numbers faster.

That is, unless the connectionists are right in the most trivial case.
posted by bshort at 4:16 PM on July 10, 2003

Tangent: in T3, when Skynet became aware, why didn't anyone just disconnect a backbone?

AI always seems so breathless, but hello, if they get out of control, pull a plug.
posted by solistrato at 8:29 PM on July 10, 2003

Many of the articles available online from this to-be-issue of Whole Earth are quite critical of the notion of the Singularity as utopian or inevitable. It's pretty excellent reading if you ask me.

I'm wondering if a subscription would help them out or whether I should just donate. The suggested $50 is a little steep.
posted by sudama at 9:01 PM on July 10, 2003

Hello Skynet.
posted by mecran01 at 7:00 AM on July 11, 2003

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