A Conversation for The Vingean Singularity

Marooned in unreal time :-)

Post 1

paulh. Antisocial distancing works a well as the Social kind

When I saw "Vingean singularity" on the front page, I
hoped that Vernor Vinge was somehow connected. I read
his first two books ("The Peace war," and "Marooned in
Real Time"), and then couldn't make head nor tail of
his next one.

But I think he drops some hints of the singularity in "Marooned..."
when he has a few surivors transported (via "bobbles")
fifty million years into the future, only to find that
the rest of the human race has vanished. Where did they
go? Well, they must have advanced so rapidly and so far
that they went to the next stage of existence, which
is not visible to us on this earthly plane. This can be
answered in other ways, e.g. negative advancement (analogous
to "negative growth" smiley - winkeye ) which made the species nonviable
(nice euphemism, eh? smiley - bigeyes .

But to get back to your nice article: it isn't until your
conclusion section that the necessary counterpoints get
addressed. Yes, probably a rapidly advancing computer-created
system of computers would generate so much heat that it
incinerated the planet. One hopes that these supercomputers
will have previously devised ways to get themselves (and,
hopefully, us if we are nice to them) onto another planet that can
stand the heat (or that needs extra heat, like Pluto maybe).

One caveat of my own: The trees don't grow to the sky.
This is not original, but on the other hand I don't know
who originated it. Maybe someone from the Mad Philosophers'

Marooned in unreal time :-)

Post 2


I have no idea who told you trees don't grow to the sky. It's true, I guess. (Sure, it depends on how you define "sky", but that's a bit silly. That's kind of like saying that it depends on how you define "tree", "grow", etc.) But try to prove that trees ~will never~ grow to the sky, and you'll have to start theorising. Who knows what the process of evolution will do to our currently height challenged trees? smiley - smiley

As for the connection to Vinge, he has in fact written a whole paper/article/thing about the Singularity. I'd link to it, but that's not allowed in the forums. Plus it's not very interesting, I'm afraid.

Thanks for the subtle compliment. Thought I'd miss that "nice", didn't you? smiley - winkeye

Marooned in unreal time :-)

Post 3

paulh. Antisocial distancing works a well as the Social kind

Hi, iaoth.

I tracked down the source for the "Trees don't grow to the sky"
quote. Nikita Khrushchev seems to be the one responsible.
Still, maybe he got it from his grandmother, who read it on
a vodka bottle. Who knows? smiley - smiley In any event, you are right to
point out that it didn't say "can't grow" or "will never grow."
Maybe these trees can grow, but don't wish to. Or maybe
they're not ready to.

I also tracked down what is probably the Vinge paper you
mentioned, delivered by Vinge at NASA, 1993. It will take
me a while to absorb it. If the Singularity occurs closer to
2030 than 2005, I will be close to 80, and might not enjoy it
(or anything else, for that matter....). Looking on the bright
side, if that rogue asteroid that _might_ hit this planet gets
too close in 2029, perhaps the supercomputers will be able to
mobilize to avert the impact.

Thanks for the tip. smiley - smiley

Marooned in unreal time :-)

Post 4


Glad to be of help. smiley - smiley I think you found the right Vinge paper. For further information, I recommend the KurzweilAI website. There's a link in the Entry to Kurzweil's book précis; you should be able to find more info from there.

By 2029, we might not even live on Earth anymore... smiley - smiley

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