A Conversation for The Vingean Singularity [Obsolete]
Martin Harper Started conversation Mar 19, 2001
Here's another thought, related to what you say in the conclusion. Steal what you like...
Some people dismiss the idea of a Singularity by pointing at physical limitations that would prevent it. For example, they might point to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle to put a definate limit on the amount of information (and hence the speed of computer) that you can store in a given amount of space.
Such limits have a history of failing to hold. In the 19th Century, it was 'proven' that man would never reach the moon: it was calculated that a cannon powerful enough to send a man there would need a barrel taller than Everest, and in any case the G-forces would crush the occupant instantly. These futurologists clearly didn't reckon with the invention of the rocket.
But if the limits do hold, then this will make a genuine difference: in a pure Singularity, *all* knowledge will be gained, and *infinite* intelligence will be created - such an intelligence would know everything, and would either know the meaning of life (and work towards it), or know that no such meaning existed, in which case it'd have no reason to do any damage.
In a limited Singularity, we create something vastly superior to ourselves, and do it in an unthinkably short time - but our creation doesn't know the meaning of life either. Such a creation is inherently unpredictable: we don't know what it might do, nor could we comprehend the reasons it would do it. What we do know is that its actions are no more likely to be inherently good or pleasant for its creators than our actions are good for the ape family. An unpleasant prospect.
and another thought:
Imagine going to bed, and waking up to discover that a years progress has happened in a single night. The next night, you find that ten years progress has occured, and you've been fired and replaced by a computer which does the job you used to do several million times more efficiently. The next night, a thousand years progress has occurred, and all your relatives have uploaded themselves into the AstraNet, and want you to join them. You decide to sleep on the problem, and... that's what living through the runup to the Singularity could be like: take care to retain your sanity.
scaryfish Posted Mar 19, 2001
Hmm. Yes, your last point is very valid. In my Comp course, we learnt about that exact thing - future shock. That is, where the technology is changing at such a huge pace that we are unable to keep up.
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