[extropy-chat] "The Spike"- Ray Kurzweil

Damien Broderick thespike at earthlink.net
Fri Oct 31 00:01:08 UTC 2003

Thanks for clarifications, Pietro

----- Original Message -----
From: "pietro ferri" <pietroferri at hotmail.com>
Sent: Thursday, October 30, 2003 5:42 PM

> Of particular interest to
> me is Ray’s timeline and his predictions ( 2019 2029 and 2099). I believe
> that no one has yet produced such a detailed series of predictions ( with
> precise timeline). It would be really great if Damien (and all the others)
> commented in depth.

My sense is that the whole notion of technological singularity *precludes*
detailed prediction. That's what I keep asserting all through my book.
Science is radically unpredictable; technology is tied to somewhat
unpredictable socially-driven discontinuities. As far as I can see, the
Spike might happen any time between next week and the end of the century. Or
a thousand years from now if there's a terrible global disaster. It's
probably happened repeatedly on many other worlds, and could therefore
impact us from outside at any time. And so on. (But I do regard Ray's 2099
as rather surprisingly late for the effects he describes.)

Your specific economic considerations will probably be addressed by the
economically literate on the list--as well as by everyone else. :)

> Also, Damien I feel that you do have several things you disagree with Ray
> about. Why don’t you challenge him directly? After all his latest book is
> called “ Ray Kurzweil versus the critics of strong AI”

I'm not a critic of strong AI, quite the reverse. I have no argument with
Ray in that respect. I'm complaining only about a supposed
`law' that's been operating to create `progress' since the Big Bang. It's a
matter of scale and mechanism. In fact I don't disagree with Ray that the
outliers of complexity have been wandering away from the baseline wall of
simplicity (even Steve Gould didn't deny that), just that it's not this
simple, and it's not a law. Calling it a law makes the idea sound like a
discredited version of `scientific Marxism'.

Dumb luck (and competitive/cooperative survival) took structures to the
takeoff point. After that, it's intelligence and memory and copyable
*recorded* memory (very important) and population density of communicating
brains and surplus... None of which has the slightest bearing on the
unintelligent parts of the cosmos pre-humankind. Which is my one and only
point, and I think Ray needs to make the difference clear, or he'll seem to
be pushing the same crapulous line as the intelligent design bozos.

> Finally, does anyone know when “The Singularity is Near” will finally be
> published?

`“The Singularity is Near” is Not That Near' :)

Damien Broderick

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