[ExI] SXSW - The SINGULARITY: Humanity's Huge Techno Challenge"

Samantha Atkins sjatkins at mac.com
Mon Mar 14 00:27:31 UTC 2011

On Mar 13, 2011, at 1:12 PM, Natasha Vita-More wrote:

> Featured Interactive Panel:  Monday @ 11:00 AM CST.  http://schedule.sxsw.com/events/event_IAP5705
> Will supercomputing intelligences outsmart human-level intelligence? Ray Kurzweil's "The Age of Spiritual Machines" is the world's most known advocacy of a technology breakthrough that will change the face of humanity and the entire world.
It is less relevant whether one advocates technological advancement or not.  What is important in Kurzweil's work is waking people up to radically better possibilities that can be attained via positive use of technological advancements.

> Kurzweil claims that the accelerating, exponential growth of technology will result in such a Singularity.
This tosses in a not so helpful term, Singularity.  There are at least three major notions of what it means as you are quite aware.   And it brings up a lot of unhelpful hopes and fears. 

> But not all technological luminaries agree with Kurzweil. In fact, some suggest nanotechnology as superseding artificial intelligence.

Superseding seems an odd choice of words.  If nanotechnology arrives first, real machine phase nanotechnology, then it will make AGI more likely sooner.   If AGI comes first in sufficient degree and quantity then it is likely to make it much easier to achieve nanotechnology quickly. 
> Others argue for humanity's future as being located in biosynthetics and virtuality.

This is not particularly different from what Kurzweil says and is part of what he has advocated or dream of as future viable improvements.
> Outside the technological sphere, a new culture of DIY citizen scientists could either speed up or halt the Singularity. With a finger on the pulse, ethicists and policy-makers are arguing for a new strategy for assessing our possible futures.
Many of these ethicist have rather scary philosophical and ethical views.   I have said for some time that the most critically important need for achieving the future of our dreams is preserving sufficient freedom to continue the work.  Whether this is by "policy makers" agreeing or by moving to where no/fewer blocking policies are in effect or simply going underground, the work must go on.

> This panel dissects the very core of the Singularity, if and when it will occur, and what we can expect to happen.

I don't believe we are capable of a meaningful, in the sense of deep understanding and high likelihood achieving the most good,  dissection of such a thing.   I think it is dangerously hubristic, especially as a driver for regulation and enforcement, to act as if we can.
- samantha
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