More Singularity Critiques

Remember what I said yesterday about the Google-Plex developing sentience? It’s not just conspiracy ranting y’know!:

In engineering terms, it is easy to see qualitative similarities between the human brain and the internet’s complex network of nodes, as they both hold, process, recall and transmit information. “The internet behaves a fair bit like a mind,” says Ben Goertzel, chair of the Artificial General Intelligence Research Institute, an organisation inevitably based in cyberspace. “It might already have a degree of consciousness”.

Not that it will necessarily have the same kind of consciousness as humans: it is unlikely to be wondering who it is, for instance. To Francis Heylighen, who studies consciousness and artificial intelligence at the Free University of Brussels (VUB) in Belgium, consciousness is merely a system of mechanisms for making information processing more efficient by adding a level of control over which of the brain’s processes get the most resources. “Adding consciousness is more a matter of fine-tuning and increasing control… than a jump to a wholly different level,” Heylighen says.

How might this manifest itself? Heylighen speculates that it might turn the internet into a self-aware network that constantly strives to become better at what it does, reorganising itself and filling gaps in its own knowledge and abilities.

Now, you can go to the website Ignorance Is Futile right now and see how the blog owner has done quite a bit of research into the Google distributed network; from DARPA’s involvement to Sergei Brin’s stated goals.

These people want to trigger a Technological Singularity.

Is that wise?

Read and decide for yourselves.

Could the net become self-aware?

H/T

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Hear’s more on Ray Kurzweil, Transcendent Man:

* Ray Kurzweil has been described as “the restless genius” by the Wall Street Journal, and “the ultimate thinking machine” by Forbes. Inc. Magazine ranked him #8 among entrepreneurs in the United States, calling him the “rightful heir to Thomas Edison,” and PBS included Ray as one of 16 “revolutionaries who made America,” along with other inventors of the past two centuries. As one of the leading inventors of our time, Ray was the principal developer of the first CCD flat-bed scanner, the first omni-font optical character recognition, the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, the first text-to-speech synthesizer, the first music synthesizer capable of recreating the grand piano and other orchestral instruments, and the first commercially marketed large-vocabulary speech recognition. Ray’s web site Kurzweil AI.net has over one million readers. Among Ray’s many honors, he is the recipient of the $500,000 MIT-Lemelson Prize, the world’s largest for innovation. In 1999, he received the National Medal of Technology, the nation’s highest honor in technology, from President Clinton in a White House ceremony. And in 2002, he was inducted into the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame , established by the US Patent Office. He has received sixteen honorary Doctorates and honors from three U.S. presidents. Ray has written five books, four of which have been national best sellers. The Age of Spiritual Machines has been translated into 9 languages and was the #1 best selling book on Amazon in science. Ray’s latest book, The Singularity is Near, was a New York Times best seller, and has been the #1 book on Amazon in both science and philosophy.

Again, H/T

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Speaking of Google, check this out:

Real-time web search – which scours only the latest updates to services like Twitter – is currently generating quite a buzz because it can provide a glimpse of what people around the world are thinking or doing at any given moment. Interest in this kind of search is so great that, according to recent leaks, Google is considering buying Twitter. (emphasis mine)

The latest research from the internet search giant, though, suggests that real-time results could be even more powerful – they may reveal the future as well as the present.

Google researchers Hyunyoung Choi and Hal Varian combined data from Google Trends on the popularity of different search terms with models used by economists to predict trends in areas such as travel and home sales. The result? Better forecasts in almost every case.

Projected sales of cars and vehicle parts, for example, can be extrapolated from the figures for the previous month and this time last year, but adding in the volume of automobile-related search queries to the model cut the error rate by 15%.

Now you can take this info for what it’s worth and decide if you think Google is going to be the tool to bring about a Singularity Event, or that it’s just conspiracy theory-woo-woo crap.

Now IMHO if a Technological Singularity is going to occur, by its very nature and definition no-one is going to be able to tell beyond the level it might attain, or predict, let alone control how it might come to pass, if it happens at all.

If one looks at the past 150 years, after the American Civil War to the present, you can see how our world came into being, with the roots in the fertile death-grounds of post-1865.

Everything we have now stems from the Civil War tragedy.

A person can look upon that as a kind of slow “Singularity.”

And I think that’s how it’s going to continue to be, whether it’s managed by human beings or not.

How your search queries can predict the future

Yes, the Hat Tip is here, LOL!

Surprised?

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12 responses

  1. Humans working cooperatively on social networks will index wild amounts of information.Most are still learning how to do it, but a few outliers always startle with their insights. When I think of all the people who must have started and abandoned blogs and communities over the years, the lost data must also be mountainous.
    The information community also keeps generating new methods and mashups to deal with data : some more useful than others.
    http://www.surveymonkey.com/
    http://placeblogger.com/
    Mostly I use RSS aggregators and fave groups
    http://www.care2.com/
    http://current.com/

    1. You make a good point about the info loss, I never thought of that.

      But y’know, there’s a lot of abandoned and un-updated blogs out there, some ten years old! So there’s quite a bit of information that’s still out there for the Google-Plex to reference.

      By the time someone notices, one might not be able to delete or remove any info at all, the protocols will be taken over by ‘something’ else!

  2. One of my frustrations from various blog, post and hardware problems was loss of a large index of old blog posts. Do you think I have found it again ? Not!
    I did get this one nailed down early on, however. It’s a bit like surfing into Wonderland
    http://www.blacklistednews.com/

    1. Holy crap J, you hit a goldmine there!

      I think I’ll link to it! Thanx!

  3. Dad…you did look at my Links and About posts to check my indexes, didn’t you ? I’m thinking especially of online Diigo and Yahoo files – though they aren’t listed, others are, including the master index searchable by blog name and index tag if you ‘read the instructions’ http://delicious.com/OPIT which are in ‘About’ at Opera and Del.icio.us’ own blog.

    1. I just went over to your delicious.com page J and I have to say formidable !

      There’s no way I could keep up with stuff like that. But I think I’m going to add that link so I can use it as another source of info.

      I dunno, you still think there’s info loss anywhere?

  4. Dang snab it, every time I come over for a visit I end up cruising the tubes to peruse the interesting links found here, such as internet intelligence. Having started on a HP 9815 tape drive in the 1980’s, but not on the internet untill 1998 I’ve noticed some differences in the computer and some profound changes in the internet, like the browser interpreting a url after only typing a few letters. The fast internet connnection has accelerated the digital interaction on the Googleplex to the point that it is probably already smarter than the ex president. The only thing lacking is Dubya’s gut feeling for solutions to profound problems and the total inability to lie.

    Anyway, I agree that the internet is and will gain more and more intelligence, and probably a concept of feeling which will transgress that of the human brain, although emotion will not be in evidence because of digital transmission instead of analog thought waves. I might be out to lunch on this, but I believe that sympathetic vibration only happens with waves and that this has a lot to do with intelligent thought, especially on the psychic level.
    John Worrell Keely had a lot to say about this and his inventions pertaining to it are controversial to this day. The concepts that he was using can be seen in the writings of Gurdjief and Ouspenski as well as Pythagoras’s theories of color and sound.

    But I didn’t leave yet, because I was reading the comments and Opit’s excellent link to blacklisted news which of course had a myriad of more links. Needless to mention, I’m linking to it. Hmm…I might have to start organizing my book marks…G:

  5. “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”.
    Save yourself a bunch of work. Add Del.icio.us tools in the browser and share links. Del.icio.us has evolved into a social network ! It’s an odd one, but I have those who follow my links and those I do likewise. Of course, losing all that work left me time to fall behind at Clipmarks, StumbleUpon, Current, Care 2, etc. etc.
    Firefox 3, Opera and more have accepted the task.

  6. “Do I think there’s information loss ?” Um.
    I don’t surf the ‘Darknet’ ; old posts usually only show up on Search. I’ve had my toys up under Utilities for a long time : I don’t know of a soul who has twigged to them.
    (Then again, I can’t claim to have kept up with online acquaintances….wouldn’t that be a feat for me ? )
    There’s got to be so much that is hardly looked at as to be nuts. Check the really big aggregators like Digg or Topix : how many stories are lost in the information stream ?
    We’ve got exponential growth going on. Wordgeezer’s quip ought to give us a small appreciation just how nuts things are becoming.
    Millions upon millions of blogs have been put out for years now.My original blog took one year to garner 900 hits. But my Technorati rating went from zip to 207. The current blog just sits : but I don’t seem to be getting my pings through either.
    “Sympathetic Vibration”
    I think of either Atlantean/Lemurian legends or Tesla with that one. Care 2 and Deepak Chopra are in my inbox too.

  7. My original blog took one year to garner 900 hits.

    Actually, I’m kinda surprised by that stat, I liked your old blog, but apparently WordPress didn’t.

    I’m taken aback by my own stats, I average between 130 to 200 hits a day, and that’s on the low side as far as some blogs go.

    Folks like the hardcore tinfoil stuff, which is okay, but I like to throw in the more plausible stuff too.

  8. I don’t think WordPress has much to do with what people find readable. I hit ridiculous Technorati numbers because of a lot of links from small blogs that I ‘found’ who were grateful for the attention. Before the debacle I was past 15,000 hits and had 185 for a daily record if I recall properly.
    My sort of blog has disadvantages when it comes to interacting with people. I really set it up to chronicle my search for online resources : which I know you will agree I have found.
    Tonight’s total tally of hits is only 6379.
    Actually, I finally am interacting on a social network which I am finding works for anyone who is willing to put some effort forward without worrying about who is a superstar. I always knew what I was doing was swimming against the current in some ways.
    It didn’t matter that much to me. What I’m doing is used by few as a regular tipster to news – but I’ve almost always had congenial relations online ( except for an embarassing lapse at Mahablog : heh : some are entirely too self-righteous )

  9. …some are entirely too self-righteous.)

    LOL! I know what you mean J!

    Some take themselves waaay too seriously! 😆

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