Re: Singularity (was +ve or -ve curvature)

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Thu Jan 31 2002 - 15:43:05 GMT

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    Subject: Re: Singularity (was +ve or -ve curvature)
    Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002 07:43:05 -0800
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    > > >
    > > >Jo wrote to my post
    > > A beautiful picture, John. I have seen emergence
    > > encompassing AI rather
    > > than AI producing its own emergence separate from
    > > the noosphere. If
    > > computers do become self replicating, as they have
    > > the potential of doing if
    > > we start using DNA in their construction, then your
    > > prediction seems highly
    > > plausible. I read today that there's going to be a
    > > conference on
    > > non-silicon chip building in the near future. The
    > > basic elements of a
    > > computer (the switches) have already been made out
    > > of DNA, nanotubes, single
    > > molecules of metal, and who knows what else we still
    > > haven't heard about.
    > > Self constructing arrays of nanotubes have also been
    > > developed in a test
    > > tube. We may yet be able to cram libraries of
    > > information into a space
    > > smaller than a chromasome and make it self
    > > replicating in a way that DNA is
    > > not. Who knows what might emerge from that
    > > scenerio? Do you believe in
    > > Kurzweil's "singularity?"
    >In terms of Kurzweil's extrapolation of Moore's Law
    >and the acceleration of Technological progress, I
    >think we have passed the point of inflection and the
    >speed of technological developments will be slowing
    >down. Less money is being spent on pure science as
    >the economic system demands immediate application of
    >existing technologies. And yet it is out of the pure
    >science that the technological adaptions for new
    >systems has always come. The best and brightest
    >students are being attracted to law, business and
    >accounting degrees and away from science and
    >And yet I still feel that there is an Omega point
    >around the corner. But we need to take into account
    >the social, political and the economic trends, not
    >just the technological. And this makes it more
    >"messy" and human. In any case I see us as
    >participating in a race with catastrophe resting on an
    >indeterminate knife edge.
    >Perhaps more can come out if others explore this issue
    Reading E. O. Wilson's article in Scientific American this month makes me
    think we don't have enough time. Too much needs to be done and the problem
    of organization alone seems beyond our abilities. We have G. W. Bush
    leading the free world with the mantra that it's more important to get rich
    than to stay alive. China will soon surpass us in fossil fuel emissions.
    Their new mantra is "to be rich is glorious" and everybody wants a car, a
    TV, a refrigerator, etc., etc.

    The entire biosphere will soon consist of people, corps and farm animals.
    You hear reputable scientists claiming the world can support 10 billion
    people when six billion are already well on the way to destroying it. The
    lunatic fringe wants to kill all the scientists for cloning life and
    creating "frankenfoods." The muslims want to take us back to the 12th
    century and devote everyone's life to facing Meca and praying five times a
    day. How are we ever going to turn humanity around in time to save what we
    have left?

    We don't have to destroy the biosphere to bring humanity to a halt. All
    that's required is to change it enough that the people, plants and animals
    that currently inhabit it can't live in it. Well, take a gander at the
    number of species that are dying and follow the trend line. I personally
    don't think we have enough time left to get the job done. But then, I'm
    just a linguist. What do I know?


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