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Author Topic: Singularity, or The Future of Us  (Read 5170 times)

ShadowBrain

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« on: February 15, 2011, 11:46:47 PM »
General link on the subject.

Time did a thing on this recently, and it got me thinking. For those unfamiliar, a "singularity" is basically a point in the future where technology will become so revolutionized, we can't even predict what life will be like afterwards. Currently, it's looking like that point will be when the exponentially increasing rate of technological advancement leads to computers that can surpass the combined totality of human knowledge and/or be physically integrated into our bodies. Some additional possibilities include genetic modification to modify ourselves and world as we please (as well as stop or reverse aging), and putting our consciousness into machines.

Personally? At first, the thought of this stuff scared the crap out of me, but now it mostly just makes me angry... mainly because I know that, from a scientific point of view, there's no reason to not do this stuff eventually. I mean, it's true--humans are just organic computers (you all debated about the Chinese Room, right?), and it's only a matter of time until we collectively create a superior being. But still... you call this progress? Okay, let's hypothetically take "making people immortal" for example: First of all, when we talk about a future where these kinds of things are possible, you know [darn] well that not every man, woman, and child on Earth is going to be able to take advantage of it. And how are we deciding who's going to live forever? Who'd even want to? How would this affect the world's population and resources, much less countless generations of the knowledge that living things are supposed to die? This isn't technological progress, this is what a five-year-old wishes for: "I wanna put my brain in a robot and live forever!" I know it's all theories at this point, but it's a selfish ambition--and for something being suggested by people who make a living predicting the future, surprisingly shortsighted. And treating the human genetic code like a Lego set? Don't even get me started.



So what do you think? The future's going to come no matter what, but how do you think revolutionary developments like these could affect humanity? Many things we do now with technology may have seemed surreal and unspeakable if you were to present them to someone from hundreds of years ago, but do you think these sort of accomplishments are different?
"Mario is your oyster." ~The Chef

« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2011, 01:35:34 AM »
It's already impossible to predict long-term technological advancement. Fifty years ago, we as a society envisioned our future selves zooming about in rocket-cars but still sending mail through postal services. As fast as the future may be coming, it can never outpace us. If humanity as a whole became unable to keep up with its own advancements, technological innovation would inevitably halt until everyone creating it, funding it and using it could catch up. Besides, just because Granny isn't on Twitter doesn't mean that "singularity" is taking hold.

Also, I don't believe that non-organic beings (i.e. robots) will ever gain a limitless capacity for knowledge, because any adaptive "thoughts" they may have must be programmed into their system. But just in case they're reading this, I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords.
YYur  waYur n beYur you Yur plusYur instYur an Yur Yur whaYur

« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2011, 01:39:37 AM »
Whatever happens happens.
Luigison: Question everything!
Me: Why?

« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2011, 03:26:15 AM »
WeeGee, all of your adaptive "thoughts" came from programming too. DNA, man. Just a base-4 program.

Kimimaru

  • Max Stats
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2011, 01:30:38 PM »
Putting our brains into machines still wouldn't make us last forever because they would wear out eventually.

Besides, I don't get why people are so obsessed about preserving themselves. If we were to move to a different planet we'd just mess that one up too. We don't have a real reason to live forever anyway.
The Mario series is the best! It has every genre in video games but RTS'! It also has a plumber who does different roles, a princess, and a lot of odd creatures who don't seem to poop!

« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2011, 02:18:02 PM »
There is no part of me that thinks this is bad. I am 100% for transhumanism. If I can continue my conciousness in a machine, removing physical limitations, I would be first in line. And talking about "things are supposed to die or else life has no significance" is fearful rationalizing caused by death being something we can't yet avoid. Admittedly, these are things beyond my lifetime, but therenis hope that we can at least reach cybernetic and genetic augmentation in the (relatively) near future. Resources and population become less problematic, as more and more people place their minds in machines, less and less food is needed, population slows, as I know not everyone would want to be a machine, energy will be entirely renewable by that point.
"We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special." Stephen Hawking

Kimimaru

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« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2011, 02:36:06 PM »
But at the same time, what would be good about this? We'd just be living on longer to do...what? Most things that were once valuable will lose value, and life wouldn't be as exciting. It'd just drag on.
The Mario series is the best! It has every genre in video games but RTS'! It also has a plumber who does different roles, a princess, and a lot of odd creatures who don't seem to poop!

« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2011, 02:45:49 PM »
At that point, the only valuable thing left would be the raw, purified pursuit of knowledge, which there is always more to learn.  It would be entirely "I want to learn [blank]" without ending in "to make money" or "to live healthier".  Space travel would be viable without worrying about food, water, or age.
"We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special." Stephen Hawking

« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2011, 03:06:39 PM »
What's the point of gaining knowledge just for the sake of gaining knowledge, though?
YYur  waYur n beYur you Yur plusYur instYur an Yur Yur whaYur

Turtlekid1

  • Tortuga
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2011, 03:14:08 PM »
I would never want to live forever.  Life is too tedious as it is.
"It'll say life is sacred and so is death
but death is life and so we move on"

Kimimaru

  • Max Stats
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2011, 04:37:00 PM »
At that point, the only valuable thing left would be the raw, purified pursuit of knowledge, which there is always more to learn.  It would be entirely "I want to learn [blank]" without ending in "to make money" or "to live healthier".  Space travel would be viable without worrying about food, water, or age.

We'd have to have some sort of fuel that allows us to function. Nothing lasts forever.
The Mario series is the best! It has every genre in video games but RTS'! It also has a plumber who does different roles, a princess, and a lot of odd creatures who don't seem to poop!

« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2011, 04:55:36 PM »
Yes, fuel of some sort would be needed.  I assume, from my not actually being an engineer, that a combination of solar energy when still close enough to the Sun, to a sort of 'Stand-By' mode for minimal energy consumption.

What's the point of gaining knowledge just for the sake of gaining knowledge, though?

for the sake of gaining knowledge
"We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special." Stephen Hawking

Black Mage

  • HP 1018 MP 685
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2011, 09:24:27 PM »
I'd do it in a heart beat. I don't want to die, and if I could prevent myself from becoming old?

Day one.

« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2011, 11:04:54 PM »
Part of me wants to say yes to this, and part of me is terrified of it. To be able to live forever would be neat, but who would you brag about it to? Also, the more technology advances, the weirder your stories about your youth become..
* Toad pops in his false teeth.

Back in my day, our games didn't give us the blue screen of death for no good reason. We had to blow on the cartridges to get them to work, and it would often take up to an hour if you really wanted to play that game. People laughed at you if you moved the controller to make your charater jump higher..

I wonder what I would do if immortality were achieved before the end of my life..?
Kinopio is the ultimate video game character! Who else can drive a kart, host parties, play tennis, give good advice and items, and is almost always happy??

« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2011, 11:10:22 PM »
The way I see it:

Finite life: "Oh, I'm going to die eventually. What is the purpose of it all?"

Infinite life made possible by robotics: "Oh, I'm going to live indefinitely. What is the purpose of it all?"

The thing is, neither one has significance. Both are objectively meaningless. If our lives are finite, all of our accomplishments will eventually amount to nothing. If our lives are infinite, we will eventually complete every task there is to perform, and what then?

I recommend reading The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus if any of you are concerned about the possibility of living indefinitely in the near future. If the future is inevitably robotics (and therefore immortality), we should accept it just as we would accept death, because the same question gets poised either way. Neither scenario is something to be feared or rationalized.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2011, 11:36:56 PM by PaperLuigi »
Luigison: Question everything!
Me: Why?

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