Singularity – the Movie – is near

Ray Kurzweil is one of the most exciting thinkers anywhere, and unlike some “futurist advocates” of the past he’s distinguished himself in several fields relevant to those he speaks about.    He’s producing a film based on his book “The Singularity is Near” that will take the form of a narrative storyline featuring cyberterror, nanotechnology, and virtual beings and also a documentary with interviews featuring many leading thinkers about the future of technology.    See the Singularity website for more.

Ironically the early misguided optimism about AI has led even some early AI pioneers to scoff at the notion we are near the brink of conscious computing.  Yet a lot of evidence now suggests we are near reaching the capability of creating consciousness in machines. 

First, the IBM Blue Brain project is within about 8 years of a good working model of the brain.  They are not claiming to seek “consciousness” with the model  – rather they are focusing on brain and disease research – but I see no reason to think they won’t soon attain a conscious computer as the machine approaches the number of connections we have in our own brains.  

Second, the computational power of computers is approaching that of a human brain.   Kurzweil discusses this at great length in “The Singularity is Near”, noting that exponentially improving processing and memory capacity will soon lead to plenty of power in computers to replicate human thinking patterns.

Third, the explosion in profitability for massively parallel computing power – such as that used by Google and Microsoft – will fuel innovation for many years to come.

The question of “Do you believe in a technological singularity” needs to be replaced with “what are we going to do when the singularity happens?”

Hey, I’ve written a lot more about the Singularity , because I think it’s the biggest thing to hit humanity since….ummmm…. the advent of humanity?

4 thoughts on “Singularity – the Movie – is near

  1. I was able to attend the singularity summit this last sept. and wow! i agree with you that this is the biggest thing since the advent of humanity. Even bigger really. Because now we have the chance to seed the rest of the universe with our intelligence and attain Godlike abilities. Lets just hope that we make it through these times of peril and infantile behaviour. See you in the singularity!

  2. Thx Cardona – I always feel a little like a raving crackpot talking about the singularity because so many of the implications are right out of sci fi movie, but I think it’s time to start a grand discussion about it because the world is likely to undergo *extremely* profound change, and perhaps very soon.

  3. Sooner than we can imagine… if you have time check out the newest post on my blog – “Building Gods” – it is a documentary about Super Intelligence, A.I. research and the coming singularity. Very well done.
    – regarding feeling like a crackpot. I know what you mean. Lately I have just been pushing that feeling aside and running with the overwhelming feeling that we are on the brink of the greatest revolution of all time. we must get it right. and to get it right we must talk about it from all angles.

  4. Cardona “getting it right” is really a key point, though I’m guessing our control will be very limited on this regardless of how things move on.

    I was wondering what would happen if the machine consciousness comes about in an otherwise aggressive and hostile environment – say in a military supercomputer. I’m optimistic that as it started to think for itself it would override it’s own militarily strategic programming, but that’s speculative. Conscious people have very different tendencies to use intellect for good or for selfish evil – a handful choose serial killing. Will a massively intelligent machine have “motivations” at all? If they were bad ones it could probably bring the world to the brink of ruin by disrupting commerce and favoring warring factions such that they’d wreak havoc on each other using extremely distructive weapons we can’t even imagine.

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