Monday, January 11, 2010

The Future? Singularity? singularity is a term used with varying meanings related to self-improving artificial intelligence, superintelligence,[1] breakdowns in the predictability of the future, accelerating change of the exponential or superexponential/catastrophic sort, and more generic "big events" in history.

In 1965, I. J. Good first wrote of an "intelligence explosion", suggesting that if machines could even slightly surpass human intellect, they could improve their own designs in ways unforeseen by their designers, and thus recursively augment themselves into far greater intelligences. The first such improvements might be small, but as the machine became more intelligent it would become better at becoming more intelligent, which could lead to a cascade of self-improvements and a sudden surge upward to superintelligence.

In 1982, Vernor Vinge proposed that the creation of smarter-than-human intelligence represented a breakdown in humans' ability to model the future, for the same reason that authors cannot write realistic characters much smarter than humans: if we knew what smarter-than-human intelligences would do, we would be that smart ourselves. Vinge named this event "the Singularity" in an analogy to how then-current models of physics broke down when they tried to model the gravitational singularity at the center of a black hole. In 1993, Vernor Vinge associated the Singularity more explicitly with I. J. Good's intelligence explosion, and tried to project the arrival time of artificial intelligence using Moore's law, which thereafter came to be associated with the "Singularity" concept.

Ray Kurzweil closes the Summit by showing the progress of technology and discussing the implications for the future.

Watch Ray Kurzweil - Singularity Summit 08 in Tech & Gaming  |  View More Free Videos Online at

Building a brain inside a supercomputer


Building a brain inside a supercomputer

Blue Brain is an IBM computer built to simulate a human brain. It's powered by 2,000 microchips, each acting as a single neuron, that enable it to execute 22.8 trillion operations per second. Based at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, the project launched in 2005 to much controversy and skepticism. Modeling the complexity of the brain in a computer is considered a holy grail to some, and hubris to others. The Blue Brain Project isn't an attempt to build an artificial intelligence, although it could someday inform such an effort. That's because the scientists are hoping to use the machine to understand physiology, brain chemistry, and even intelligence and consciousness. The project's stated goal? "To reverse engineer the brain." Here's Markam talking at TEDGlobal this year:

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