Thought experiment

The Technological Singularity – the moment in history that will be created when human intelligence can be digitized. When the speed and scope of our cognition is hitched to the price-performance curve of microprocessors, our “prog-ress” will double every couple of years according to Moore’s Law.  This was made popular by Vernor Vinge and has been widely used in science fiction writing and film, most recently in the Terminator TV series.  The accelerated change of hyper intelligence may change Moore’s Law from 18 month to 2 years to a much lower time scale like weeks, days or even minutes.

If or when such an event occurs, what place will humanity have in the world.  Does hyper intelligence equate to hyper wisdom? Unable to feel hunger or pain, would a machine intelligence have empathy for those that do?  Would intellectualising empathy be sufficient motive for a hyper intelligence to consider the humans who created it?

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17 Comments

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17 responses to “Thought experiment

  1. Dom

    There is a short story by Azimov (I think) that basically goes along the lines of: two scientists wire up every computer in the universe to make one uber computer, turn it on, ask if there is a god and it zaps the on/off swith with a bolt of lightning meaning it can’t be turned off and goes ‘Yes, now there is a God!’. 😀

  2. Why oh why do you have to come up with these posts on MONDAYS??

  3. Dom, any idea what the story is called?

    Soupy, to avoid work. Obviously!

  4. Isn’t this the confusion between the distinct qualities of intelligence and humanity?

  5. Brennig, a human level of intelligence and cognizance rather than just information processing and storage. Clearly computers have us beaten already on the latter.

  6. All I know is that my experience of very very intelligent people is that their intelligence is always at a price. Something’s got to give, and its quite often (again, in my experience!) either social skills or common sense.

    I think the potential for non-human intelligence such as you describe is there – but there will always be a pay-off. Nature works because of imperfection – as soon as we think we can create something perfect, nature wades in fast to create plenty of flaws to keep the world turning….

  7. purplephreak

    I really hope we end up like Iain M Banks’ Culture:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Culture

  8. Dom

    Sorry froggy – it was in a compendium of sci-fi and was only a couple of pages long.

  9. Dom

    The story is “Answer,” from Angels and Spaceships, by Fredric Brown (Dutton, 1954). Origonal text: http://www.alteich.com/oldsite/answer.htm

    Permutation City also has some interesting plot lines based on the whole computer/god/creator thing.

  10. Hov!!!

    What’s today’s date?!

    April 1st…..

    Does that mean the same thing in the UK as it does in the states?!?!?!

    I deleted your comment on my latest post!

    Think it over!!!

    R.

  11. Robert, it does but here the tradition stops at noon. I hadn’t taken into account the fact that America is in the past. Here in the future we’ve moved on and are just about to finish work for the day. Hurrah!

  12. You referenced the exact documents i took the ‘conclusions’ from!

    I want to see how many buy my conversion!

    *giggle*

    R.

  13. I thought you’d had a breakdown or hit your head.

  14. Fabulous

    im ok. Making my brain work hard i see. Dont you know i have just had a baby!! Some say you lose brain cells having a baby but the paper the other day said that woman who have babies are as intellegent as Einstein.
    That aside. Where is the fun in not feeling hungry and then stuffing your face with a great big cream cake?.

  15. Ok I heard this story and it this idea does sort of annoy me. I like to believe that there is nothing so good as the human brain. As much as you can get a computer/machine to think, work out puzzles, answers to things etc, it will never have that ‘something’ that the brain has because that was created by evolution not mankind.
    Think of it as a person who is colour blind. Is it possible to tell them what ‘red’ is. You can tell them what the colour red looks like, feels like but you can never truly describe what seeing the colour red is like if they have never seen it. It’s what philosophers call ‘qualia’.
    A computer can have all the parts of a brain, do all the things it can do, but does it have that ‘je ne sais quoi’ that it is to be a human.
    I think not.

  16. ????!!! .. sorry unable to compute .. but then I am mentally unhinged .. doesn’t mean to say I don’t enjoy your .. ramblings???!

  17. Mas

    humanity has never had a place in the world; we just have yet to realise that…

    (and intelligence and wisdom have always been two different things 🙂 hyper or not)
    M

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