The Singularity is Here. Or it’s coming. Or it’s here.

Juliette Garside has tapped into the mainstream Singularity trope with an article in The Guardian today entitled Google, Facebook and Amazon race to blur lines between man and machine. Garside connects dots between the recently released movie, Transcendence, and robotic purchases by the heavyweights of our acquisitions stable of companies. The thesis is that some of the smartest engineering labs in the world are working ever harder to give us machine-made immortality. This message needs some calibration.  Garside correctly notes that the technologies now coming on-line (and being purchased for hundreds of millions of dollars) enable behavioral analytics in whole new ways. Garside cites Deepmind as an example intent on modeling humans so well that the search terms flow from the computer to the cloud rather than from your human fingertips. But she also makes the leap from monetization and optimization to Singularity, and therein lies a really interesting train wreck. When Thad Starner comments on the Singularity, he notably says that we’re already living it. The boundaries, from his point of view, between his machine and his own brain are disappearing rapidly. So. Imagine a future where we start debating immortality. Thad and Ray will announce that they’re immortal. You may see a mediocre simulation of one of them and your response may be, wait. really? that’s you? The semantic singularity, when some of us claim to already be ‘saved’ by computation, is likely to arrive well before the rest of us are convinced that it’s real. Since money talks, I suppose the interesting bit wil be when Kurzweil allows one of his simulations access to his credit card number….or will he just give all the Kurzweil 2.0’s a weekly allowance?

 

 

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