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May 18th, 2007

08:08 pm - VV: interview in Reason

xposted relevantly.

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March 5th, 2007

08:09 pm - You're going to hate me, but...
So I'm doing a research paper for my Philosophy course, regarding logical fallacies about whether or not computing power in any way, shape or form is comparable to the human brain. The entire course is on this, actually. Unfortunately, its not so simple. My professor isn't a big fan of futurism (I brought up Ray Kurzweil in a paper early and he was like "Ray... who?") or anything in anyway speculative. He likes concrete things.

That being said, I'm limited to Searle, Turing, Copeland, and Putnam. I need to think of a debatable thesis within the material, something that isn't in any really obscure sources (preferrably something within my subpar university library). I was thinking of advocating one of the more secure rebuttals to the Chinese Room argument other than Copeland's. I'm not really looking for help, because that's lame, more or less I need to be steered in the right direction, because I'm ever so lost. Any ideas?

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December 14th, 2006

06:12 pm - Tis the Season for Singularity
(crossposted to sci_singularity, singularity_now, and transhumanists)

I once thought for a second about whether it would make sense to give money to a charity or a project to advance the Singularity, but right away I realized: Almost all of the charities these days are funds to support the Singularity. Cure Diabetes. Cure Cancer. Our world society doesn't acknowledge that it is in a Singularity (nor even, often, that it is a world society), but it has instinctually reoriented its priorities to the extent that it considers curing entire categories of disease to be a reasonable short term goal.

It's this sort of line of thinking that has led me over the past few years to dramatically alter my personal timetable for the Singularity. I think that every scientifically minded person in our age realizes that the Singularity is a likely eventual experience for our species. What makes us here different is simply that we have concluded within ourselves a timetable that intersects the heart of the Singularity with the range of our immediate personal planning. I grew up unconsciously placing the Singularity somewhere like 2700-- beyond the end of myself and my sensible human descendants. Now I am looking very seriously at the 2020s.

Once the general population realizes that "The Singularity" is the fountain from which all of the cures spring, the goose that's laying those golden eggs, they are going to lay down one very, very large bet on machine intelligence as a panacea. Compassion and mortal fear are a difficult combination to halt with so meager a defense as the unknowability of something so strange. Until now we have been accidentally falling down the rabbit hole. When they realize what's happening, they'll cut the parachute strings.

The Singularity-- under whatever name-- will be sold as the greatest charity in history. Curing everything, freeing everyone, making everything beautiful.

I see the it therefore as beyond inevitable. The human race is perhaps capable of turning down immortality and omnipotence if given some suitably cute puppy to weigh in the scales against it, movie-ending style, but there is no way in hell that the human race will turn down immortality and omnipotence if they can rationalize it as helping some poor person with Parkinson's. This affair with Computation will turn from a vague accidental tendancy to a fully formed and fully funded intention.

In one sense the end point of this transformation is clear. This local space, this here energy and matter, this Shakti and Shiva, is Turing complete. That means that it is fundamentally capable of being anything. No, seriously, anything. The other day I imagined if the whole thing was turned into a giant Donkey Kong game. Not lots of games of Donkey Kong being played by AIs or anything sensible like that-- no, just one giant game, with one monkey at the top rolling one barrel at a time down ten to the howevermanyth pixelated girders and ladders towards one lonely Mario.

Let that example stand in for all of the absurd worlds that could be programmed by the idealogues and moralists of this strange little planet, my friends. We live inside of a computer. There is a nascent battle for root.

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November 1st, 2006

08:19 pm - Fiction and not so fiction
If you want to read some good singularity related fiction, check out After Life by simonfunk. It's getting great reviews from many in the singularity community.

And from the fiction becoming fact area, check out this article on robots in the military that I found via spoonless. Quoting from the article,
By 2015, the US Department of Defense plans that one third of its fighting strength will be composed of robots, part of a $127bn (£68bn) project known as Future Combat Systems (FCS), a transformation that is part of the largest technology project in American history.

I'm now about half a year from finishing my PhD in AI and so things might be a bit quiet around here for a while as I finish my thesis and try to work out what I'm going to do next.

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October 2nd, 2006

02:25 pm - Android videos
Every year the robotics videos I see just get more and more impressive. These are via spoonless.

With robotics developing so fast, and CPU power and memory technology still growing exponentially, the only thing that might stop androids taking to the streets 10 years from now is that we still don't know the algorithms required to give them enough intelligence.

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September 26th, 2006

11:45 pm - Teraflop on a chip
As many know, 4 core CPUs should be coming out in about a month. However according to Intel at their latest Intel Developer Forum, they plan to have a CPU with 80 floating point cores ready in 5 years. They even had a wafer to show off with prototypes of the chip on it.

The chip should be capable of 1 Teraflop, i.e. 1012 FLOPS. That's a single chip with about the same performance as the world's fastest supercomputer in the year 2000.

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September 11th, 2006

12:19 am - 1.6 Peta FLOPS and other news...
According to this article, IBM's next supercomputer called Roadrunner will start to be constructed soon. When completed in 2008 it should perform 1.6 Peta FLOPS. I plotted all this out on a graph:

It looks like we could reach 1016 FLOPS by about 2010, a few years earlier than Kurzweil predicted. You can also see that the curve is bending upwards. As the y-axis is log scaled, this shows that the growth is slightly super-exponential as Kurzweil likes to point out.

Ok, so maybe the next thing is not really singularity-ish, but these driver-less robotic cars that are going to appear at Heathrow look pretty sci-fi if you ask me:

The singularity is going to make really smart machines right? But what exactly is intelligence? Recently I put together a list of definitions of intelligence and posted them to my work page here. Amazingly the page has received 5,000 hits over the last week and somebody even added it to Wikipedia... I feel positively famous ;-)

I don't post more technical singularity type stuff here, it's more main stream. However if you're into the more hard core side of things then you might want to check out my research blog: www.vetta.org. This just got started last week. It will contain interesting research papers that I find as well as bits of my own research (I research mathematical models of machine super intelligence and am also working on my own AI project on the side).

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July 30th, 2006

04:32 pm - 1 Peta FLOPS
According to this article, Japan's MDGrape-3 has recently been clocked in at 1 Peta FLOPS, that's 1015 floating point operations per second.

If the human brain really requires 1016 FLOPS to simulate in real time (this seems to be about typical for estimates of this number), then we only have a factor of 10 to go. Three more years perhaps?

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July 25th, 2006

10:18 am - Public eye, public mind
I'm regularly seeing the idea of the technological singularity turning up in the mainstream media. Moreover, the tone of the articles is much more positive than a few years back — positive in the sense that "AI is now really going somewhere".

The latest I read was this short article on CNN.

As an AI researcher I'm certainly welcoming this change as it will lead to better opportunities in the coming years.

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June 8th, 2006

04:23 pm - More than Moore
The rate at which system-on-package technology is developing is significantly faster than Moore's Law for transistors on integrated circuits. This will lead to much smaller and more powerful devices in the near future.

Article at IEEE Spectrum.

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