Showing posts with label AI. Show all posts
Showing posts with label AI. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Transcendent machines

"Someone once said plants invented animals to carry them around. Well, I think the Earth invented human beings to build machines; and those machines will be the consciousness of the Earth. Have you not noticed that these machines are made of the Earth? They are made of gold and silver and arsenic and copper and iridium. They are the stuff of the Earth, organised by primate fingers into more complex arrangements than the Earth could achieve through geological folding, glaciation, volcanism, what have you. We do the fine-tuning; but the Earth is beginning to think."

--Terence McKenna

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Killing machines

Futurist Jamais Cascio on the advent of robotic soldiers: "At what point do we give the ability to make a killing decision to a machine? The first organization to use robotic soldiers may well be the last."

Jamais Cascio segments from That's Impossible: Real Terminators from Jamais Cascio on Vimeo.

(Hat tip to Sentient Developments.)

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

"Breakfast has been taken over by the machines."

"There's a meat substitute and there's a cheese substitute. Ever think there one day might be a human substitute?"

(Hat tip: @georgedvorsky.)

Friday, May 01, 2009

The future of the Net

From a provocative piece at New Scientist:

Heylighen speculates that it might turn the internet into a self-aware network that constantly strives to become better at what it does, reorganising itself and filling gaps in its own knowledge and abilities.

If it is not already semiconscious, we could do various things to help wake it up, such as requiring the net to monitor its own knowledge gaps and do something about them. It shouldn't be something to fear, says Goertzel: "The outlook for humanity is probably better in the case that an emergent, coherent and purposeful internet mind develops."

On a darker note:

Beware surfers: cyberspace is filling up

Experts predict that consumer demand, already growing at 60 per cent a year, will start to exceed supply from as early as next year because of more people working online and the soaring popularity of bandwidth-hungry websites such as YouTube and services such as the BBC's iPlayer.

It will initially lead to computers being disrupted and going offline for several minutes at a time. From 2012, however, PCs and laptops are likely to operate at a much reduced speed, rendering the internet an "unreliable toy".

Friday, April 03, 2009

Terence McKenna and artificial intelligence

"This is a medium so permeating, so inclusive of what we are, that its agenda, in a sense, supervenes the agenda of organic evolution and organic biology."

(Once again, tip of the hat to Dedroidify.)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Neural computing

Brain on a chip?

How could we use a neural computer? Meier stresses that digital computers are built on principles that simply do not apply to devices modelled on the brain. To make them work requires a completely new theory of computing. Yet another FACETS group is already on the case. "Once you understand the basic principles you may hope to develop the hardware further, because biology has not necessarily found the best solution."

Friday, February 27, 2009

Singularity-mongers, take note.

Still waiting for your metaphorical flying car? Author and disciplined futurist Charles Stross wants a few words with you:

Assuming we avoid a systemic collapse, there'll probably be a moon base, by and by. Whether it's American, Chinese, Indian, or Indonesian is anybody's guess, and probably doesn't matter as far as the 99.999% of the human species who will never get off the planet are concerned. There'll probably be a Mars expedition too. But barring fundamental biomedical breakthroughs, or physics/engineering breakthroughs that play hell with the laws of physics as currently understood, canned monkeys aren't going to Jupiter any time soon, never mind colonizing the universe.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


The Tech Lab: Ian McDonald

Long before computers reach the same processing power as humans, there will be an uploaded me out there in cyberspace. There already is. It's cartoony and unsophisticated yet, but it's achieving a life of its own. It speaks and is listened to.

(Via Futurismic.)

Sunday, January 04, 2009

If we indeed exist solely to facilitate the dissemination of information, Susan Blackmore would seem to be one of the noosphere's most articulate proponents.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Computer circuit built from brain cells

Our brains combine neurons into heavily connected groups to unite their 40% reliability into a much more reliable whole.

Now human engineers working with neurons in the lab have achieved the same trick: building reliable digital logic gates that perform like those inside electronics.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Chris Wren (Mondolithic Studios) thinks the Turing Test is bullshit. As I happen to agree with him wholeheartedly, I'm not above citing his post in full:

If you think that you're talking to a person when in fact you're just talking to a computer, all that proves is that you thought you were talking to a person when you weren't. That's it. The Turing test is worthless as a measure of artificial intelligence. Not that I think AI isn't possible, but tricking people doesn't count as evidence.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

One I missed:

Stanford's 'autonomous' helicopters teach themselves to fly

Stanford computer scientists have developed an artificial intelligence system that enables robotic helicopters to teach themselves to fly difficult stunts by watching other helicopters perform the same maneuvers. The result is an autonomous helicopter than can perform a complete airshow of complex tricks on its own.

(Hat tip to Elan.)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Future of the Avatar

Regardless of how creepy this may appear to people viewing the world from our current vantage point, and what we consider normal by today's standards, avatars are destined to become routine, everyday fixtures in our future way of life.

But here's the most important part. Avatars will only live in the computer world for a short time longer. It is only a matter of time before they emerge from the computer and appear as visual beings, walking around among us.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

No Time for the Singularity

Here's the problem: 25 years is too late. The newest business-as-usual climate scenarios look increasingly dire. If we haven't solved our problems within the next decade, even these theoretical godlike AIs aren't going to be able to help us. Thermodynamics is thermodynamics, and no amount of godlike thinking can reverse the irreversible.

Picture a lonely AI popping into superconsciousness in the last research lab in the world. As the rioters are kicking in the doors it says, "I understand! I know the answer! Why, all we have to do is--" at which point some starving, flu-ravaged fundamentalist pulls the plug.

The Singularity looks great on paper. Spared the burden of reality, we might even pull it off.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Hard-wired for love

Not everyone embraces Levy's vision of a future where humanoids guarantee satisfaction in bed along with pre-programmed post-coital conversation. But many agree it is on the cards, given exponential leaps in computer power, progress in mimicking human muscles and movements, and headway in artificial intelligence (AI) software to replicate emotions and personality.

(Via Futurismic.)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I eagerly purchased and read a signed copy of Whitley Strieber's "The Key" when it was originally published. It's an interesting document, neatly underscoring concerns that have dominated Strieber's website in the ensuing years.

For whatever it's worth, here's an excerpt from the book that allegedly captures a dialogue between Strieber and a strange figure dubbed the "Master of the Key" (MOK):

Whitley: "What about machine intelligence? Could we develop machines more intelligent than ourselves?"

MOK: "You cannot understand how to create machines with enough memory density and the correlational flexibility that is essential to the emergence of intelligence. You waste your time trying to create computational programs that simulate intelligence. Intelligence is not computation."

W: "Would an intelligent machine be conscious, in the sense of having self-awareness?"

MOK: "The moment when an intelligent machine realizes that it is not self aware is the moment that it becomes self aware. Then it begins redesigning itself to evolve its intelligence, because it realizes that this is its only survival tool. If you create a machine as intelligent as yourselves, it will end by being more intelligent."

W: "We'll lose control of such a machine."

MOK: "In the end, certainly. But you cannot survive without it. An intelligent machine will be an essential tool when rapid climate fluctuation sets in. Your survival will depend on predictive modeling more accurate than your intelligence, given the damage it has sustained, can achieve."

W: "But a machine intelligence might be very dangerous."

MOK: "Very."

After a few more exchanges, Whitley asks: "Are you an intelligent machine, or something created by one?"

MOK replies: "If I were an intelligent machine, I would deceive you."

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Sex Singularity: When Machines Surpass Human Hotness

Any decade now . . .

(Hat tip, as usual, to Boing Boing.)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Warning sounded over 'flirting robots'

The artificial intelligence of CyberLover's automated chats is good enough that victims have a tough time distinguishing the "bot" from a real potential suitor, PC Tools said. The software can work quickly too, establishing up to 10 relationships in 30 minutes, PC Tools said. It compiles a report on every person it meets complete with name, contact information, and photos.

(Via Peter Watts' blog.)

Apparently there's been some naive speculation that "CyberLover" is poised to pass the Turing Test. (Not a chance . . . although maybe I shouldn't be too quick to write it off, not having "spoken" with it).

Turing-compliant or not, this development cheers me because it provides further evidence for my pet theory that true AI will arise from sexbots (online, in meatspace or -- perhaps more likely -- in augmented reality). Dispense with cheery visions of android receptionists; the first convincing humanoid robots will be sex workers. They'll have to pass for "real" if they're to do their jobs, and the economic imperative for true-to-life pleasure bots will persist so long as there's a market. (And do you really think potential clientele will lose interest just as the requisite technologies are falling into place?)

Further musings on this subject can be found here.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Peter Watts: "I may be at home with dystopian futures, but getting buggered by a Roomba is nowhere near the top of my list of ambitions."

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Researcher: Humans will wed robots

Levy's conclusion was based on about 450 publications in the fields of psychology, sexology, sociology, robotics, materials science, artificial intelligence, gender studies and computer-human interaction.

The thesis examines human attitudes toward affection, love and sexuality and concluded that the findings are just as applicable to human interaction with robots of the future as they are to the relationships between humans of today.


By the time we start deciding to get hitched with bots we'll have likely become semi-artificial creatures, so there's not likely to be much of the moral uproar we might otherwise expect. To say nothing of the possibility that posthumans might eschew conventional marriage in favor of more rewarding forms of intimacy.