Blake Borgeson, in blog form

suspected facts. validated opinions.

The Singularity and Kurzweil in Wired – must be something in the air

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I just ordered Ray Kurzweil’s latest book, The Singularity is Near, a little over a week ago, on March 25, from amazon, and started reading it a couple days later. (amazon)  Three days later, the content from the latest issue of Wired became available.  I don’t read it regularly, but I may start soon.  I just discovered today that this issue contains a 5 page article on Kurzweil and the singularity.  If you haven’t heard of this, I have a feeling you will soon.  Actually, you just did, but you’ll hear about it more.  Here’s the basic gist of the term and how it originated, from the Wired article:

The word was first used to describe a crucial moment in the evolution of humanity by the great mathematician John von Neumann. One day in the 1950s, while talking with his colleague Stanislaw Ulam, von Neumann began discussing the ever-accelerating pace of technological change, which, he said, “gives the appearance of approaching some essential singularity in the history of the race beyond which human affairs as we know them could not continue.”

In most people’s minds, computers won’t outpace human intelligence within our lifetimes.  But in Kurzweil’s incredibly well-reasoned prediction, a reasonable date to expect a laptop computer to be more computationally powerful than a person is 2020, and we should be prepared for computers to be more intelligent than us in every way by 2045.  The implications of reaching that point define the singularity.  I’ll let you read more for yourself if you’re interested.  Wikipedia has a good summary of both the technological singularity and Kurzweil’s history and predictions.

Written by blakeweb

April 3, 2008 at 8:22 pm

Posted in tech

Tagged with , ,

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