Thursday, October 20, 2011

Here we go...

I'm linking to this post, but I would note it is lengthy and somewhat technical and not everyone who reads this blog may want to actually read it.

http://www.kurzweilai.net/kurzweil-responds-dont-underestimate-the-singularity?utm_source=KurzweilAI+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=c82ecb7c28-UA-946742-1&utm_medium=email

Basically, we're talking about the Technological Singularity. Except, we're not, quite. This post talks about one aspect. It appears that the meaning of the term has shifted from what Vinge originally meant.

The Singularity is when technological development accelerates to the point where the world changes totally within a human lifespan. It doesn't technically mean 'When computers get smarter than us'. But it's come to be very focused on that.

Here is the question: Do we want computers smarter than we are? (If you can get your hands on it, read Mary A. Turzillo's 'An Old-Fashioned Martian Girl' for one look at why that might not be the best idea).

Second question: Can we stop that from happening? Short of the destruction of our civilization, the answer is probably no.

So the real question is...can we have a C/Fe culture? Here, I refer to Isaac Asimov's wonderful robot novels (which every science fiction and mystery fan should read...a lot of people forget that Asimov had a deft hand with a mystery). A C/Fe culture is one in which humans and robots work together and complement one another. If we are really going to have fully sapient computers, then we need to work out what a C/Fe culture would look like.

And lately, I've been thinking a lot about what a post-industrial culture will look like and one of my thoughts was 'fewer humans, more robots'...