Singularity or Bust

2012 ,    »  -   115 Comments
Ratings: 6.71/10 from 139 users.

What is singularity? A future period during which the pace of technological innovation will be so rapid, its impact so deep, that human life will be irreversibly transformed. Although neither utopian nor dystopian, this epoch will transform the concepts that we rely on to give meaning to our lives, from our modes of commerce to the cycles of human and non-human life, including death itself.

Some scientists believe that we can have a positive singularity within ten years. Why ten years? The precise number is not important, it could be eight years, it could be twelve years, but something on that order of magnitude is probably achievable. None of us can know the future but it's plausible hypothesis and an achievable goal. Ten years to a positive singularity if the right amount of effort is expanded in the right direction... if we really, really try.

One path to singularity is via artificial intelligence. Artificial general intelligence can lead us to a positive singularity. There's lot of other interesting work going on. The work in molecular nanotechnology which will allow us to reconfigure matter accordion to our will, and the work on brain-computer interface which will let us plug our brains into computers, radically enhancing our power of cognition. Anyone of these paths could lead to a positive singularity way, way sooner that most people think, but the sad thing is the amount of resources, the amount of energy that our society devotes to these things is very, very small.

The human race is in a funny stage of its evolution. We spend far more of our energy and attention on things like making chocolates or attractive underpants than we do on creating new forms of matter, improving human cognition, extending human life, ending scarcity, ending human suffering, or creating advanced artificial minds.

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115 Comments / User Reviews

  1. oQ

    Many men of science are saying that consciousness may well be the ground of all being. Here is one more.

  2. Adam Young

    using technology to interface with the brain is not true evolution, it's just progress getting all the more lazy to press a button.

  3. Pysmythe

    The consciousness question aside (for the moment), this whole business about the Singularity has made me nervous for a long time now. There is a great deal of inherent danger in it, it seems to me, even though I am very far from some kind of a Luddite. But I don't think a lot of people really get it, that part of what is MEANT by the term "Singularity" is that "all bets are off," and that we can't possibly have any real idea what to expect. I suppose I should just embrace the excitement, though, huh? Run with my artistic side, that has a real appreciation of all the grey and uncertainty in the world? Short of hurling myself off a cliff, what choice do I have, if I don't want to wallow in anxiety? I'll have to give this one a watch and see if I can't find some fodder for assuming most of my apprehensions are ultimately unfounded.

  4. Matt Kukowski

    What is wrong with these nerds? Talking non sense... something is seriously wrong with them.. They have this look (as specially the one talking about the Artilecs ) where he KNOWS the machines will just shot us in the head ...and they both said that.

    I think it is more of what it speaks about the Culture and all the chaos in the news... and smart person knows the thing is going to fall apart.

    And if you are of a weak mind will just resort to,, Oh well the elites have the money and we have to create them to kill off 6 billion people in order to save the planet.

    No we wont talk to our women and talk about family planning on an Urgent level.. no because that would destroy the economy and we can not have that either. So you can not have less people for less economy so the chaos will insue. That is what I see in their sick blood shot widened eyes.

    They have lost touch with any spirtuality .... no God in their worlds...just machines and bio goo for the machines.

    What a bunch of weird dos... Has to be one of the weirdest documentaries I have seen in a while.

  5. oQ

    When I suggested the doc to Vlatko I knew you would be watching and I remembered your lack of comfort towards the idea.
    What do you think of this guy?
    I watched it twice, I invited a girl friend last night to my second viewing.
    If consciousness is the ground of all being, then I suppose it makes no difference if we are apes, humans or robots with "hand me down" intelligence. A scary proposal for humans who are standing in that line, I agree.
    There is obviously a paradigm shift in the making but no one knows what will arise. Somehow I am reminded of the apes who left the forest and those who chose to stay.
    The word consciousness is all over the place in science these days, science has gone far up and far down, consciousness research ask us to go far within.
    There are those who believe we are nothing but matter, others who believe human should merge with robotic power and those who come to realize that nothing exist in reality, it is all a mirage seen and experienced by consciousness *it*self.

  6. Nada nada

    Yeah yeah right. When I was a kid they used to say we're going to have flying cars, human colonies in Jupiter... By year 2000!!!

  7. Pysmythe

    I will definitely check that out. I watched your Chomsky video, too, right after I posted my comment. I love the old guy for his political insight and activism (and don't you just know the conservative-minded everywhere are gleefully waiting for him to push off...), but I think he may be mostly wrong about this one. Kurzweil is known for the soundness (no pun intended for all you keyboard players) of many of his predictions, and, anyway, humans have a way of transcending their limitations and surprising everybody and everything, not always for the better. What was science fiction yesterday is science fact today, and all that.

  8. User_001

    Military will have alot to say and guide where this is going. Researchers will follow the money and the money will be waved by the military industrial complex. You want to see where AI is going? Apply it to killing people and that's where it's going. The US military is about a quarter of the GDP, so put 2 and 2 together.............

  9. oQ

    I agree about Chomsky

  10. Pysmythe

    I just finished watching the Hameroff interview. I must say, what he says does make a lot of sense (much about it feels right, lol), although I wouldn't want to come down on one side or the other just yet... and maybe that's an improvement for me. The fact that he worked with Penrose on this helps his credibility, too, I would imagine. Certainly, a whole lot of people, who might not have otherwise, have evidently gotten rather angry about it, haven't they? And where have we seen this sort of reaction before? That alone makes me think they may be onto something... I've heard of Orch OR, even read a few things about it a long while back, although I'd forgotten it. I'm going to have to check out Hameroff's website (today) and keep up with this a bit, for sure. There's a LOT of food for thought in this interview for everyone who likes to think, no matter their education level, and I highly recommend it, too.

  11. dufas_duck

    If AI = human, why would any company hire a person when an AI machine can do the same or better at the job?? Then, will that AI robot run out and purchase the latest giz whiz gadget that some AI robot has manufactured??

    If, as some futurists proclaim, and also dreamed of by the Venus Project, all work will be accomplished by robots, where does this leave the human population?? Are we all destined to sit around contemplating each other's navels or as suggest by the Resource Based Economy aficionados, we each become artists, authors, or deep thinkers with every wish provided for by some AI invention??

    There is not much left to accomplish when everything is done for one..

  12. TheDanishViking

    Thanks. Interesting view from Chomsky. I found this docu to be very interesting, but in the end these guys have not solved any of the hard problems. The claim that in 8-12 years all the problems will be solved is completely undocumented.

  13. Pysmythe

    Kurzweil himself puts it at around 2050, or so, but even that time frame might be pushing it, depending on precisely what you mean by A.I.

  14. TheDanishViking

    But based on what? To me these kind of predictions are a little like saying "In the next 10-15 days we will discover intelligent life on another planet. Or perhaps it will be in 20 years, but no more." Based on what? Either we find intelligent life or we don't. Everything else seems to be complete speculation, right? Similarly, either we solve the hard problem of, as Chomsky puts it, "formulating a hypothesis of how to be smart" or we don't. How can anyone say when it is more likely going to happen?

  15. Pysmythe

    With Kurzweil, I suspect a good deal of it IS little more than an educated guess... But he has made a number of predictions in the past that have turned out to be fairly accurate, so a lot of (perhaps overly optimistic) people take what he has to say about it seriously. I think Moore's Law has factored into his thinking on it a good deal, but don't quote me on that.

  16. TheDanishViking

    I think we understand each other. But still nobody could have predicted that ~50 years after Maxwells discoveries somebody would come up with what we today know as Einsteins theory of relativity. Yes, there is a connection between the two - but it is not straight forward and, I would argue, that making predictions about when a major scientific breakthrough is going to happen is just not possible. I think Chomsky would say that Moore's law has nothing to do with this question: the hard problem is not about how fast your computer is.

  17. oQ

    That is exactly what hameroff (see link) says....these guys have not solved any of the hard problems.

  18. Pysmythe

    From what I can gather, I think Kurzweil's idea of "accelerating returns" is somehow going to bridge this incredible gap between our experience of consciousness/intelligence and that of these future machines. Or, maybe I should say, our present experience of it, since, if he is right, or even only nearly right, change will be so exponential in such a world that unmodified humans will have little or no chance of keeping up with the pace of it all. To my mind, at that point, what does it even matter any more how you would define these things? The problem then would be finding and maintaining our place in such a scheme, and I'm afraid there don't appear to be any guarantees about that.

  19. oQ

    I read about Orch OR but frankly that is way beyond my comprehension.

  20. Hesusa

    I keep waiting for the guy to take the glasses and the wig off and its gonna be Sacha Baron Cohen standing there :)

  21. Pysmythe

    I'm sure it's beyond mine, too. The intellectual world has always been too much for any one person to master, now more than ever. The trick I allow myself is to "intuit" a lot of things, without making the mistake of believing my understanding is in any way "deep". I figure if I can at least pick up the gist of a complicated idea, it's all good, and I can pursue it further later on, if I want, always bearing in mind that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and that some things, most things, will always be simply beyond me. The world is full of experts, but I sure as hell ain't one of them, lol. It's very liberating, actually.

  22. oQ

    If I remember well he does not say it will happen but that the world will have the potential to have it happen, meaning he foresees that the research will have advanced that much at the rate it is going.
    I think it's important to keep in mind that AI is artificial intelligence not artificial consciousness.

  23. oQ

    Achems, anything to say about this doc yet?

  24. oQ

    What about you Vlatko?

  25. Pysmythe

    What do I think of this guy? I think he sounds stuffed full of too much higher math and xanax, lol...

    Just kidding... but I can't say it did much to relieve my anxiety about where things could be heading. One of the most striking things to me is that both guys, xanax guy and his alternate, sweaty guy, appear to be resigned as to this future, EVEN THOUGH it could well turn out for the worse. It's as if they are compelled to make it happen, somehow, despite any misgivings, and that, too, was just a little unnerving to see.

  26. oQ

    "change will be so exponential in such a world that unmodified humans will have little or no chance of keeping up with the pace of it all".

    I've imagined (one can always dream) that if we left those who want to become robots become robots and those who don't don't, we would most likely end up creating a large group of people who would become the travellers of space. Does it make sense that the more robotic a society becomes, the more this society will want to explore space. What if a large part of humanity was to leave earth and a large part was left to live the land, the earth would finally get the fresh air it needs.

  27. Pysmythe

    Did you see that Matt Damon flick 'Elysium'? Your comment reminded me of it a little bit. All the wealthy leave the earth to live in luxury and safety on a massive space station, while all the less fortunate are left behind to deal with a devastated planet... Kind of the opposite of what you have in mind, I know, but one that seems a little more likely these days.

  28. Vlatko

    I don't think this guy is elaborating on the issue of consciousness the same way as you do, or the same way as people you often quote do. He indeed prescribes to the speculation that the consciousness is the ultimate foundation, but again he's doing that without any solid backup. He only offers personal opinion on what the future might be... regarding consciousness.

  29. oQ

    I suppose when you spend your life making robots eventually you come to realize that robots need consciousness to emulate humans.
    Robot's intelligence and memory will become even more phenomenal, they may even go on 'living" on their own for a very long time running on solar energy in place of a heart, but it seem they are not about to have consciousness. Then again, since we accept that the consciousness of a bird or a dolphin (OR A TREE) may be different, it is not too big of a stretch to say that the consciousness of a robot is possible but different than that of humans.
    Thousands of years of humanity and we stand here having not a clue what human's consciousness is and how it came to be.
    I am interested in everything concerning consciousness, been for years in all kinds of ways.

  30. Achems_Razor

    Well, since I am sitting here at 42 degrees below zero outside will watch the doc now and let you know.

  31. oQ

    I think you may also enjoy watching Stuart Hameroff....i posted a link below.
    42 Below? and i thought it was cold here with 14 below. Any polar bears around?

  32. Achems_Razor

    14 below where you are at? think it is cold? y'all pussies.

    Watched the doc, agree with Vlatko, not the same consciousness that you are probably thinking or referring to.

    To me it is a given that AI will be coming into the fold with exponential growth. Quantum computers etc: But can not see AI will be conscious as we know it, maybe thousands of years evolution, who knows? But then of course the universe will instantly (Planck) quantum flip and a new universe even more bizarre and inexplicable will come into the fold, and we will be right back to where we started. lol

  33. Mo Henry Bug

    cosmists remind me of the oversoul from The Memory of Earth by Orson Scott Card.

  34. dewfall

    Kneel before your AI Overlord! Or, Cyborg yourself? Imagine if your arm gets glitchy and your two year warranty is up! How many parts can you replace before you're not you any more? Would my mind become a website, an even freakier version of Facebook, or just a cell in the Hive Mind - would I be hackable - who would own me?
    Also not sure I'd like to replace my skin with plastic and sensors, how would I get goosebumps or sweaty palms, how would the hair on the back of my neck stand up? Would my breath still catch, would kisses be as sweet, would the scent of honeysuckle still remind me of warm evenings in Spain, would music still tickle my soul, would art still hold me captive, could my heart still skip a beat? If not, would I notice them missing and would we cyborgs then wish we had them back and strive to become more human? Maybe we have to go there to see how far it is, then come back again. Just a detour in our evolution ;)

  35. Pysmythe

    All of that! But there are some parts of human anatomy that could probably stand to profit from a naughty little bit of cyborg enhancement, I reckon.

    Seriously speaking... there is one side of it that's more or less unconditionally exciting and promising to my mind, and that is its potential use for long term space travel. Modifying the body to better endure it, and all that. That I can easily accept, seeing what the goals are, whereas the thought that we might start indiscriminately mucking around with what it means to be human here on earth... It's just something I hope is approached with the most extraordinary care imaginable.

  36. CapnCanard

    sadly, yes. But perhaps we can exorcise the demons of this paradigm of profit/accumulation/property etc. Very difficult buy I believe that is very necessary or the MIC and the like will cause our self immolation, so to speak..

  37. CapnCanard

    I like that... but consider consciousness, not seriously mentioned in this doc. Instead Ben Goertzel does mention "God." But what is God? Some say that consciousness is the ground of all being. I was hoping that this doc would lead in that direction and there was some hope when Ben Goertzel held the quarter as an example of consciousness in that the object has form, takes up space interacts when acted upon by self mobile consciousness like bacteria, plants and animals, as well as the universal action and movement, the spinning of objects in the universe, the galaxy, the solar system, the sun, the earth...But I guess westerners see that all as not conscious, or at best a limited form of consciousness. In my mind it is the very base level. Consciousness is something that the we in the west always seem to be very intimidated by. But I feel that the idea of consciousness could also be known as "god."


  38. CapnCanard

    oQ, or perhaps like Dune? Travelers who eat spice to fold space? To me that seems more likely... I see the mechanical robotic world a clumsy attempts to make mobile beings with consciousness.

  39. CapnCanard

    recommendation "The Self Aware Universe" by Amit Goswami,PhD quantum physics. Not a bad read.

  40. CapnCanard

    This idea that Intellectual world is too much is, in my mind, evidence that we are at the precipice of the singularity if not already. Even in politics or social interaction, interrelationship, introversion, extroversion, mished and mashed, and extruded like a clay Golem. We are really being overwhelmed by too much information,, and yet more self examination has lead me to conclude we are nothing more than consciousness connected by consciousness. Perhaps this is a manifestation of the singularity?

  41. Mike Dumovich

    I am not sure I understand the paradox of their motives. They talk about ending human suffering and solving scarcity. But neither of them seem focused on those ideals at all. One scientist seems almost memorized by a kind of Tibetan sci-fi fractal dreamland philosophy of integrated ai/human consciousness and how these beings will become the ultimate Nietzsche "supermen" in a sense (no coincidence that he has a son named Zarathustra) without much regard for their apelike creators, and this is somehow a better situation for us and the planet. It doesn't seem to vex him at all that there might be an inevitable transfer of the negative aspects of human consciousness in the process as well in a kind of techno/human genetic connection, and that these AGI's simply wont have had the time to master the impulses to power. How long did it take our brains (still the most complex computers ever) to develop the good stuff humans have now like compassion, creativity, ethics, morality... which clearly, after all this time, we still haven't been able to make our primary directives. Even at the exponential rate that these godbots could learn once things like quantum computing come into play (which is a lot farther away than we think) , how long before these ai's develop the "good parts" of THEIR consciousness...and what will they do till then? And what about corporations for f's sake? Until the bots become
    "benevolent", who will be in control of them and, by Lets see, hmm, maybe cooperate controlled government militaries?. It goes something like this: the military gives funding to well meaning scientists who have to work on more insidious things to keep their own cool stuff going, the corps then buy those good ideas, patent, control, and in many cases hide them for later use regardless of how helpful they might be, while the military uses their lions share of the bad stuff to mess people up. What a wonderful backdrop to our future melding into this singularity. The other scientist seems almost fatalistic and in fact quite opportunistic about these questions even stating that he believes the results will be most likely bad, but hell, he won't have to be around to see em. Why not cash in? Both of them seem hypnotized in a way about the possibilities of what could happen, and then seem to develop a philosophy that follows. Seems like it should be the other way around.

  42. dewfall

    42 below, no wonder you're Blue ;)

  43. Pysmythe

    Exactly this.^ Excellent comment. Knowing what we know about our history, and with the structure of the world what it is right now, where monetary value appears to be considered the chief value of anything, and where people are spied on relentlessly, where civil rights are being curtailed or flat out ignored, etc., etc., I really think it would behoove us to be quite cynical about this whole business. The Transhumanists are too damned childishly optimistic about this at the moment, many of them claiming that great and good political and economic changes will result from the Singularity, whereas it appears pretty damned clear to me that at least some of those had better occur before this could happen...

  44. dewfall

    The price of everything and the value of nothing. What happens when certain folks can afford all that this has to offer and the rest of us can't? The chasm between them and us will become impossible to cross. Like the man said, what can apes teach us?

  45. Pysmythe

    There's a serious class war coming, for sure. I really believe that. People are getting justifiably goddamned FED UP with working themselves to death for peanuts while the vast majority funnels right to the top. I just don't know whether to hope I live long enough to see it or not... And then there are my kids, which is yet another component in my feelings about it.

  46. dewfall

    But think how much of ourselves we already put online, if we spent a lifetime doing so as our children likely will, could it all be gathered to recreate a mind, a fair likeness of a person. Are we already uploading ourselves? :)

  47. dewfall

    Then we have a duty to our children to live as long as we can and spend ourselves on their future. Maybe we are cannon fodder, in which case I raise a battle cry, 'Fire At Their Balls!'
    Can't remember where I heard that but I do like it :)

  48. Pysmythe

    The biggest balls are on Wall Street. We should definitely aim there. ;)

  49. oQ

    In my opinion this guy is talking about the same definition of consciousness which has many synonymes such as sentience, awareness, aliveness. I don't think he is talking about knowledge but about Consciousness as what makes a human conscious of the world around him/her and there are many ways to explore that mystery.
    Hameroff, Stanza, Radin, Hagelin, Lipton, Goswami, Sheldrake, Walker, Wolf, Targ, Dyson, Lazlo and many others all agree that consciousness is a mystery to be discovered although their part in the research is different.
    Or I am wrong... what kind of consciousness do you suspect this guy is talking about?

  50. oQ

    It's like those two guys are so far in their research there is not turning around...what else will they do? If one stops such research does one buy a farm, pigs and seeds and go back to Mother Nature servitude?
    I can imagine how their life is super connected to the machine in more ways than we know.
    They have become an extension of the machine they wish to improve.

  51. Pysmythe

    It's scary, like they've lost their freewill in the matter. Almost like they're... well, robots.

  52. oQ

    I agree the world is full of experts but when you look at things like dark matter and dark energy...pretty simple theory anyone could have guessed. Of course if one understands the math of it all, he has a hell of an edge.

  53. Pysmythe

    The math, yeah... Lol, I keep telling myself I'll get around to improving my comprehension of it, one of these days...

    edit- I had some truly awful math teachers in school. I blame them!

  54. oQ

    You were 30 minutes from watching the whole thing.
    In my opinion consciousness research is just taking off. Not so long ago just saying the word consciousness in science was enough to cast you as a bible thumper.
    He has reason to be defensive but I believe he is going to relax some in the future.

  55. oQ

    The way people buy dogs instead of having kids reminds me that some may want to buy a robot instead of a dog and love it just as much or more...more independence.

  56. oQ

    The you-tube link says : In 2009, film-maker and former AI programmer Raj Dye spent his summer following futurist AI researchers Ben Goertzel and Hugo DeGaris around Hong Kong and Xiamen, documenting their doings and gathering their perspectives.
    Now that was 6 yrs ago...wonder where they are at now.

  57. oQ

    Hey @Jack1952 anything to say?...with your avatar I would expect you to have a solid opinion.

  58. Michelle

    I fell in love with this man watching this. I was even more smitten with him after watching it a second time. It's too bad that he is straight. I think that I would have understood it better if I had watched it while stoned. He looks like the kind of guy that I would love to share bong hits with and to philosophize with all night long while I play with his hair. The little robot was hilarious, but when it repeated back what was said to it merely rearranged it kind of reminded me of playing ELIZA on my old TRS-80 machine 30 years ago which was simulated A.I.. His theory that we could reach the singularity in ten years iff (if and only if) we threw the whole world's resources at it which IMHO will never happen. It's more likely that we will end up with beachfront resorts for the elites in Antarctica with robot bartenders iff any of us survive the drone attacks.

  59. oQ

    I tried straight and stoned (2nd time) and your are right. lol

  60. Pysmythe

    "Turn right."
    "Honey, we need a new kid!"

  61. oQ

    I was an awful careless in school. I blame myself!

  62. oQ

    If the parts you are talking about are the parts I suspect you are talking about, I'm tempted to conclude on the subject that once we become robots, no more sex!

  63. Achems_Razor

    Don't worry my dear, am sure there will a sex (chip) implanted, lol

  64. Achems_Razor

    I suspect it is not like human consciousness, but if anything, computer generated analog bits and bytes, or no doubt by then quantum logic, but robots no doubt will use only logic, sans incorporating the infinite field of probabilities,
    hunches, gut feelings that humans incorporate in their day to day living.

  65. Pysmythe

    You... might be confusing cyborgs with robots? Gotta have priorities, though, so... let's stick with cyborgs, heh heh.

  66. dewfall

    No, that's a Bull :)

  67. oQ

    Bull's ball targeting

  68. oQ

    All progress in robotic research advances warfare research, it also works the other way around.

  69. Joshua Marks

    Yes, the title itself appears to reveal an "oxymoronic" dichotomy... The movie seems to be an intricate look into the mind(s) of those with a particular "singularity" driving their investigation into the human condition and therefor their "conclusions." Hard to watch with a critical evaluation imho.

  70. Matt Kukowski

    'Westerners' like to package, wrap and sell God. We need God to be a man, a human, something we can relate to. Westerners attach God to Laws which you MUST obey.

    Well, the Asian cultures look at God as maybe a Dance of Energy, or multitudes of creatures like Shiva and the Elephant.

    What ever you want to call God, it surely is the baseline, all encompassing, all that there is, a 'thing/non-thing'. It is the unspeakable, or something you can only behold.

    Some ask, what is it like after you Die? I reply, "What was it like before you were born?" It is like that. OH? Think about that one!

    We all want to believe it will never end. Well it never will! But, You in this current form will end, but the whole thing will not end. You will simply merge (as if you ever left 'IT' in the first place) back into a new form. A kind of well formed beautiful and unique Snow flake melting back into the Ocean. It is like that. I can only tell you about it in Analogy. Plus, it sounds more poetic and fun!

    Some call it Heaven, Hell or just Nothingness. But, it certainly will Transform You. And I LOVE that idea, of Transformation. I Love being Alive, but I am Not afraid of Death, only afraid of the pain in the process of Death.

    OK Spill the guts for all you to read... that is ok. TDF is the place to be, I suppose. :)

  71. Matt Kukowski

    You said,
    'There is not much left to accomplish, when everything is done for you.'

    So you mean materialistically done. Ok, you left out a big one. What about accomplishing new memes, Ideas, Imagination, Virtual World building. Can you program in any computer language? Can you speak more than 4 languages fluently? Have you seen Rome, Paris, Moscow, New York, The moon, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter OTHER WORLDS?

    Have tou become so overly confident that you believe yourself ALL done with thins thing called Life that all answered are done when you are free from TOIL, and Slavery and working for a living instead of living a life?

    May goodness you sound very depressed. Or, just calm and quiet. Trust me. There are marvels out there to be seen and beheld. We are all slaves as monkeys in the cage that have never REALLY seen how beautify things really are.

    Must be all the stuff they put in the water, and presciptions Drs dole out for profits so as they can go home to their overly materialist wives wanting a 5 Story house instead of this meager 3 story house ....

  72. oQ

    Your comment is real for me as I am 55, personal home computers have been an integral part of my life only since 1990 or so. I imagine my grand son who is born in a house where there is satellite tv, several computers, iphones, recording studio, microwave ect.
    Happily there is a huge garden, a wood shop, a tree house, a trampoline, 2 dogs, 2 cats and a dancing pole.

  73. dufas_duck

    First of all, I didn't say that I personally thought that there was nothing left to accomplish, there is always something ahead for anybody...if they want to, [oh that awful word], WORK for it..but that is the problem, most people do not want to work for anything, they want it handed to them...

    I can see all those school dropouts rushing to learn another couple of languages. They might visit or want to live in the countries where drugs are more legally obtained. Or, they might want to go to one of the planets and explore. What they will be getting is a free ride which I guess is your point since you have stated that everyone is a slave that works for a living. What you describe is being in a free ranging zoo where you depend on robotics for your survival.

    If you don't like doctors, get rid of them and live your life without them. If you become sick, do as the animals do, live naturally or suffer naturally without any medical support. Nature is as nature does.

    In case you haven't noticed, most humans and even animals set on their tails when everything is handed to them. Check out any zoo to see how the animals react... Today, people work harder to game the system than if they had to work to get their freebies.

    You might want to do everything to become the next world genius but I doubt that the average person would.

    Look around you. There are many people that already have their housing, food, medical, etc, given to them. Why aren't they rushing to further their education?? The government will pay for them to go to school, to college, even pay to go to a technical school. Many have the opportunity now and but won't take it..

    Besides, the way the coming AI was described, AI would be doing all the thinking, inventing, designing, constructing, building, etc, etc, so the only thing left for humans to do be carried along for the ride or as some futurists have contemplated, humans would be replaced by AI. Humans will be redundant and useless according to these futurists and would soon be in the way of the AI systems that have been put into place.

  74. John Murgaš

    I hope the able to load empathy into the world, I think wars, cannibalism and Corporate greed are a maladaptation or a malfunction in the system. We need better programmers to write better solutions to the worlds problems!

  75. CapnCanard

    Yes. Like the dreams I've had in childhood. Absolutely.

  76. NX2

    Ben Goertzel seems like a cool and interesting person to me (okay, yes, hit the bong if you like) but...ending human suffering?
    That's so Brave New World. I guess he hasn't read the book, or at least didn't learn from it. Or it must be i'm the one that understands it wrong?
    Claim the right to be unhappy?
    Also, i find the consciousness aspect a bit shallowly worked out, here in this documentary.

  77. dewfall

    My youngest isn't convinced that we only had three tv channels when I was little, or that there were ever black and white sets and that we didn't have central heating until I was 14, or a house phone for that matter. But then I remember thinking it odd that my great grandparents had a pantry instead of a fridge. I wonder what our great grandkids will think of us, they'll probably view ipads in the way we view quills :)

  78. oQ

    I bet you didn't have a dancing pole either.

  79. Pysmythe

    Maybe the transhumanists will be ascendant for a while... and then we'll decide to have us a good old-fashioned Butlerian Jihad. :)

  80. Pysmythe

    It's all good until the vacuum cleaner puts you in a half-nelson for messing up his floors!

  81. jaberwokky

    Jesus Christ man, you need to write a book, that was wonderful.

    Edit: I think Dan Simmons hit the appropriate extrapolation pretty much on the head with his Hyperion Cantos. For me at least.

  82. jaberwokky

    He reminds me of a Jim Jones for stoners :/

    I can't guess as to whether he's read Brave New World but I'd hazard that how we reach equilibrium is of little concern to him as long as his path has a starring role... if you see what I mean.

    The consciousness aspect was very shallow, almost a bad rereading of some Alan Watts quotes in places with a hint of Arthur C Clarke to lend credence.

  83. Pysmythe

    Look up Global Workspace Theory on Wikipedia and tell me what you think.

  84. dewfall

    That's true, but I can guarantee that if we had, my Granny would have been on it! ;)

  85. Florin

    I remember I once had a dream in which I was a robot/cyborg. The setting was my regular house, nothing was out of the ordinary, except for the fact that I couldn't feel or hear myself breathe - and I woke up - it was a nightmare. I can't even imagine how many sensory inputs and feedback signals permit us to function normally, as what could be perceived as a human mind with a functional psychology.

  86. russ apechin

    The military are the first to get any technology. The precursor to the Internet, ARPANET was a large wide-area network created by the United States Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (ARPA).
    Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310

    Corporations are essentially citizens and can contribute vast amounts to the politicos they choose.
    R&D funds are channeled to these corporations.
    AI is developed for drones, robotics etc to wage war for ....profit...
    Little robots with the blackwater logo stamped on their cute lil robo chests pooftering around killing sit

  87. dewfall

    So many parts of being that we forget to appreciate, after writing the above I found myself thinking of people that spend their lives in bodies that don't behave as expected. As much as I hate the idea that humans might become part machine, wouldn't it also be wonderful if we could give those people the freedoms we take for granted. I guess it's a matter of perspective, for us to swap our sense of touch for bionic arms would most likely not seem a fair trade, but I have no doubt that there are millions that would give up ticklish feet for legs that could run and jump :)

  88. Florin

    Without a doubt, the equation changes when disabled and incapacitated people are in discussion. I think I would not even give it a second thought if I were to chose between some sort of sensory input and the basic, mechanic functionality of a limb. And even now, we have very good functional artificial tactile sensors and the ability to interface electronic systems with biological ones; so in a future when cybernetics becomes a more common solution for the betterment of the lives of those who were a bit more unlucky than us, we should be able to not only give them a functional "tool" but a functional limb. I try to be optimistic.

  89. dewfall

    I like your optimism so I'm going to share it! Let's hope that by the time they get this stuff together, we'll all be the kind of people that are glad to give it away free :)

  90. Bob Dole

    2nd person I've ever heard of that has read that series.
    Spot on : )

  91. terrasodium

    .in the years 1930-1960 a lot of speculation in sci-fi was presented to the public and enlisted a space race mentality, they put a man on the moon , but they made forecasts of space exploration to other stars and gallaxies, in the years 1980- present date the sci-fi variant has been on artificial intelligence(behavioural, not actually) in enlisting the public imagination and efforts to manifest the promises provided by the presentation here as a singularity. both space exploration and AI are brilliant PR for an industry to nudge the publics pursestrings , NASA has shelved alot of their projects , and Google has been building alot of shelf space for future projects, the singularity may be as prescience to todays generation , as a 1950's pulp sci-fi magazine was to earlier generations, both ideas generate alot of capital for specific authoritarian enterprises
    it is encouraging to see so many recognizing the extent to which the questions remain unanswered

  92. docoman

    The public's interest in space and sci-fi started well before 1930 mate.

    Jules Verne;
    A Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864);
    From the Earth to the Moon (1866),
    Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870), Mysterious Island (1874).

    H.G. Wells;
    The Time Machine (1895),
    War of the Worlds in (1898), after astronomer Percival Lowell reported seeing 'canals' on Mars in 1895.

    I agree there was renewed interest after WWII because of the advances in technology though.

  93. terrasodium

    If I had to put a point to my comment it would be that the predictive sway of story telling has always been culturally and societially revolutionary , both in the positive and negative aspects of influence on individual thinking.

  94. gnarliman

    Feel free to let "better programmers" write your problems away, but please tell them to stay the hell away from mine...

  95. Chul

    Americans and his culture of war, choose between basic, if this
    guy is the one trying to teach robots consciousness we are doom. Why it
    will be a war in the first place!? Is like its in his DNA or something!

  96. Jack1952

    That avatar was a result of a suggestion you made. Thanks. I haven't had time to watch it, yet, but I definitely will. Thought I'd read the comments first. If the film is too wacky, I'll pass. Interesting topic though.

  97. Jack1952

    I half expected that robot to say "I don't want to" when told to move forward. Will a free intelligent robot fall to the lure of self interest? Would a future robot only move forward if it has nothing better to do or maybe decide that it just doesn't feel like it? What if it's a lazy robot? Would rather do nothing than something.

    Robot intelligence would not have the evolutionary and biological pressures that cloud human reasoning. Being artificial, a fear of death, the survival imperatives, may not be the driving forces that humans experience. Most of our human vices are survival instincts gone awry. We cannot understand why greed, violence, lust and the "deadly sins" plague our society to the extent it does but it seems that it is a part of our psychological makeup which suggest they may be genetic traits or memories of when these vices were pivotal to our ancient survival. A robot would not have the genetic blueprint to fear death. It's an artificial machine and its parts are replaceable and its brain, the central processor, could have all its memory transferred to a new brain. Hopefully, that desire to accrue wealth and power for its own sake, would not effect the robot like it does humanity. Those things may seem illogical to a robot. Why create something for survival just to have it destroyed in a war? Maybe some of that logic will rub off onto us or they'll eventually insist that these vices disappear, whether we like it or not.

    This singularity concept gives us so much to think about. I could go on about it for pages but I'll spare you that. The future is so full of the unknown, both optimistic but also just down right gloomy. As it has throughout our history, we still live in interesting times and it seems to be getting more interesting as the years pass.

  98. oQ

    S for singularity? I suggested that? Will be interesting to read what you have to say about the doc.

  99. Annie Stone

    I don't really understand what they're talking about in this movie.

  100. Jack1952

    They are talking about a time in the future where machines are smarter and more capable than humans and will do all the jobs that we do, now. It would be the end of "jobs" as we know it.

  101. Osiris Nhine

    Why wouldn't it be possible to create self-determining ai that only has the 'good' parts, such as compassion and benevolence?

  102. johnBas5

    Open Source for the win!!
    Things are improving, look at Wikipedia!
    An open encyclopaedia for everyone for free!

  103. jaberwokky

    It's an astounding piece of Sci-fi literature. Hopefully they do it some justice with the planned movie. If not then I'll go on IMDB and rant about it for days :)

  104. Brothers and Sisters of Aquari

    Without doing work people will just become impossible. They are already heading this way without this kind of scientific help! And such scientists are supposed to "lead us". People's physical and subtle bodies as well as their characters (the ethic dimension of human beings) will simply fall apart by the increasing indulgence in sense gratification, which comes when one is not engaged according to his or her nature. AN IDLE MIND IS THE DEVIL'S WORKSHOP! And the progressive mentality they would be developing through just a few of such lifetimes is frightening. The end of such degradion is incalculable! However, the aim of those scientist is to draw as much money as possible for such crazy projects, like they already do with Cryonics. So, who wants to be cheated, is welcome to proceed. He may as well buy some land on the Moon :) It's modern to do so! So there is nothing wrong in the statement of Annie Stone. She is probably intelligent enough to not understand the rubbish those people are blabbering about. She does not need any further explanations of their theories ;) What kind of a new generation of PhD's are these? They should be doing precisely what they are trying to avoid! Some work like agriculture would be a good medical prescription for them. And they would feel really nice, believe me :))

  105. Jack1952

    I said that it would be the end of "jobs" as we know it. Manufacturing and the drudgery of paper work will be gone. Do you really believe people find joy and fulfilment fitting plastic clips into predesignated slots or serving French fries to ungrateful customers? It has the potential to free us from labour for survival and allow us to pursue the things that we love to do, the things that interest us. Increased education, travel, building our own homes, running a family business, growing our own food...the list is endless. It requires a new way of viewing the world and how we interact with it. It is unlimited freedom with a security that we have never known in our history. It may well be that some will indulge in the "crazy stuff" but with safeguards in place, we can allow it as long as no one gets hurt. Hopefully, it will start us to a point where economic, political, religious and nationalistic impositions will be a thing of the past. There are too many hungry, sick, homeless and destitute people in the world for us to keep going at the status quo or to try to return to some mythical time in our past. Life as been hard and a struggle to survive since the beginning. Let's try to learn all we can so our children don't have to live our legacy of war, poverty, disease, crime, etc.

  106. Brothers and Sisters of Aquari

    I know what you mean and your intention is good. However, the fact is that only a handful of people are taking and would ever be taking it that way, constructively! The usual mass of people in the material world is by definition interested only in sense gratification. And this leads to all the phenomena you have listed so far. Hurting people and other living beings comes last, but is going on all the time on a large scale even legally. As long as people are maintaining massive slaughterhouses in their societies there cannot be any peace or real prosperity. And what to speak of the ogligarchy running the world towards the New World Order. Their intention is far from being constructive. And they are financing such crazy scientist who are trying to impress us with their blabbery. Real knowledge and wisdom is and will always be the legacy of only a few. Once you make esoteric knowledge exoteric, like Moses did, even if his intentions were good, you get what you have now: a total mishmash in every area of life, especially the ones concerning confidential knowledge. Only one of a thousand will ever take to the path of introspection and only one of a thousand of such people will ever arrive at the end of such inquiry. Eventually it's all the people! But it will take some time, lifetimes of evolution. And this evolution is individual. You can never make it collective. The mass of people is unfortunately always interested in the quickest and thus cheapest and worst solution and result. But chear up! It will never work. And that's the good news. Until we come to our senses, and that again individually :) P.S. Please don't take it personally. I did not even read other comments further on. I just commented on the first one, because I liked the innocent comment of Annie Stone ;) That's all. Heartful and warm greatings to all of you.

  107. Brothers and Sisters of Aquari

    Unless we realize the basic knowledge of difference between matter and spirit, we are sure to be misled into a network of false theories. There will be no sound ground to base our understanding on. We are here to mold our spirit not matter!

  108. winston

    What is that difference? Consciousness & spirituality so far s we know, are functions of the brain, without which they cease to exist.

  109. MirjamUrfer

    I found this film extremely disappointing. Their claims seem to have no basis whatsoever in reality. They're just making assumptions. Not once did Ben explain on what basis he thinks a positive singularity can happen in 10 years' time. We're nowhere near understanding how the human brain works let alone simulating it artificially. What makes these guys so sure that it will inevitably be the case that at some points machines develop consciousness that surpasses ours? I mean, they're supposed to do serious research, but not a word did I hear where actual scientific findings were presented.

  110. rtomkins

    The man has a perpetually smug smile on his face as if he knows a secret the viewer doesn't know. Very annoying, cause he doesn't know any secrets and it's the silly smile of a git.
    His long greasy unkempt hair and dirty attire completely detracts form any credibility he could possibly have.
    PhD or not, he's a twit.

  111. EmmettGrogan

    Actually, they have been doing alot of research on brain-human interface and learning about the brain. When Obama came into office in 2009, he put alot of $ towards research on the brain. Also, computers have been around a long time, and they simulate the brain in some ways, so there's that. The singularity they talk about is written about in depth by Ray Kurzweill in his book "The Singularity is Near". He is a bigwig at Google; I don't think this is such a good idea, given what humans normally do with technology, which is to keep the best cutting-edge stuff for the elites and let the rest of us suffer. Personally, I think Ray is a jerk, but if you want to learn about what they're doing in research on this topic, his book will tell you alot.

  112. EmmettGrogan

    Who says that not working is necessarily a bad thing? I had health issues for many years so couldn't work and haven't held a formal job for 11 years; but in that time, after getting healthy again, I've been editor/publisher of a small niche magazine; I've started up a grassroots agency to deal with child sexual abuse, rape and domestic violence in my community; and I do a weekly radio show. This in addition to managing a farm, planting a garden and raising animals.
    These are all things that contribute to the public good, which is my goal in life at this point. I know lots of people who don't hold a job, and make small sums of $ by writing, art, or other things and they contribute greatly to the the well-being of life on this planet.

  113. cyberfrank

    a hippy-scientist is an interesting mix, his documentary is entertaining, mostly on a philosophical basis.

  114. Matt Beaudoin

    really enjoyed the perspective of the doc, an insiders view on the challenges, but not a lot of deep content on the how-to aspect.


    It appears Dr. Goertzal is suffering from acute cock suckers cramp. I'll waste a comment by saying that singularity has come and gone and will never be realized by the public. Not even if its singular bulbous lip was pressed against their genitals. You wouldn't even recognize it.

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