Archive for the ‘Singularity’ Category
I happened to come across two interesting posts with Singularity implications that I thought you might be interested in. First, the Singularity Hub reports that Osiris has a promising phase II trial underway for a treatment that uses foreign stem cells to repair the muscle damage from heart attacks. If you’re about 40 like Rafe and I, this means your chances of dying from heart disease could go way down. Now if we can just make some progress on cancer, we’ll be centenarians.
Second, via Prometheus, Wired reports on a robot-software combination that was able to generate, test, and refine it’s own hypotheses to identify coding for orphan enzymes in yeast. Obviously, this is a very special purpose kind of science. But the fact they got a closed loop is very impressive. I also like the fact that it’s in the biological sciences. Hey, maybe some descendant of this program can solve the aformentioned cancer problem.
Now that I’ve had a week to digest what I saw at the summit, I have some thoughts on the most likely path we’ll take to the singularity. From an absolute perspective, this path isn’t very likely because there are a lot of different ways to get there (or not get there). But given what I’ve seen so far, I assign this path the highest concentration of the admittedly diffuse conditional probability mass.
As most of you know, one of the commonly proposed paths to The Singularity is the development of artificial general intelligence (AGI). As you can read in my rundown of the Singularity Summit, speakers showcased a lot of progress in hardware substrate and software infrastructure, but no significant conceptual advances in implementing executive function in software.
Absence of evidence isn’t necessarily evidence of absence, but I believe that if anyone were making headway on this problem, the chances that someone at the summit would have alluded to it are high. Therefore, I predict that the first being with substantially higher g than current humans is much more likely to be an augmented human than an AGI [Edit: more thoughts on electronically enhancing humans here].
I attended the Singularity Summit today. Overall, it was worth the time spent. I did not attend the workshop on Friday because it didn’t look substantive when I reviewed the program. Today, I spoke to several people who were there and they confirmed my prediction. I took 7 pages of notes at the summit and hope to have some insightful synthesis of the material in a few days [Edit: first thought here, more here]. In the meantime, here is a short review of the talks.