View Poll Results: Bruce Sterling says give up on AI. It's bogus.

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Thread: Bruce Sterling takes a dump on aritificial intelligence

  1. #1
    Korpsy Knievel's Avatar
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    Default Bruce Sterling takes a dump on aritificial intelligence

    "The Singularity": There's No There There

    Since it's 2013, twenty years have passed since Vernor Vinge wrote his remarkably interesting essay about "the Singularity."

    This aging sci-fi notion has lost its conceptual teeth. Plus, its chief evangelist, visionary Ray Kurzweil, just got a straight engineering job with Google. Despite its weird fondness for AR goggles and self-driving cars, Google is not going to finance any eschatological cataclysm in which superhuman intelligence abruptly ends the human era. Google is a firmly commercial enterprise.

    It's just not happening. All the symptoms are absent. Computer hardware is not accelerating on any exponential runway beyond all hope of control. We're no closer to "self-aware" machines than we were in the remote 1960s. Modern wireless devices in a modern Cloud are an entirely different cyber-paradigm than imaginary 1990s "minds on nonbiological substrates" that might allegedly have the "computational power of a human brain." A Singularity has no business model, no major power group in our society is interested in provoking one, nobody who matters sees any reason to create one, there's no there there.

    So, as a Pope once remarked, "Be not afraid." We're getting what Vinge predicted would happen without a Singularity, which is "a glut of technical riches never properly absorbed." There's all kinds of mayhem in that junkyard, but the AI Rapture isn't lurking in there. It's no more to be fretted about than a landing of Martian tripods.

    Bruce Sterling
    Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America
    http://www.edge.org/response-detail/23784

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    Éminence grise mikemex's Avatar
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    It is much closer than what you think...
    [] | NP | 3[6w5]8 so/sp | Type thread | My typing of forum members | Johari (Strengths) | Nohari (Weaknesses)

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    oh snap

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikemex View Post
    It is much closer than what you think...
    Yeah, it is going to happen tomorrow.

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    Korpsy Knievel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikemex View Post
    It is much closer than what you think...
    That's the standard carried by any revolutionary vanguard*, not just futurists. Its message serves to attract the hopeful and bolster the faithful as the program inches along toward its stated purpose. However, the computational/cognitive singularity and other God-sized offspring of the cyberpunk mythos are mostly conditions and artifacts of a demonstrated knowledge which has yet to materialize with the efficacy envisioned by its pulp fiction prophets and scientific rah-rah squad.

    In regard to the enumeration of failures and the general state of both technology and human ingenuity in production of actual AI, I agree with Sterling's present pessimistic assessment of the singularist dream: "A promise is a comfort to a fool." This contemporary movement is ahead of its time and ought to stop crying wolf.

    All the same, I clicked "DIAF, Bruce" to recognize the extant possibility that some manner of anthrogenic (i.e. manufactured) sentience will be realized at a more distantly situated and sublime plateau of human fancy-pantsery. Eventually, but not too soon.

    * That's also how parents scare their children into bed by removing the light and invoking the bogeyman, bedbugs, gypsies, the Deceiver, and/or the Almighty.

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    I saw a documentary where a robot with funky eyebrows and tracks was struck by lightning and came to life. He fought for survival and won. Yolo.


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    Éminence grise mikemex's Avatar
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    Well, first of all, may I politely request @Ashton to be purified by fire?

    Second, it's cognitive dissonance; scientists are still humans. They do not find it so they assume it's not possible. They prefer this to thinking that they are not as bright as they think they are.

    I laugh at most NTs for this reason. They are good at nitpicking you but they often lack vision when it comes to large scale stuff. Ray Kurzweil (ILE) is a great example of this.
    [] | NP | 3[6w5]8 so/sp | Type thread | My typing of forum members | Johari (Strengths) | Nohari (Weaknesses)

    You know what? You're an individual, and that makes people nervous. And it's gonna keep making people nervous for the rest of your life.
    - Ole Golly from Harriet, the spy.

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