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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Artificial Intelligence Will Not Lead to a "Singularity"

The singularity is simply a type of immanentized escheaton that is a product of the Western/Faustian Grand Style where we focus on infinity. One way of thinking of Western Culture/Civilization is to view the collective memetic superstructure as having a boundary condition of thoughts that tend toward the infinity.

For example, the entire “faster, stronger, bigger” = Better. Supersize me!

Now, with respect to computer “intelligence”, it helps to remember that what is being addressed is a specific slice of the overall realm of intelligence. Computers are extremely useful tools, but they are tools and useful only in the realm of thought that deals with logic. A better way of thinking about is that computers are basically a form of technological “left brain” that has no underlying personality.

Individuals make decisions based on their underlying personality structure. Individuals also exercise free will. To the extent that computers are given “free will” it will amount to the randomness aspect of the physical universe. That is to say, the free will inherent in a random number generator.

I do not think that the people who deal with AI have even started to look at the real problem, that of artificial personality, or AP. To the extent computers become “more intelligent” than people, I would argue that we already have experience having such people in our midst. I call them autistic savants.

The only thing that AI will accomplish is the creation of mechanical hypersavants, which will be quite useful to helping us solve problems that can be solved by savants. But there will be no “singularity”.


Dink said...

Hey JP!

Just got back from Vegas; looking forward to reading your post more thoroughly and responding by this weekend!

Dink said...


You use great words. Its a pleasure to read your writing. Even if I disagree with the argument being made ;)

AI does not have all the components necessary to mimic human mentation. Using AI to do this seems redundant (we already have 7 billion minds on the planet) and creepy (what would we do with it and vice versa?).

But could it? If we started off with a fetal AI preprogrammed with a base emotional logic network ready to interpret certain stimulus as pleasant or scary. Then provided an interactive environment where it could build up experiences and memories. Provide it language. Show it a mirror one day. Let it ask questions and see what it comes up with.

I honestly believe the human "singularity" was a fluke. Genes were making bodies to house themselves in. The bodies needed to be able to survive in their environment long enough to raise replacement gene carriers. Handy neural networks began to form which were making this surviving/replicating business more and more efficient. Then the networks had too much time on their hands and started asking questions. And then of course all hell broke loose.

Not very romantic, but there it is. So when people ask "what's the meaning of life" all I can say is "Well, funny was a total fluke". But since we're here let's try to be useful and nice.

The Most Fabulous Objects In The World

  • Hitchhiker's Guide To The Universe trilogy
  • Lord of the Rings trilogy
  • Flight of the Conchords
  • Time Bandits