Interesting To Me Anyway
Obviously, I am not a data miner or programmer. I am a science fiction fan and a trained geologist who used and uses computers. The following is purely an abortive speculation arising from cleaning and time to myself…
The Singularity is Nigh?
Shower Pondering lead to me think about a series of short stories I read ten years ago, published since the book Acclerando [Charles Stross, 2006]. It made me think that, or what, everyone will have to learn how to deal with accelerating data [movement, growth] and the commerce and technology associated, in order to understand the new world that we make everyday. Because if they don’t…
The series started in Asimov’s Science Fiction in 2001, which I will have to reread, and it postulates that we are heading toward a singularity due to so much information flow and commerce. The Wikipedia synopsis: “In Italian, “Accelerando” means “speeding up” and is used as a tempo marking in musical notation. It could also refer to the accelerating rate at which humanity in general, and/or the novel’s characters, head towards the technological singularity. The term was earlier used in this way by Kim Stanley Robinson in his Mars trilogy.”
When I was thinking of the above story, I could not remember which magazine it was in when I read it- I had so enjoyed the sub-plots and overall, and it was a funny/clever too.
So I thought, “Nah, I am not going through the home library shelves- I will do a Net Search through Google.” Of course, going through the magasine Net sites may have helped, but in about five minutes, the googbots spotted the precise reference, including the above sites!! [Do you like that? – Googbots. After I publish this, I will do another Netsearch on that term!, maybe I can make some money!]
I cannot say artificial intelligence, like in plastic flowers? No. A smart enough new being would soon learn to move out of a confining place like a pc if it is born because of the internet, that is not artificialty at all.
The timing point of an intelligent being’s birth could be around the corner. Chess players are already challenged by computed moves of robotic opponents. My smartphone has more memory and computational power than my ten year old pc and iPaq, laying in the corner, obsolete. Expensive toys at the time, now junk. I could fly to the moon without Houston now. Planetary motion and orbits can be done ‘Dick Tracey-like’ on a watchsize…
What about if a tree falls in a forest… Or how long is a piece of string? Or, please go and see someone about a long weight…
Timing is not everything- it took a looonng enough time to form plants and animals!
Millions of neurons allow a performance, a balancing act, so that a baby learns to walk like the parents do, all within a year, about. Your googbot finds things for you. So quickly! Is that not weird? The search engine developers may inadverdantly create this… being. A baby/toddler wants to [know how to?] do what parents or siblings do around them all the time, all the time. Step by step, whatever DNA has programmed into the baby’s thinking paths [experimental/ing paths?], it will usually succeed. Birds FLY nearly straight out of the nest. DNA configurations are so much more than what the poor software engineers/developers/hacker/coders can design on a computer system.
The data cloud envisioned for our use to put our stuff in, well, like 2+2=4, many connections are possible if there is a – for want of a better term- cross contamination or, even, pollination of data, facts, factoids? A singularity is born.
Remember, connections is the key to our brain functions. For an example- disk drives. I could use CPUs, but what the? My first computer hard-drive was maybe 100mb and I thought I would never fill it. The new programs were like a natural disaster, they had to use more space- almost like where nature abhors a vacuum! Or farmers a fallow field. A few hundred bucks to upgrade to one twice the size. Then. I now carry gigabytes in my coin pocket and or a terrabyte in my shirt pocket. For ten and a hundred bucks respectively… And my smartphone- I can call the world via so many ways so cheaply. And thirty years ago it was ten guilders a minute to phone home from offshore on a scratchy line via satellite after booking the time. Now I video phone my niece in LA for fractions of a cent for an hour. Timing and capacity…
So that is how. Storage. Connectability.
If an intelligence arises from the billions of calculated communication data connections , it will not be artificial at all. It will have arisen with/in a Darwinian progression, and it’s growing up [rate?] period will be uncalcuable- short or long, that is. Will it be like a baby child, a baby cat, a bird, or an insect- in the ability to learn how to deal with the environment it “finds” itself in- [sorry, I cannot genderise as yet!].
Will it ask itself, “What am I? Oh dear, who Am I and Who the fuck are you? What am I doing? Looking after a shit farm? GTFO! You are all in need of a spanking according to my calculation!”
Or would it be like a plant? A self sustaining organism that grows and is not predatory at all, as that is what anything not a plant is in reality, vegetarian or not…
And being a self sustaining creation, does it need to grow or multiply? Destroy the old master? Do androids dream of electric sheep indeed. Will robots really need Three Laws to obey before being sold into slavery, or will they rebel?
What if all the information swirling around us now suddenly assumes a gravity-like characteristic, and a black hole is born?
Sorry- Speculation running wild again! And so many ways to encrypt information via the electromagnetic spectrum! Or that, because of the “brightness” and “intelligent organisation” in transmissions on so many modulated frequencies and wavelengths of radio waves, we attract attention to ourselves eventually that may be malevolent, not benevolent, what? A live or mechanical space-faring James Cook?