03 Computing Futures - Technological Singularities...

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Technological Singularities
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Technological Singularities The acceleration of technological progress has been the central feature of the past century and is likely to be even more so in the century ahead. John von Neumann once speculated that “the ever accelerating progress of technology and changes in the mode of human life gives the appearance of approaching some essential singularity in the history of the race beyond which human affairs, as we know them, could not continue.” Some futurists such as Ray Kurzweil and Werner Vinge have even argued that we are on the edge of change comparable to the rise of human life on Earth.
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So what might happen? The precise cause of this change is the imminent creation by technology of entities with greater than human intelligence. For example, as digital technology continues to increase in power a thousand-fold each decade, at some point computers (or large computer networks) might “awaken” with superhuman intelligence. Or biological science may provide the means to improve natural human intellect. When greater-than-human intelligence drives technological evolution, that progress will be much more rapid, including possibly the creation of still more intelligent entities, on a still shorter timescale.
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Some Further Speculation The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence Ray Kurzweil
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Computer Evolution By 2020 a $1,000 computer should have the capacity (both memory and processing speed) of a human brain . By 2030, a $1,000 computer should be able to simulate the brainpower of a small village . By 2050, a $1,000 computer will have the brainpower of the population of the United States . By 2100, one penny ʼ s worth of computer will have a billion times greater computing capacity than all the humans on earth ...
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Kurzweil calculates that a
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03 Computing Futures - Technological Singularities...

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