Singularity Salon Talk – Presentation Transcript
- Putting the Human Back Into the Post-Human
- If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want to be Part of Your Singularity Some Meandering Thoughts by Jamais Cascio
- What is the Singularity? A disproportionate increase in the power of intelligence to achieve desired ends, including further boosting the power of intelligence.
- Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended.
- Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended. –Vernor Vinge, 1993
- The Singularity story echoes two very old tropes in popular mythology, but with a more recent twist.
- HUBRIS. We make things that try to kill us.
- ASPIRATION TO HUMANITY. We make things that want to be like us.
- The twist? Transcendence.
- The Singularity Story (in ﬁve slides)
- we create AI
- The AI “wakes up”
- The AI makes itself smarter
- The AI makes itself much smarter
- The AI takes over It might be friendly It might be unfriendly (not much we can do about it, either way)
- (the end)
- But what happens when you change the focus?
- we create AI
- we create AI (but now the focus of the story is the “we”)
- we create AI (but now the focus of the story is the “we”) OK, what “we”? Are there competing projects? Is this secret? Public? Civilian? Military? Open Source? How do governments react? How do markets react? How do citizens react? What are we doing in the meantime?
- not the end
- What’s Pushing Us to Do This? Technological capacity Competition (markets & politics) Need for complex systems to grapple with complex problems Curiosity
- What Might Hold Us Back? Dead-end technology paths Regulations Backlash against AI (or related technologies) Fear
- COMPLICATION #1: RESPONSIBILITY CREATION HAS CONSEQUENCES
- COMPLICATION #2: POWER POLITICS MATTERS
- COMPLICATION #3: LIABILITY A NO-FAULT SINGULARITY?
- COMPLICATION #4: RIGHTS NO SUCH THING AS A HAPPY SLAVE OR AN ETHICAL MASTER
- COMPLICATION #5: EMPATHY DON’T KICK THE ROBOT
- So… where does this all lead?
- Scenarios! tool for collaboration vs tool for competition short-term thinking vs long-term thinking
- email@example.com Twitter: @cascio
Students starting school this year may be part of the last generation for which “going to college” means packing up, getting a dorm room, and listening to tenured professors. Undergraduate education is on the verge of a radical reordering. Colleges, like newspapers, will be torn apart by new ways of sharing information enabled by the Internet. The business model that sustained private U.S. colleges can’t survive.
The real force for change is the market: Online classes are just cheaper to produce. Community colleges and for-profit “education” entrepreneurs are already experimenting with dorm-free, commute-free options. Distance-learning technology has just hit its stride after years of glitchy videoconferences—and will keep improving. Innovators have yet to tap the potential of the aggregator to change the way students earn a degree—much like the news business in 1999. And as major universities offer some core courses online, we’ll see a cultural shift toward acceptance of what is still, in some circles, a “Phoenix U” joke.
It is hard to predict the precise pace of change—but it’s possible that within 15 years most college credits will come from classes taken online. In 2007, nearly 4 million students took at least one online course, and the numbers are growing. Within a generation, college will be a mostly virtual experience for the average student. The Ivies will be much less affected than the mid-tier and local schools. But colleges that depend on tuition, and have no special brand, will be hit hard. The recession will accelerate this trend, as students become warier of taking on loans, and state schools experiment after fund cuts. This doesn’t just mean a different way of learning: The funding of academic research, the culture of the academy, and the institution of tenure are all threatened.
Having multiple studies for various cross functional activities and responsibilities will be the norm. The standard and near future degree programs don’t reflect this. I say less than 10 years not 15 and we will see this come to pass.
“Re-Industrialize the Planet”. A quick summary:
* The web is creating a global infrastructure for collaboration (which leads to disruption and confusion)
* As a result, all of our institutions have come to the end of their life-cycle
* The current recession is a crucial punctuation point in human history – the point where we said that we need to reset, the point where the industrial economy has finally run out of gas
* This paradigm shift is creating a crisis of leadership
* The Digital Natives are inheriting this situation – and they think very differently
* Kids are now the authority on many issues
* We have 40 years to re-industrialize the planet
Nearly 10,000 working parents will lose their health insurance this month in the wake of state budget cuts, leaving some families with nowhere to turn as they seek affordable coverage.
KidsCare Parents, a program that provides low-income families with inexpensive insurance, will end Sept. 30. The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, which administers the program, could not pay the $6 million annual cost following cuts by the Legislature. The state faces a $3 billion budget shortfall.
The health-care debate entered a “new phase” this morning, as news leaked that President Obama was re-tooling his plans for reform. But while pundits wait for him to make a major health-care speech next week, millions of Americans are turning to the Web to self-diagnose aches and pains.
Web sites such as WebMD and Discovery Health have long served this audience–inundating them ads in the process. Luckily, those of us that can’t make it to a doctor (or can’t afford to) now have another option. It’s called HealthBase, and it was launched this morning by a semantic Web company called NetBase. The concept of “semantic Web” is a truly amazing evolution of the Web as we know it now: It allows your computer to “read” Web sites and know their content, instead of blindly presenting you with data it can’t understand. That means smarter searching and more relevant content. Here’s how it works.
When you search a condition, treatment or drug on HealthBase, it performs a semantic search of all the other health-related sites on the Web. That means it doesn’t just look at the titles of the articles and spit back a result, it reads into the actual text to deliver you really useful content. (If this sounds like a technology that would have great implications for your business, you’re right; check out Oracle’s semantic databases. It has also done wonderful things for social networking, people-search engines, and other services.) Thankfully, the brilliance of the backend of this site comes without any of the 90s-Web-portal sensory overload of other sites; it’s simple, easy to navigate and transparent. When you navigate to HealthBase, you’re met with just a search box, and four simple tabs.
Doing a search for “neck pain” led me to a plethora of confusing links and materials on WebMD. It’s hard to tell what’s advertising and what is content; even if you can parse the two, there are still an overwhelming number of options.
Semantic web in action – expect to see more and more of these centralized semantic searches for niche markets
According to the New York Times Bits blog, a recent study funded by the US Department of Education (PDF) found that on the whole, online learning environments actually led to higher tested performance than face-to-face learning environments. “On average, students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction,” concluded the report’s authors in their key findings.
The report looked at just under one hundred studies that compared the performance of students in online learning environments (or courses with an online study component) to those who were given strictly face-to-face instruction for the same courses. What they found was that students who completed all or some of their coursework online tested on average in the 59th percentile, compared to the 50th percentile for those who received only classroom instruction, and that the results are statistically significant.
Richard Laermer’s book 2011: Trendspotting for the Next Decade. It’s a book about how to find the signal in the noise as well as a few predictions on how media will be forced to change for it to remain useful.This video is an interview with 2 guys from Mashable.com and Richard Laermer
The brain’s “seeking system” is hard-wired to obsessively love Google, Twitter, e-mail, and other electronic communication devices, fueled by the opioid neurotransmitter dopamine, according to neuroscientists.
Seeking. You can’t stop doing it. Sometimes it feels as if the basic drives for food, sex, and sleep have been overridden by a new need for endless nuggets of electronic information. We are so insatiably curious that we gather data even if it gets us in trouble. Google searches are becoming a cause of mistrials as jurors, after hearing testimony, ignore judges’ instructions and go look up facts for themselves. We search for information we don’t even care about. Nina Shen Rastogi confessed in Double X, “My boyfriend has threatened to break up with me if I keep whipping out my iPhone to look up random facts about celebrities when we’re out to dinner.” We reach the point that we wonder about our sanity. Virginia Heffernan in the New York Times said she became so obsessed with Twitter posts about the Henry Louis Gates Jr. arrest that she spent days “refreshing my search like a drugged monkey.”