Vernor Vinge om vägar till Singulariteten


Vernor Vinge: ”Vi kan förklara år 2012 för t.ex. Mark Twain men vi kan inte förklara världen för en guldfisk. Det är den kvalitativa skillnaden mellan övriga teknologiska framsteg och framväxten av övermänsklig intelligens och Singulariteten”

Singularity Hubs intervju med Vernor Vinge om Singulariteten (länkeditorn fungerar inte…

Vinge’s scenarios for how humanity could get to a tech singularity are as follows:

1. Pure Artificial Intelligence: The advent of an intelligent superhuman computer.

2. Intelligence Amplification: Take a natural mind, interface it with a computer and make it smarter (popular science fiction author David Brin calls the computer a neo-neo cortex; the machine part allows us to be smart, and the human part provides us with the component we’re good at: wanting things).

3. Computer Networks + Humanity: A phenomenon he calls “groupmind” or social networking, where we achieve superhuman intelligence (at least a functional sort – proceeding at a more robust rate than the others) through coordinated group efforts. An example of this would be Wikipedia.

4. Digital Gaia: A world with ubiquitous microprocessors able to communicate with their neighbors: if every physical object knew what it was, where it was, and could communicate with any other device, the result could be one where the world itself wakes up and becomes its own database.

5. Biomedical improvements in human intelligence lead to better memory and other changes.

Vinge spends the majority of his lecture at Singularity University detailing the taxonomy of groupminds – their qualities in size, origin, focus, hardware/software, longevity, interaction, sociology, design, and implications for his other paths to the singularity. He also talks about outliers – societal makers vs. breakers.

Vinge advises large institutions to understand that when they look at participants in groupminds they are looking at an intellectual resource that dwarfs anything we’d seen in the 20th century. There’s a real chance groupminds will prove worthy competitors, adversaries, and counterparts to social organizations and corporations in many situations . The downsides are that a groupmind may suppress slow thoughtful thinking about problems and may outsource morality. Vinge’s lecture also veers into the philosophical with his thoughts on identity and an individual’s desire for global self-awareness.

Vinge ends his talk on an optimistic note by saying “a post-scarcity economy is not a post-singularity idea: the reach of the mind will always exceed its grasp.” He predicts that even if we continue to experience technological unemployment, “bright sparks of human level intuition, creativity, and insight” will remain. “We’ll always be able to think of projects that are beyond what we can presently do.” Vinge believes with technology it’s possible to become or create creatures that surpass humans in every aspect of intelligence – and perhaps only an extreme physical catastrophe can stop this change.

If science fiction is essentially a scenario, its enormous advantage over other types of scenario based planning is that it can inspire action in its readers, especially when those readers are specialists. If the story emotionally engages the reader, the credentials of the writer do not matter. The specialist (reader) is the one who does the heavy lifting, turning the author’s broad brushstrokes into something that exists in the real world. This is the underappreciated characteristic of science fiction – its ability to move the scientific community to reach across the parameters of possibility.


I en annan intervju spekulerar Vinge i att en av effekterna på vägen mot Singulariteten är att hög utbildning kommer falla i pris med 10-100 ggr och göra att de som lever på att tillhandahålla utbildning får mycket svårare att tjäna pengar. Alla andra däremot får bättre förutsättningar att leva.



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