Friday, April 24, 2009

Singularity 101 with Vernor Vinge | h Magazine

Singularity 101 with Vernor Vinge | h Magazine: "Lots of people have definitions for the Singularity that may differ in various ways. My personal definition for the Singularity — I think that in the relatively near historical future, humans, using technology, will be able to create, or become, creatures of superhuman intelligence."

Well, aren't we already? WIth access to the Internet we can get an answer to virtually any question within minutes if not seconds. But then answers to questions isn't really intelligence is it.

There is an old story about Henry Ford. Some intellectuals couldn't really believe someone who wasn't as smart as they were could create such a successful company. so they gave him what amounted to an IQ test and he did poorly. At the end he said something along the lines of, In my office I have a phone that connects me to my staff who do know that answers to those questions. I have to find answers to the questions they don't have answers for.

It is interesting to think that technology is limited by population. It may be that the singularity might not be possible without ~500M people to support it in the US plus however many in Europe, China and India. Actually it might be much less but the restraints because of politics seem to be the major limiting force. We have infinite imagination and sufficient food, energy and people.

Look at the iPhone, it has been out for only a couple of years and has one of the fastest adoption rates ever seen. And it isn't even in a number of countries mainly because of political reasons.

I think that unless there is a skynet type of startup, it will be like every other creation a slow start, popularity by early adopters, and final mass acceptance once it becomes inexpensive enough for most people, but not everyone will want it.

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