Open Side Menu Go to the Top
Register
"The Singularity Is Near" by Ray Kurzweil, How Close?? "The Singularity Is Near" by Ray Kurzweil, How Close??

08-07-2010 , 10:18 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Micturition Man
Why should we care about his relative accuracy when the discussion involves the absolute likelihood of one of his predictions coming true?
If your idea of estimating how likely it is for one of his future predictions to be true is to look at the % accuracy of his previous predictions and applying that to future ones then perhaps it isn't very relevent. However, suppose that it is known he is the worst professional predictor (someone who puts a lot of effort into making predictions) in the world with a 70% accuracy track record. People would completely dismiss what he was saying. Now suppose that it was known that he was the best professional predictor in the world with 70% accuracy. People would flock to him to hear his predictions and prepare for them to happen. His ability to predict the future relative to others is important.
"The Singularity Is Near" by Ray Kurzweil, How Close?? Quote
08-07-2010 , 10:36 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karganeth
ent. However, suppose that it is known he is the worst professional predictor (someone who puts a lot of effort into making predictions) in the world with a 70% accuracy track record. People would completely dismiss what he was saying. Now suppose that it was known that he was the best professional predictor in the world with 70% accuracy. People would flock to him to hear his predictions and prepare for them to happen. His ability to predict the future relative to others is important.

This is an odd argument because while it's true it's not really relevant to anything but RK's professional self-interest.

As far as the main topic of the thread is concerned what really matters (from the points contained in your post) is how high the number that you hypothetically set at 70% actually is.

Then there's the question of whether survivorship bias makes that success rate meaningless.

Then there's the vitally important issue MaxRaker raised about whether the singularity prediction belongs to a different class than the predictions we are grading him on.


FWIW I'm not trying to be an RK hater. It would be completely unfair since I have read only a few random paragraphs contained in this thread. But I do think prognosticators in general need to be approached with great skepticism.
"The Singularity Is Near" by Ray Kurzweil, How Close?? Quote
08-07-2010 , 10:47 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Micturition Man
But I do think prognosticators in general need to be approached with great skepticism.
Excellent wiew. One big advantage with their work though, is that they list some of the possibilities of the future. That may help us to look out and prepare for some of the things ahead. Computers potentially approaching the brains of humans is good to try to analyze well in advance before it happens. Exact year? Of lesser importance, it will anyhow be a gradual process, starting from the lab and then being wider spread.

Last edited by plaaynde; 08-07-2010 at 10:55 AM.
"The Singularity Is Near" by Ray Kurzweil, How Close?? Quote
08-07-2010 , 11:47 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeeJustin
How is this either past-posting or inconsistent?

This is much more specific than the page 121 quote, so it's adding new information, and nothing in it is inconsistent with page 121 which discusses freezing dead human brains, and the very early stages of reverse engineering.

Clearly non-invasive scans using high resolution MRI's of living persons was not done to reverse engineer human brains in 1999.
Do you even bother to look this stuff up?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Functio...onance_imaging

The very first part. You don't even have to get to the table of contents.



Quote:
And even if you want to add the word albums, my argument still applies. Your best case argument is that "it's too close to call" for this debate.
Your argument was about sales, or download volume, or some other irrelevant nonsense. The actual statement- that music albums typically do not have a physical object- is just wrong. You want to put an over/under on how many albums that would make even the billboard top 1000 don't have a physical form?
"The Singularity Is Near" by Ray Kurzweil, How Close?? Quote
08-07-2010 , 12:33 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeeJustin
Nope. It's that you actually have to be stupid to argue that the below prediction is wrong.



There are air-cards that provide very high-bandwidth. There are hotspots around the world that provide it as well, and there are 4g connections on cell phones that provide high bandwidth connections.
Air cards are ****ing horrible. Perhaps you were in a perfect spot, but I couldn't do normal work on one, even with good reception and in a city>250k people, and that just consists of a few auto-updating pages and one audio stream. Downloading a movie over one would be absolutely hideous, and downloading a single movie (a bit over 1GB afaict) would eat a good chunk of most data plans.



Quote:
What does this even mean? "Computers routinely include wireless technology to plug in..." Clearly air cards and wireless cards capable of accessing hot spots fit under this description...
A collection of hot spots does not provide reliable, instantly available access, because its coverage is terrible. Even in the US, what % of area is in hotspot range? Not much.

Air cards are not included with computers, at least not routinely. Maybe there's some promo to buy one with a new computer, but it's an accessory, not something shipped with or built into the computer. Even if you count air cards, very high bandwidth problem as above.
"The Singularity Is Near" by Ray Kurzweil, How Close?? Quote
08-07-2010 , 12:57 PM
I hate Kurzweil and his childish predictions!

Say there are technologies developing that will enable a singularity in the near future. Is there any chance that these technologies won't be very closely monitored and controlled? The very concept "singularity" is an anathema to every authority out there.
Think about the seriousness with which nuclear arms proliferation is viewed today and extrapolate from there.

When we factor in the continuing development of control and surveillance technologies, the need to use them resulting from increasing inequality and unpredictability, and realize that in a digital world control can be absolute, well, it starts to look like an Orwellian nightmare instead of a friendly universe waking up.

A singularity presents such massive opportunities and risks that it will become a primary strategic consideration. Kurzweil himself is an advisor to the US military, so he will be there to help the ruling elites figure it out.
"The Singularity Is Near" by Ray Kurzweil, How Close?? Quote
08-07-2010 , 01:00 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Micturition Man
This is an odd argument because while it's true it's not really relevant to anything but RK's professional self-interest.

As far as the main topic of the thread is concerned what really matters (from the points contained in your post) is how high the number that you hypothetically set at 70% actually is.

Then there's the question of whether survivorship bias makes that success rate meaningless.

Then there's the vitally important issue MaxRaker raised about whether the singularity prediction belongs to a different class than the predictions we are grading him on.


FWIW I'm not trying to be an RK hater. It would be completely unfair since I have read only a few random paragraphs contained in this thread. But I do think prognosticators in general need to be approached with great skepticism.
If only people would engage in a dispassionate analysis...but that's asking way too much.
"The Singularity Is Near" by Ray Kurzweil, How Close?? Quote
08-07-2010 , 02:17 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Micturition Man
The natural reading depends partially on when he made that particular prediction.

If he made it in the era of desktop PCs it seems to me he would have understood "computers" to mean computers that had at least as much functionality as desktops, including such banal functions as being able to print stuff. So it seems to me cell phones are ruled out.
I can go to my local high street and cheaply buy a 3g router and a few wireless dongles dongles and transform my whole house to being completely wireless (including the printer). i can also take my laptop with a 3G dongle and use it almost anywhere.

Quote:
He seems to be making a prediction about the default consumer computing standards of the future. Those standards are important because they are a barometer of how advanced computing technology in general is. The improvement in top-end stuff have a trickle-down effect that makes consumer stuff cheaper.
That's unreasonable. I prefer a desktop to a notebook so do many but notebooks are definitely routine and anyone who predicted we could routinely have such tiny computers would be correct.

Quote:
For example we could extend your reasoning to say that he would have been correct in predicting that "computers routinely have 3D monitors", because it is in fact trivial to upgrade to them. It's just quite expensive and really pointless because it's not yet standard.
but a 3G router and a few wireless dongles (as above) are very very cheap and I can but them from the local high street ot Amazon, it passes your cost test.

Quote:
ETA - Meh I'm starting to come around to your view regarding "routine" on this one... it's close either way I think.
Hopefully the cheap 3G router helps.
"The Singularity Is Near" by Ray Kurzweil, How Close?? Quote
08-07-2010 , 02:49 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeeJustin
Go is many orders of magnitude more complex than chess, and has many orders of magnitude more game states.
This should help computers
"The Singularity Is Near" by Ray Kurzweil, How Close?? Quote
08-07-2010 , 03:54 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Micturition Man
The problem is in the realm of computing technology lots of predictions approach very high degrees of probability the more time you allow.
this. i don't find his predictions all that impressive because of two things. 1. potential survivorship bias (i cant judge correctly how much this this matters) and 2. it seems to me that many of his predictions are stuff that most people would've agree were technically possible and hence mostly a matter of time. in the same way that its a matter of time before we find cheaper ways to produce green energy, power our cars or map the human genome. i'd be much more impressed if he were to put a timelimit on when AIDS will be functionally cured,cancer,diabetes, obesity or many of the currently incurable autoimmune diseases.

Last edited by greywolf; 08-07-2010 at 04:03 PM. Reason: missed a word
"The Singularity Is Near" by Ray Kurzweil, How Close?? Quote
08-07-2010 , 05:42 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Raker
This should help computers
Not true at all. Computers are great at solving games. They aren't that great at figuring out game flow, and pattern recognition of what seems to work, and coming up with new ideas on the fly for situations they have never encountered.

This is why computers still are worse than humans at poker, except for HU LHE which is one of the forms of poker with the fewest number of possible game states.

There's also the issue that there isn't nearly as much motivation to solve Go as there has been for Chess.
"The Singularity Is Near" by Ray Kurzweil, How Close?? Quote
08-07-2010 , 05:44 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomCowley
Do you even bother to look this stuff up?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Functio...onance_imaging

The very first part. You don't even have to get to the table of contents.
An MRI is not the same as reverse engineering the human brain. It's not even close.


Quote:
Your argument was about sales, or download volume, or some other irrelevant nonsense. The actual statement- that music albums typically do not have a physical object- is just wrong. You want to put an over/under on how many albums that would make even the billboard top 1000 don't have a physical form?
How are sales not relevant to this? What am I missing?

33% of music sales are digital, and that does not account for all the online albums that aren't paid for. I don't understand your argument.
"The Singularity Is Near" by Ray Kurzweil, How Close?? Quote
08-07-2010 , 05:52 PM
Quote:
Computers routinely include wireless technology to plug into the ever-present world-wide network, providing reliable, instantly available, very-high bandwidth communication.
That was the prediction that YOU quoted. Ever as a word refers to time, not location. The fact that your coverage doesn't work everywhere is irrelevant to his prediction.

Air cards are not horrible. They are reliable enough that poker players wager millions of dollars relying on them not to disconnect them. I've streamed live UFC fights on mine with no problem, and downloaded plenty of things. I have an unlimited plan, so downloading 1 gig would not be a problem at all. I've had a similar plan for 4+ years now.

And hot spots are insanely reliable. The fact that they aren't everywhere is irrelevant to his prediction.



Kurzweil could predict that toasters will become cheaper and more energy efficient, and your response would be, "WRONG! Pop tarts suck!". You're just adding your own faulty expectations to what he's saying.
"The Singularity Is Near" by Ray Kurzweil, How Close?? Quote
08-07-2010 , 05:54 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Micturition Man
If he made it in the era of desktop PCs it seems to me he would have understood "computers" to mean computers that had at least as much functionality as desktops, including such banal functions as being able to print stuff. So it seems to me cell phones are ruled out.

He's been dealing with computers since the early '60s, and loves to talk about how every stop watch nowadays has a computer in it.

He is certainly not using layman's terms here. When he says computer, he means computer. He does not mean desktop.
"The Singularity Is Near" by Ray Kurzweil, How Close?? Quote
08-07-2010 , 06:31 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomCowley
Air cards are ****ing horrible. Perhaps you were in a perfect spot, but I couldn't do normal work on one, even with good reception and in a city>250k people, and that just consists of a few auto-updating pages and one audio stream. Downloading a movie over one would be absolutely hideous, and downloading a single movie (a bit over 1GB afaict) would eat a good chunk of most data plans.





A collection of hot spots does not provide reliable, instantly available access, because its coverage is terrible. Even in the US, what % of area is in hotspot range? Not much.

Air cards are not included with computers, at least not routinely. Maybe there's some promo to buy one with a new computer, but it's an accessory, not something shipped with or built into the computer. Even if you count air cards, very high bandwidth problem as above.
wat.
dunno where you live but 4g has been around since last year in stockholm and coverage and speed for 3g aren't even close to as bad as your experience suggest. unlimited data plans are available and and 3g covers i think 97% of Sweden which is more then linebased broadband.. not to mention hot spots in cafes, libraries, and lots of places where people congest such as trains and public places. air cards aren't standard but they do indeed come built in in about 20% of new laptops.

what i would like to see from mister RK is a date when our computers will be truly wireless. powered without cables with projection screens/superthin foldable LED screens and computers small enough that they will be the size of a USB dongle today. cloud based computers and improved human/computer interaction.

Last edited by greywolf; 08-07-2010 at 06:43 PM.
"The Singularity Is Near" by Ray Kurzweil, How Close?? Quote
08-07-2010 , 06:51 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeeJustin
Not true at all. Computers are great at solving games. They aren't that great at figuring out game flow, and pattern recognition of what seems to work, and coming up with new ideas on the fly for situations they have never encountered.

This is why computers still are worse than humans at poker, except for HU LHE which is one of the forms of poker with the fewest number of possible game states.

There's also the issue that there isn't nearly as much motivation to solve Go as there has been for Chess.
Well, I can't really argue with you if you haven't done your homework. Computers are still terrible at solving games. They can't even break RSA encryption yet, much less Graph isomorphisms or known NP complete problems. After that you can start talking about EXPTIME.

And my point on the complexity being an advantage was that you could make a game complicated enough to where no human could even play. Real games involve heuristics which computers obv are not very good at yet,
"The Singularity Is Near" by Ray Kurzweil, How Close?? Quote
08-07-2010 , 07:14 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by greywolf
wat.
dunno where you live but 4g has been around since last year in stockholm and coverage and speed for 3g aren't even close to as bad as your experience suggest. unlimited data plans are available and and 3g covers i think 97% of Sweden which is more then linebased broadband.. not to mention hot spots in cafes, libraries, and lots of places where people congest such as trains and public places. air cards aren't standard but they do indeed come built in in about 20% of new laptops.

what i would like to see from mister RK is a date when our computers will be truly wireless. powered without cables with projection screens/superthin foldable LED screens and computers small enough that they will be the size of a USB dongle today. cloud based computers and improved human/computer interaction.
I live in the US. In my area (not the middle of nowhere), it's a mix of 3G and EDGE in/near cities, and almost all EDGE elsewhere. Here are some basic stats for what's available:

Dialup: ~50kbps, never tested latency but it's routinely reported in the 300-400ms range

Edge: ~100kbps, don't remember latency. 2x dialup

3G: ~400kbps, 400ms latency. 8x dialup

broadband (through cable modem + wireless router): ~9000kbps, 45ms latency. 180x dialup and 10x lower latency than 3G

3G is dog**** in comparison to standard home broadband- literally 10x worse. EDGE is a brontosaurus-sized piece of ****. He's talking about "movies being rapidly distributed as data files through the wireless network." EDGE and US 3G do not remotely qualify.

It's a bit annoying trying to figure out what this prediction means, but the most reasonable reading of it, IMO, based on what it's supposed to do, is analogous to cellphone-level coverage areas at hotspot speed. Some (american) cities have talked about deploying city-wide wifi, but I don't know if it has actually been done. It's certainly not widespread if so, and today's "ever-present worldwide network" that computers are supposed to plug into wirelessly is not a mechanism for rapidly distributing things such as movies (>1GB).
"The Singularity Is Near" by Ray Kurzweil, How Close?? Quote
08-07-2010 , 07:26 PM
Quote:
is analogous to cellphone-level coverage areas at hotspot speed.
How can you justify this interpretation? Nothing in the prediction you quoted has anything to do with portable widespread nationwide coverage?!?!?

Quote:
Computers routinely include wireless technology to plug into the ever-present world-wide network, providing reliable, instantly available, very-high bandwidth communication.
IMO home desktops would be enough for this prediction to be true, but it just so happens there's so much more.

What are you reading that I'm not?! So confused =(
"The Singularity Is Near" by Ray Kurzweil, How Close?? Quote
08-07-2010 , 07:39 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeeJustin
An MRI is not the same as reverse engineering the human brain. It's not even close.
You obviously don't know what fMRI is, what it is used for, and how it differs from a normal medical MRI. It's used for the express purpose of conducting experiments to learn how the brain works.


Quote:
How are sales not relevant to this? What am I missing?

33% of music sales are digital, and that does not account for all the online albums that aren't paid for. I don't understand your argument.
Do you own this book or not? Do you consult it when I tell you the exact page number and paragraph to look at?

Prediction: "Digital objects such as books, music albums, movies, and software are rapidly distributed as data files through the wireless network, and typically do not have a physical object associated with them."

I hope I don't have to diagram this sentence for you, but "them" at the end refers to "digital objects such as .. music albums..". It does NOT refer to "individual data files that are distributed through the wireless network" (which obviously don't have a physical object.. what are they going to do, mail you a physical copy too after you download it? That reading is prima facie absurd compared to mine.).

The prediction is that the ALBUM (the digital object, the master copy of the album) typically does not have a physical object associated with it. The prediction is NOT that your COPY of the album- the data file- typically does not have a physical object associated with it. The prediction is that the album itself is typically an entirely digital object that is not stored (or the weaker condition, not distributed, if you prefer), in physical form. It is obviously completely wrong.
"The Singularity Is Near" by Ray Kurzweil, How Close?? Quote
08-07-2010 , 07:45 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomCowley


Prediction: "Digital objects such as books, music albums, movies, and software are rapidly distributed as data files through the wireless network, and typically do not have a physical object associated with them."

I hope I don't have to diagram this sentence for you, but "them" at the end refers to "digital objects such as .. music albums..". It does NOT refer to "individual data files that are distributed through the wireless network" (which obviously don't have a physical object.. what are they going to do, mail you a physical copy too after you download it? That reading is prima facie absurd compared to mine.).

The prediction is that the ALBUM (the digital-object master copy of the album) typically does not have a physical object associated with it. The prediction is NOT that your COPY of the album- the data file- typically does not have a physical object associated with it. The prediction is that the album itself is typically an entirely digital object that is not stored (or the weaker condition, not distributed, if you prefer), in physical form. It is obviously completely wrong.
Lol. I am guessing that you are going to be alone on this "interpretation".
"The Singularity Is Near" by Ray Kurzweil, How Close?? Quote
08-07-2010 , 07:46 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeeJustin
How can you justify this interpretation? Nothing in the prediction you quoted has anything to do with portable widespread nationwide coverage?!?!?
How can you call the network ever-present and worldwide if I can't have it all the time wherever I go in the world? WTF? And I'm not being as ass and asking for it in Antarctica or at the bottom of the ocean. His wireless network (that he says is capable of rapidly distributing movies) doesn't even exist on the average downtown sidewalk tile, much less in less urban places.
"The Singularity Is Near" by Ray Kurzweil, How Close?? Quote
08-07-2010 , 07:49 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Raker
Lol. I am guessing that you are going to be alone on this "interpretation".
Probably, but come on, the other interpretation is literally as profound as saying that an email message typically doesn't have a physical object associated with it. That version of the prediction is so utterly trivial and stupid that I give RK more credit than to intentionally write it.
"The Singularity Is Near" by Ray Kurzweil, How Close?? Quote
08-07-2010 , 07:52 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomCowley
It's used for the express purpose of conducting experiments to learn how the brain works.
Conducting experiments on the brain to learn more about it has been done since monkeys poked brains w/ sticks.

Clearly more is meant by reverse engineering than this.

It refers to analyzing the structure, which was first done by using frozen brains, and slicing them into super thin layers to be able to look at the inside of the brain on a cellular level. MRI's are not precise enough to be considered reverse engineering.



And ya, your interpretation re digital objects is insane. He never implied that hard copies don't exist.
"The Singularity Is Near" by Ray Kurzweil, How Close?? Quote
08-07-2010 , 07:53 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomCowley
Probably, but come on, the other interpretation is literally as profound as saying that an email message typically doesn't have a physical object associated with it. That version of the prediction is so utterly trivial and stupid that I give RK more credit than to intentionally write it.
It depends on when it was made. Saying that about letters or whatever in the mid 80s would have been impressive. When did Kurzweil say that about music? If it was after in mid/late 90s it is barely a prediction as that was already happening.
"The Singularity Is Near" by Ray Kurzweil, How Close?? Quote
08-07-2010 , 07:53 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeeJustin

There's also the issue that there isn't nearly as much motivation to solve Go as there has been for Chess.
It is unclear to me that this is true. Ing Chang-ki denoted $1.4 million to the first programme strong enough to beat a Taiwanese pro. I'm unsure of when this prize was first announced , but IIRC it was in the 1980s. The prize no longer stands - following Ing's death, it was discontinued in 2000.

Some discussion of this is here.

I'm unsure what the prize for best computer chess programme is, however.

It's also unclear to me if computers would be allowed to compete in professional tournaments. But this could reasonably lucrative - 1st prize in the annual Japanese Kisei tournament is 42,000,000, for example. (I believe that this is around $460,000.)

I'm unsure how to measure the potential profitability of software sales.

On an unrelated note, programmes are now world class at 9x9 Go. however, they are still comparatively weak at the standard 19x19 Go.

Last edited by river_tilt; 08-07-2010 at 07:57 PM. Reason: It's appropriate that my 361st post is about Go.
"The Singularity Is Near" by Ray Kurzweil, How Close?? Quote

      
m