Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Path to the Singularity: AI to IA ?

I have long thought that the unlimited optimism that sufficient computer power would automatically make an intelligence to be unfounded. I do think the difference Vernor Vinge draws between Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Intelligence Amplification (IA). I am doubtful about AI, but IA takes our natural strengths and works with them.

Vernor Vinge's View of the Future - Is Technology That Outthinks Us a Partner or a Master ?

Regardless, I think the final obstacle to the Singularity will be our own intellectual limitations, self-imposed or innate.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Ice Age Cometh..... just maybe

Although much neglected, solar activity plays a major role in the earth's climate. We have just ended a very active solar cycle and most people (myself included) were expecting an even more active cycle about to start anytime now. I had read one suggestion that the cycle after this one could start a solar minimum, such as are associated with ice ages. But it appears that this solar cycle is already late in starting, and the Sun is anomalously quiet, with no sunspots at all. This is as quiet as it has been in a hundred years. Now, this cycle may very well start back up and that would not yet surprise me.

It is just that this is looking similar to how a solar minimum starts.... which are correlated with Global Cooling.

This would/could be a thousand times more devastating than Global Warming would ever be.

On the up-side, (small consolation) we can laugh at Al Gore and his camp...

Sun Makes History
Where have all the Sunspots Gone?

and of course,
Space Weather . com

No need to panic yet, but let's just keep our eyes on the Sun.

EDIT: The best place to keep an eye on the next solar cycle starting, as well as discussions of solar and climate physics about solar cycle 24, is Great site

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Purpose of the Singularity part 4: Why and what that means

As I discussed earlier, a secular basis alone is insufficient to explain why we have had such a successful scientific revolution, in comparison with previous ages.

However, if we will take time to understand God's purposes, it will help us make concrete predictions about how we will progress towards the Singularity. And the value of any theory is directly proportional to the quality of the predictions it makes (as well as explanatory power).

Just why does God care about it at all?

Firstly, there is no division between temporal and spiritual. What affects us temporally, as the potential to affect us spiritually. Much needs to be done and it will not all be done by the Latter-Day Saints. There is just too much to be accomplished. Prophecies about knowledge and "wonders in heaven and in earth" have been fulfilled in such things as planes and radio, but do not suspect for a moment that that means we will not see even greater advances ourselves. Instead of lifting us up in pride, the incredible technological advancements should indicate to us the magnitude of the work the Lord is preparing us for.

In due time, as the church purifies itself, tech will be important to help Zion both succeed and bloom in every way.

Prediction: Technological progression will continue and will raise the bar as to what is considered necessary as well as intelligent and educated.

Second, the kinds of technology that benefit the Lord's work will see tremendous advances. Considering the magnitude of the Millennial and Pre-Millennial work, we need a lot of help.

Prediction: There will be enough resources to perform the Lord's work. This especially includes time, so expect labor saving devices to become more useful and pervasive. Likewise, Malthusian arguments will continue to be invalid. There will be times of poverty, but there is too much to be done for continual poverty. Consider Brigham Young's prophecy that the Saints would be tried a hundred times more with wealth than they ever were with poverty. Consider the folklore prophecy of Brigham also, about vast reserves of oil in Utah. Regardless, if it is not oil, it will be something else.

Prediction: In a similar vein, there will be enough tools (especially those for communication) to perform the Lord's work. Expect the information revolution to continue its exponential growth, (There is no faster sustainable growth mathematically possible) both in quantity and in network speed. The internet has just gotten started. Tools for travel, (cars, planes, etc) will continue to become not only useful, but more useful and wide spread.

Next time,
  • Purpose of computers: Genealogy and temple work and Scriptures
  • The many things that could, or previously have, stopped Scientific Revolutions/Singularity.
What will this foreshadow for us?