Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Raymond Kurzwell

Projects to live 700 years: What is Singularity University?

Remember Deep Blue?  The program of IBM that defeated Garry Kasparov in chess?  How about Project Blue Brain, also by IBM, a synthetic brain following mammalian’s models?  David Ferruci is responsible of the Semantic Analysis and Integration part; David is ironing out a few glitches in project Watson, a supercomputer designed to challenge contestants in Jeopardy. Project Blue Brain has created hundreds of programs and algorithms endowed with capabilities of reasoning, learning, organizing memories…; these algorithms are based on Artificial Intelligence rules of (If-Then) questions and answers.

There is this Singularity University, a campus based at NASA, and is supported and funded by Google and the Pentagon.  Google is working on a “giant brain” emulating human reflexes!  Yes, a “Singular Brain”. Peter Diamantis, the co-founder of Singularity University and its director since June 2009, declared that his objective is to live to be 700 years; “I am very serious” he said.  It seems that current technology has limits: It cannot extend life beyond 700 years; or maybe an oracle warned him not to witness what will happen 700 years later. The 49-year old Diamantis is a pioneer of private space trips.

You have participants coughing up $15,000 just for a 9-day sessions of discussions and training for acquiring creative minds.  If you want to attend a 10-week session then you must have saved $25,000.  Obviously, these rich participants are encouraged by their multinational corporations as direct means for funding this Singularity thing.

Andrew Hessel, former researcher at Amgen (biotechnology leader) is confident that within 10 years we will be able to control the code of life.  Christopher de Charms is involved in brain imaging:  Collecting information by means of detection systems that quantify (objectively) the levels of depression or pain; he said: “We are about to obtaining objective data directly from the brain”. How objectively feelings can be quantified?  How would a experimenter know what we feel in order to gather the proper data?

What about this engineer and entrepreneur Raymond Kurzwell? He is the author of “Humanity 2.0: The bible of change” and described as the “absolute thinking machine”?   He pretends that artificial recreation of a brain is far simpler than what it appears since everything is enclosed in the genome.  Kurzwell is the inventor of readers of characters for the blind, music synthesizer,  and voice recognition. Kurzwell envisions the usage  of sciences to improving mankind physical and mental capabilities; for example, by applying genetics and nanotechnologies illnesses and getting old would one day be history!  He said: “Being a human means precisely to going beyond what we are”.  Ethan, Kurzwell’s son, said lately: “My dad has been considered lately as far less bizarre:  He is such meticulous in his research and his reflections are far advanced.”

Skeptics are by the shovelful; generally they had experienced life and tend to view the optimism of Singularity University as overly premature:  extrapolating trends on prior advances are no longer applicable, since the rates of scientific advances and technology are diminishing rapidly relative to population rate increase . Among other facts. Anyway, how many people reaped any advantages in decoding the genome so far?  Are these technology destined to be reserved for the elite 1% of humanity?  Are eugenics programs developing full swing?

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Raymond Kurzwell believes that fabricating a brain is far simpler than we apprehend it to be.  He says that brain structure is in the genome, and genome is at a manageable level of complexity to master.

I agree with Raymond Kurzwell that creating or producing a brain is feasible.  The question is: “What kind of brain we might end up with?  Is the created brain will ever perform at the level of any lower primate?  Will the brain behaves as we expect in complexity and flexibility? Will the brain be the image product of the “artificial intelligence” programs and algorithms that feed it with signals, data, and information and the way signals are transmitted by the growing and evolving brain?  Will the brain be a brain or just an amalgam of cells, tissues, neurons, synapses…that fire haphazardly with no purpose or goal?”

Yes, I believe that we can grow and create a brain under an incubator, fed artificially with nutrients and excited artificially with all kinds of sensory appropriate signals and cognitive information.  The question remains: “What end product might we end up with? Do we need for every single brain produced to be tested and validated for normal performance and behavior?  And what are the performance and behavior criteria we are comparing to?  Is the quality control technique still valid in this case?”

Otherwise, if every product is to be exhaustively tested then, we is the profit?  No enterprise will ever invest a dime in that project.  Not even the Pentagon will invest in more than two version, for curiosity sake. Even if we can install thousands of incubators to mass produce brains, as with enriched uranium, the fact that every single brain has to be tested and validated for long time is not what industries want to invest in.  Still, it is premature to scratch that project if you hear “professors and promoters” at Singularity University campus located in NASA and funded by Google and the Pentagon.

Our normally developed brain is already too frustratingly complicated to comprehend its processes:  Those thousands of tests and experiments done on brain and mankind psychological and social behaviors have not led to reducing the level of complexity in the functioning of the brain in any significant way.

May be we have to wait until we understand how our brain functions so that we might be able to test and validate incubator’s products.  Anyway, there is no harm to start producing a “specimen brain” so that we learn the daunting task ahead of us to circumventing natural evolution and stop bragging of mankind intelligent power to developing any kind of technology and comprehending the universe.




April 2021

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