Τετάρτη, 9 Μαρτίου 2011

Technological singularity

Technological singularity is described in a recent issue of Time magazine. I read the article because I was curious, but I was disappointed when I read the following paragraph:

Computers are getting faster. Everybody knows that. Also, computers are getting faster faster — that is, the rate at which they're getting faster is increasing.

True? True.

So if computers are getting so much faster, so incredibly fast, there might conceivably come a moment when they are capable of something comparable to human intelligence. Artificial intelligence. All that horsepower could be put in the service of emulating whatever it is our brains are doing when they create consciousness — not just doing arithmetic very quickly or composing piano music but also driving cars, writing books, making ethical decisions, appreciating fancy paintings, making witty observations at cocktail parties.

The problem here is that somehow intelligence is equated with processing speed, when, for example, it is common knowledge that people perform arithmetic operations very slowly. Obviously, a superfast machine might help us settle some problems like Goldbach's conjecturem, but that is all. Human intelligence is something different and we have absolutely no idea who matter can become conscious…

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