News and commentary about the Great Frontiers

ISS007-E-10807 (21 July 2003) --- This view of Earth's horizon as the sunsets over the Pacific Ocean was taken by an Expedition 7 crewmember onboard the International Space Station (ISS). Anvil tops of thunderclouds are also visible. Credit: Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

Image Credit: ISS007-E-10807 (21 July 2003) – Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

Speaker: Eliezer Yudkowsky


Eliezer Yudkowsky, a researcher attempting to create “Friendly” AI, spoke about the three major schools of thought regarding the Technological Singularity:

  • Accelerating Change – technology trends follow exponential growth
  • Event Horizon – minds that are smarter than humans, including human brain enhancement, interfaces, and even AGI
  • Intelligence Explosion – improving intelligence using technology in a positive feedback cycle

These schools of thoughts can at times contradict each other, even suggesting alternative outcomes. For example, if the Event Horizon theory is correct, then predicting the future may be impossible. Accelerating Change proponents, such as Ray Kurzweil, suggest that the future might actually be predictable, because we can plot progress on an exponential graph with time as one of the axis.

However, these schools of thought can support each other’s core or bold claims. Today, these seem to be merged together into an idea of the Technological Singularity.

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