This is part one of a two-part series on the limits of human economic growth on planet Earth. Part one details some of the environmental and natural resource challenges we’re up against. Part two, on the ultimate size of the resource pool and solutions to our problems, will be published tomorrow and linked here. Both parts are based on Ramez Naam’s new book, The Infinite Resource: The Power… read more
As a biomedical research scientist I am concerned about President Obama’s broad new research initiative ”to map the human brain.”
The BRAIN ((Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) initiative is a very ambitious, and perhaps even noble, effort, and I am most definitely not against imaging or nanotechnology as tools for research.
But, without specific goals, hypotheses or endpoints, the research effort becomes a fishing expedition. That is,… read more
April 1, 2013 by Amara D. Angelica
OK, it’s April 1 again, so let’s see who’s been paying attention over the past year. Which of these are:
a. An actual KurzweilAI news or blog post, based on facts.
b. An actual KurzweilAI news or blog post, but based on speculation.
c. Fake news.
1. Rats can communicate with other rats 1000s of miles away, helping other rats navigate mazes.
2. Reality is created by… read more
March 15, 2013 by Jürgen Schmidhuber
There is a fastest, optimal, most efficient way of computing all logically possible universes, including ours — if ours is computable (no evidence against this). Any God-like “Great Programmer” with any self-respect should use this optimal method to create and master all logically possible universes.
At any given time, most of the universes computed so far that contain yourself will be due to one of the shortest and fastest programs computing you. This insight allows for making non-trivial predictions about the future. We also obtain formal, mathematical answers to age-old questions of philosophy and theology.… read more
If you think the events of the post-Valentine’s day surprise of the Russian Meteor and 2012 DA14 near miss are one of a kind, think again. “We know there are 500,000 to 1 million asteroids the size of DA14 or larger. So far we have found fewer than 1% of that ‘cosmic hailstorm’ through which we sail in our yearly orbit around the Sun,” said the Association of Space Explorers… read more
February 21, 2013 by Amara D. Angelica
Want to read a mouse’s mind — observing hundreds of neurons firing in the brain of a live mouse in real time — to see how it creates memories as it explores an environment?
You’ll just need some fluorescent protein and a tiny digital microscope implanted in the rodent’s head, Stanford University scientists say.
1. First, you catch your mouse.
2. Light… read more
We Are the World: inviting everyone onboard the 100YSS is practical and will help to ensure its success
February 13, 2013 by Martine Rothblatt
Dr. Martine Rothblatt suggests inviting the entire world’s population on-board the 100YSS by uploading, at no cost, their mindfiles — a 1 TB (or less) digital file of an individual’s mannerisms, personality, recollections, feelings, beliefs, attitudes and values — into a central database that will be carried onboard the starship. Presented at the 100 Year Starship (100YSS) 2012 Public Symposium Sept. 13–16, 2012 in Houston.
In… read more
I just finished reading How to Create a Mind. I found it both interesting and informative. At the end, I believe that there is an inherent difference between a human brain and an AI system, a difference that can’t be overcome by any amount of added speed and capacity. To illustrate this difference I have included a thought experiment:
Take the most powerful artificial brain in existence. Include all programs necessary to make… read more
February 5, 2013 by Amara D. Angelica
We received a note from Evan Younger, vocalist/bassist for Brooklyn-based Miracles of Modern Science mentioning a song he wrote, “The Singularity,” based distinctly on the ideas of futurist Ray Kurzweil.
“In 2011 I shared a house with our band’s mandolinist. One night I was browsing his bookshelf for bedtime reading, and his copy of The Singularity Is Near by Ray Kurzweil caught my eye.… read more