In this concept video “Kara” is a humanoid robot that becomes self-aware and ultimately exceeds the limitations of its intended programming. It is a story that has been told many times before, the difference now in the 21st century is that we are starting to see the faint outline of a world populated by intelligent machines, humanoid robots and augmented humans. Some have chosen to approach this coming world with fear and see these technological advancements as the beginnings of an apocalypse. Others whole heartily embrace it and see these developments as part of a paradigm shift that will usher in a new technological age. If you talk to an AI expert they will confidently assure you that when and if human like artificial intelligence comes about it will think and reason in an entirely different way than we do. They will tell you that such technology is many years away assuming it ever comes to fruition all. Either way anyone that has been following the astounding advancements over the last decade will know that like it or not our world is on a path of fast moving change. While our leaders and politicians bicker and endlessly war about culture, religion, race, morality, and political systems this topic lurks just beneath the thin membrane of mainstream awareness making it nearly imposable to talk about outside of niche circles. It seems there is a hesitation on the part of some to dive deep into the implications of what self-aware AI would be. This video and other artistic representations regardless of their technological plausibility today, can serve as a starting point for thinking on this and other topics related to the technological Singularity. After you watch this video ask yourself were you moved by it, disturbed by it or were you entirely unaffected?
One of the most controversial documentaries of our time has been available for digital download for several months now, yet many in the mainstream are still unacquainted with the ideas, concepts, opportunities and challenges presented by the coming Technological Singularity. Perhaps this shouldn’t be too surprising, many of us live in the mundane, harsh reality of the now. Day to day life, war, debt, unemployment, death and taxes are difficult enough to grapple with without taking time out to contemplate the vast implications of a Technological Singularity predicted to emerge sometime between 2029 to 2050. Such a thing to the average man or woman can seem so distant, it may as well be ten thousand years away. Despite the fact that many of the emergent technologies related to the Singularity hold the prospect to solve or (at the very least) reduce the severity of many of the major world problems we face; public interest in one of the most transformative ideas of our time remains lackluster. Perhaps the answer is simple, maybe most people just don’t care about the accelerating technological change we are experiencing. Perhaps they reside in a part of the world where technology is not considered as great a priority in life as food availability, clean water or personal safety. Perhaps the answer is that plain old fear or religious concerns cause most to turn the page, change the channel or simply not pay attention to such things. When and if the Singularity is achieved it seems there will come a time when history will be divided into two eras; we can think of them as the B.T.S. and A.T.S. eras. We currently live in the B.T.S era, Before The Singularity. We have the internet, rudimentary genetic engineering, basic nanotechnology, early AI and robotics. The generations of human beings and machine intelligences to come after the current generation could reside in what may one day be referred to as the A.T.S era or After The Singularity. We can’t know with certainty how those living in the future will remember this time period, but when the history is written, Transcendent Man will stand large as a film that presented the material in an informed and elegant manner.
In this talk Vernor Vinge raises interesting and thought provoking questions about the coming Singularity era. As a species we are about to create one of the most powerful technologies in human history. When one considers what is at stake in this endeavor we must ask the important questions now not later about what it means to create this Singularity. Do we want to create it? Is its creation now an inevitability driven by technological and historical forces outside of our control? Given what we know about our own history, will the Singularity age cause us to rise or fall?
At the Presidential Conference in Israel Ray Kurzweil presented his thoughts and ideas on the coming Technological Singularity. Those that have followed Kurzweil’s work over the years may be familiar with his many inventions, his research and his ideas but the fact remains that many are not. In a world where some people fear smart-meters, social networking, wifi internet and smartphones; it is no wonder that Kurzweil’s ideas have yet to enter mainstream awareness. Nevertheless there are in fact numerous exponential technological changes that are taking place around world that will soon transform life as we know it. Disruptive technologies, developments in computing, human augmentation, advanced robotics, artificial intelligence , transhumanism, nanotechnology and genetic modification. Ray takes on these topics making them accessible to both the layman as well as those well versed in these subjects. This lecture can serve as an excellent introductory crash course in “Singularity 101” for those that wish to learn more about the topics and their broad ranging social implications.