Singularity may be prevented by humanitarian crises
Ray Kurzweil predicts AI - the merging of technology and human intelligence to form AI and super-humans by 2045. This kind of development he admits is a double-edged sword. A pure technological advance like the harnessing of atomic fission, may be used for destructive purposes, as was so ably demonstrated in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The purpose of AI, will be dictated by the social circumstances that shape the face of humanity in 2030+. If these are not balanced to some extent, if the disparities growing daily are not redressed, then the future of humanity will look bleak, despite its technological advances.
ICT4D, is a way to make AI work for everyone. With awareNet, eKhaya ICT is trying to put AI techniques (using WordNet, NTLK libraries, and open source) to the service of the bottom of the pyramid. We are not alone. There are others who also believe that ICTs can pave the way to a more equal world. We are all trying to prepare for a future that most do not yet see and comprehend.
Let's hope that come 2055, Kurzweil's bright future will prevail, that energy needs will be met worldwide with renewable solar energy leading the way, and that an informed global population will be balanced by rational choices driven by AI, undermining dictatorships and organised crime syndicates.
I can see the singularity now, and I want it to benefit everyone. It should not serve vested interests of the few who would harness it to extend the lives of their families and their poodles.
Aside: as a mathematician, I must protest the use of the word singularity. The singularity defines a point c, at which f(c) is not defined. Kurzweil plays on this when he says that technology is exploding exponentially... However, mostly f(x) as x->c and x<c exists, as does it when x->c and x>c so the mathematical singularity he refers to succeeds an asymptote. However, because reality is proceeding multi-dimensionally, and because these dimensions are not independant, the singularity never comes about, because the exponential growth in one dimension is mitigated by lack of growth in others.
June 25th 2009 10:19