I’d like to present the last part of the Human Physical Immortality Roadmap, which is devoted to Artificial Intelligence. There’s a good chance this technology will be the game changer for the humanity at large. It may define our future.
We can write a book about the evolution of different technologies and how they are going to influence human condition and help achieve immortality. This Roadmap can serve as an illustrated table of contents for this book. The only problem that we have is we don’t know which publishing house to go to. If some of you have any contacts at a publisher that might be interested in such a book, please, let me know.
Charlie Rose is an American television talk show host and journalist that engages Americas best thinkers, writers, politicians, athletes, entertainers, business leaders, scientists and other newsmakers in one-on-one interviews and roundtable discussions. Recently he had the opportunity to interview Ray Kurzweil, the author, inventor and futurist that is referenced so frequently here on my blog.
The interview is presented below:
I’m interested in this notion of a coming singularity—computers surpassing humans—and your obsession with immortality. What led you there?
I really started with this exploration of where technology is headed and the tremendous power of exponential growth. So where radical life extension comes from is the observation that biology is a set of software processes. We have software running in our bodies. It’s out of date. It evolved thousands of years ago. Our approach so far to health and medicine has been hit-or-miss. We find treatments accidentally. Here’s something that lowers blood pressure. We don’t know why it works. Now we’re actually gaining access to that software, understanding how it works. These technologies will double in power every year. They’ll be 1,000 times more powerful in 10 years, a million times more powerful in 20 years. What I’m looking forward to is the tipping point where we’re adding more time than is going by in terms of life expectancy. The sands of time will start running in rather than running out within a couple decades.
A team of researchers has built a neural information system that is good enough and fast enough to balance a pencil in real time. If you think it’s an easy task, try it.
Building a machine to balance a pencil on its point used to be a high-level research topic – if you aren’t into AI I’d better add that this isn’t a joke. Think for a moment about the task. You have to move the point of balance around so as to bring the point back under the center of gravity of the pencil. The problem is also dynamic because you have to take account of draughts and vibrations that disturb the equilibrium. As a classical control problem it is also difficult because the equilibrium is unstable.
Here’s an interview with a very interesting individual Juergen Schmidhuber, a German artificial intelligence researcher who has worked on recurrent neural networks, Godel machines, universal learning algorithms, artificial evolution, robotics, and neural network based financial forecasting. From 2004 to 2009 he was professor of Cognitive Robotics at the Tech. University Munich. Since 1995 he has been co-director of the Swiss AI Lab IDSIA in Lugano, since 2009 also professor of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Lugano. In honor of his achievements he was elected to the European Academy of Sciences and Arts in 2008.
The interview was done by Sander Olson a correspondent for NextBigFuture.com:
Question: You have a plan to build an “optimal scientist”. What do you mean by that?
Answer: An optimal scientist excels at exploring and then better understanding the world and what can be done in it. Human scientists are suboptimal and limited in many ways. I’d like to build an artificial one smarter than myself (my colleagues claim that should be easy) who will then build an even smarter one, and so on. This seems to be the most efficient way of using and multiplying my own little bit of creativity.
Transcendent Man is a documentary film by director and producer Barry Ptolemy about the life of inventor, futurist and transhumanist Ray Kurzweil.
The film introduces the ideas of Kurzweil who journeys the world offering his vision of a future in which we will merge with the super-intelligent machines we have created and can live forever…all within the next thirty years!
Kurzweil predicts that with the ever-accelerating rate of technological change, humanity is fast approaching an era in which our intelligence will become increasingly non-biological and trillions of times more powerful than today. This will be the dawning of a new civilization that will enable us to transcend our biological limitations. In Kurzweil’s post-biological world, there will be no clear distinction between human and machine, real reality and virtual reality. Human aging and illness will be reversed, world hunger and poverty will be solved, and we will ultimately cure death.
Transcendent man is coming soon to theaters but here is the trailer. This will be a great documentary!
Ray Kurzweil, an American author, inventor and futurist has been discussed on my blog in many previous posts. He has been described as “the restless genius” by the Wall Street Journal, and “the ultimate thinking machine” by Forbes. Inc. magazine ranked him #8 among entrepreneurs in the United States, calling him the “rightful heir to Thomas Edison,” and PBS included Ray as one of 16 “revolutionaries who made America,” along with other inventors of the past two centuries.
Recently TIME Magazine had an opportunity to interview Ray and asked him for his prediction of what’s to come for humanity. I thought it would be of interest, so here are TIME’s 10 Questions for Ray Kurzweil:
Question: Is it a mistake to use the events of the recent past as a method of predicting the future?
Answer: Our intuition about the future is linear. But the reality of information technology is exponential, and that makes a profound difference. If I take 30 steps linearly, I get to 30. If I take 30 steps exponentially, I get to a billion.
Question: You predict we’ll reach a point with artificial intelligence that you call the singularity. How will that affect us?
Answer: By the time we get to the 2040s, we’ll be able to multiply human intelligence a billionfold. That will be a profound change that’s singular in nature. Computers are going to keep getting smaller and smaller. Ultimately, they will go inside our bodies and brains and make us healthier, make us smarter. We’ll be online all the time. Search engines won’t wait to be asked.
Electroactive polymers that bend, stretch and shrink like human muscles when an electric current passes through them is what’s being engineered by a science research team at NASA’s JPL. The hope is that these artificial muscles would be able to work in conjunction with artificial intelligence to drive robotic arms.
The NASA team is being led by Senior Research Scientist Yoseph Bar-Cohen who in order to raise awareness of the field, promoted an arm-wrestling challenge to the international scientific and engineering communities in 1999. Bar-Cohen stated “I chose to focus on arm-wrestling with humans in order to have our muscles as a basis for comparing performance and capability. Success in this will advance the field of medicine, including prostheses that can be very effective. We may soon see artificial muscles replace damaged human muscles.”
Bionic limbs and bionic people with artificial muscles – as well as robots that look and operate like real animals and humans—are not beyond his vision of the future – or ours. “One day we may see a disabled person literally running to the grocery store using this technology,” he says. “Other short-term goals include refreshable Braille displays and realistic, biologically inspired robots.”
Read more about the study and how this new technology could benefit a wide variety of applications in the medical field
There’s a very important conference going on this weekend in the USA. If you’re in California, please try to attend the Humanity+ @ Caltech: Redefining Humanity in the Era of Radical Technological Change on December 4-5th at the Beckman Institute at Caltech Los Angeles, California.
If you’re not familiar with Humanity+, they are a nonprofit dedicated to the ethical use of technologies to extend human capabilities. Some of the technology community’s leading scientists and engineers will be speaking at this conference to explain what their technologies are, what they can do, what effects they might have on us, and what the risks might be.
Here are some of the highlights:
•AI expert and professor Ben Goertzel believes that, with a focused research effort, AIs could be smarter than humans by 2020. Ben will discuss how we can get there from here, and what the architecture of such an AI would look like.
Futurology studies the implementation probability of various scenarios of possible and disirable future of humanity based on historical regularities, social trends and technological achievements. The field of study focuses on current and past trends of what has been taking place in our day-to-day realities. The goal of futurology is global forecasting and predictions of the long-term fate of humanity as a whole.
I would like to draw your attention to the table of contents of a new book called ‘Futurology’ by Mikhail Batin and Alexei Turchin. I believe that this book is extremely important for those who care about, and who are willing to influence the future of mankind.
The purpose of this book
Chapter 1. Futurology as a Science
1.1. Scientific basis of futurology
1.2. Cognitive biases
1.3. Stages of the future and the measure of uncertainty
1.4. Predictability and forecast horizons