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The Technological Singularity

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The Technological Singularity November 30, 2015 Photo credit: Oli R https://flic.kr/p/5u4gF @2015, ICE, All rights reserved, 30 November 2015


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“We are on the edge of change comparable to the rise of human life on Earth. The precise cause of this change is the imminent creation by technology of entities with greater-than-human intelligence.” Vernor Vinge (1993) @2015, ICE, All rights reserved, 30 November 2015


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Topics covered What is the Singularity? How is it predicted? What are its implications? What does it mean for human evolution? What when it happens: Utopia or doom? Beginnings of the Singularity Questions that arise @2015, ICE, All rights reserved, 30 November 2015


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What is the Singularity? A future point in time when technology will rapidly improve itself to surpass human intelligence, changing human life as we know it. Photo credit: Keoni Cabral https://flic.kr/p/8NwP5i @2015, ICE, All rights reserved, 30 November 2015


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CAN TECHNOLOGY REALLY SURPASS HUMAN INTELLIGENCE? @2015, ICE, All rights reserved, 30 November 2015


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Early thoughts: Alan Turing Computer scientist, Alan Turing, predicted as early as 1950 that there would be “thinking machines.” “I believe that at the end of the century the use of words and general educated opinion will have altered so much that one will be able to speak of machines thinking without expecting to be contradicted.” – Alan Turing Photo credit: Elliott Brown https://flic.kr/p/8NhuDa @2015, ICE, All rights reserved, 30 November 2015


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The Turing test In 1950, Alan Turing described an Imitation Game where a machine imitates human behavior in a way that a human has to decide whether they are interacting with a machine or a human being on the other end. “The object of the machine is to try to cause the interrogator to mistakenly conclude that the machine is the other person.” Source: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/turing-test/ Photo credit: Steve Jurvetson https://flic.kr/p/5SgVL2 @2015, ICE, All rights reserved, 30 November 2015


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IMPORTANT THINKERS Vinge predicts the Singularity will occur around 2030 Kurzweil predicts that we will experience a Singularity in 2045 @2015, ICE, All rights reserved, 30 November 2015


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How are the dates predicted? According to futurist, Ray Kurzwiel, we will arrive at a Technological Singularity by the year 2045 “a point where progress is so rapid it outstrips humans' ability to comprehend it.” How do futurists arrive at this date? @2015, ICE, All rights reserved, 30 November 2015


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Technological Evolution: exponential growth Photo credit: Raneko https://flic.kr/p/7puJHj @2015, ICE, All rights reserved, 30 November 2015


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Applying Moore’s Law to the Singularity Moore’s law of exponential growth in digital integrated circuits has been extended to machines that use themselves to create newer, more intelligent machines. “Computing speed doubles every two subjective years of work. Two years after Artificial Intelligences reach human equivalence, their speed doubles. One year later, their speed doubles again. Six months - three months - 1.5 months ... Singularity.” Eliezer Yudkowsky (1996) @2015, ICE, All rights reserved, 30 November 2015


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An example of Moore’s Law “Complexity of integrated circuits has approximately doubled every year since their introduction. Cost per function has decreased several thousand-fold, while system performance and reliability have been improved dramatically. …The expected trends can be recombined to see how long exponential growth in complexity can be expected to continue.” Gordon E. Moore (Progress In Digital Integrated Electronics, 1975) Source: "Transistor Count and Moore's Law - 2011" by Wgsimon - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Transistor_Count_and_Moore%27s_Law_-_2011.svg#/media/File:Transistor_Count_and_Moore%27s_Law_-_2011.svg @2015, ICE, All rights reserved, 30 November 2015


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Paradigm shifts in evolution Evolution has resulted in major paradigm shifts for humanity such as the agricultural revolution, industrial revolution, invention of the personal computer, etc. Kurzweil predicts exponential growth will continue and in a few decades, the computer will evolve to surpass human intelligence and will appear as superhuman artificial intelligence. Chart from the book The Singularity is Near, Ray Kurzweil @2015, ICE, All rights reserved, 30 November 2015


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How will this intelligence explosion take place? Photo credit: Kevin Dooley https://flic.kr/p/cF3MxS @2015, ICE, All rights reserved, 30 November 2015


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Paths to the Singularity - Vernor Vinge (1993) Artificial intelligence: Computers that are “awake” and superhumanly will be developed Intelligence amplification: Human intelligence is amplified through human-computer interfaces Biomedical enhancers: The human brain is made more intelligent by improving its neurological operation using smart drugs, etc. Digital networks: A large network of computers as well as their users will “wake up” together to be considered superhumanly Source: https://www.frc.ri.cmu.edu/~hpm/book98/com.ch1/vinge.singularity.html @2015, ICE, All rights reserved, 30 November 2015


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Hard vs. Soft Take Off A hard takeoff is a scenario where the artificial intelligence rapidly improves in a short duration, few days or even minutes. This scenario makes the artificial intelligence pace of acceleration possibly precarious and leads to AI that is potentially “unfriendly” to human beings. A soft takeoff prediction is that artificial intelligence will gradually improve over a longer term. In this scenario, a gradual build up of the artificial intelligence, for example, reverse engineering of the human brain, would be completed. We can expect this to be a more human friendly form of AI. Source: https://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/AI_takeoff @2015, ICE, All rights reserved, 30 November 2015


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What are the implications of the Singularity? The intelligence explosion will cause a major paradigm shift Human affairs as we know them cannot continue A fusion of humans and computers will result in users that are “superhumanly” Humans will not be only biological but also have parts of them that are technological, for example, some parts of the human might be in the cloud @2015, ICE, All rights reserved, 30 November 2015


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What does the singularity mean for human evolution? @2015, ICE, All rights reserved, 30 November 2015


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1. Humans will transcend their intellect For example, in the case of pattern recognition, the human brain can process a couple of dozen variables, while a machine might be able to recognize millions of variables Further, human pattern recognition is limited to faces, speech, sounds, etc., but machines are capable of identifying any type of pattern Source: http://www.slideshare.net/serge111/singularity-presentation-ray-kurzweil-at-google Photo credit: webtreats https://flic.kr/p/7xptiR @2015, ICE, All rights reserved, 30 November 2015


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2. Humans become an augmented version of themselves For example, a human being might be able to augment themselves to break record speeds in running Photo credit: Steve Johnson https://flic.kr/p/8287EH @2015, ICE, All rights reserved, 30 November 2015


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3. Humans will Conquer all disease Since human beings will be a combination of nanobots and biological material, it will be possible to intelligently program genes and the human body at the cellular and sub-cellular level so as to reverse and cure any disease Photo credit: Surian Soosay https://flic.kr/p/7f5ixe @2015, ICE, All rights reserved, 30 November 2015


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4. Humans will Achieve immortality Futurists believe that when we reach the Singularity, we will be able to upload the human mind to a computer. “Minduploading” will ensure that human beings will have a digital version that can live forever. Human beings can then choose to not inhabit their biological bodies at all, and exist in the form of different avatars, such that there is no distinction between reality and virtual reality. Source: http://www.livescience.com/37499-immortality-by-2045-conference.html Photo credit: JD Hancock https://flic.kr/p/aJzibk @2015, ICE, All rights reserved, 30 November 2015


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what When it happens: Utopia or Doom? @2015, ICE, All rights reserved, 30 November 2015


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Scenario 1: where Humans will rule over machines In this scenario, technology will very much be “working for” specialized needs of human society and will be programmed to be friendly with human beings. However, the machines themselves will have few rights, and will be only subject to work as per human needs. Photo credit: Steve Jurvetson https://flic.kr/p/kQNFcj @2015, ICE, All rights reserved, 30 November 2015


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Scenario 2: where Machines will rule over humans This scenario is very much like “The Matrix” where the world is ruled by machines and human beings are being used of their purposes. It takes an extraordinary programmer like “Neo” to understand the machines and find a way out. Photo credit: Suvcon https://flic.kr/p/7SDyce @2015, ICE, All rights reserved, 30 November 2015


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Scenario 3: Humans and machines live in harmony In this scenario, humans and artificial intelligence forms will have relationships, even romantic relationships. The film “Her” shows such a scenario where a man falls in love with his rapidly evolving operating system, Samantha. Photo credit: Todd Huffman https://flic.kr/p/4eWXYx Source: http://mashable.com/2014/01/15/her-singularity/ @2015, ICE, All rights reserved, 30 November 2015


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Criticism of the Singularity theory Timescale – all technological evolution doesn’t follow the exponential growth of Moore’s Law. Artificial intelligence can never be the same as human intelligence or truly understand human nature. 'The truth is that human intelligence can never be replaced with machine intelligence simply because we are not ourselves "thinking machines" in the sense in which that term is commonly understood.‘ (Dreyfus & Dreyfus 2000) History of artificial intelligence hasn’t shown as much progress as predicted. The utopic view of the new world, where hunger, pollution, disease, and so on ends, makes the theory seem naive in the sense that if AI were very intelligent, it could also likely lead to a quick end of humanity. @2015, ICE, All rights reserved, 30 November 2015


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Beginnings of the singularity: examples @2015, ICE, All rights reserved, 30 November 2015


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genetics, nanotechnology and robotics Photo credits: Gisela Giardino, Mehmet Pinarci, Ricardo Liberato Source: http://www.nature.com/news/robotics-ethics-of-artificial-intelligence-1.17611 @2015, ICE, All rights reserved, 30 November 2015


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Singularity University Founded in 2008 by Ray Kurzweil and Peter Diamandis, backed by NASA and Google, the Singularity University offers innovation programs that will create global social impact. Students at the university are challenged to innovate for the world population and to reshape the future of humanity as a whole. Photo credit: David Orban https://flic.kr/p/6HjP5g @2015, ICE, All rights reserved, 30 November 2015


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Greater Trust in technology Photo credits: BTC Keychain, bfishadow, Marco Pakoeningrat Source: http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21677198-technology-behind-bitcoin-could-transform-how-economy-works-trust-machine @2015, ICE, All rights reserved, 30 November 2015


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The post-human era is here The extension of human senses with a merger with technology is begun with groups such as the Cyborg Foundation (2010) starting out their research on technology and the human body. According to founder and cyborg Neil Harbisson, the 2020’s will see more appearance of cyborgs as well as acceptance of them in society. Harbisson also believes that the use of technology currently is still outside the human body, and overtime humans will become more open to exploration of technology inside the body. Source: http://www.seriouswonder.com/a-conversation-on-cyborgism-interview-with-u-k-cyborg-neil-harbisson/ Photo credit: Suvcon https://flic.kr/p/7SDyce @2015, ICE, All rights reserved, 30 November 2015


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Reverse engineering of the human brain has begun Researchers have already started to reverse engineer the human brain, parts of which have been completed. The potential to capture all of the workings of the human mind digitally is a project that many futurists are interested in. Apart from understanding the workings of the human mind, there are benefits in detecting and curing diseases like Alzheimers. Photo credit: Bruno Cordioli https://flic.kr/p/79Mjup @2015, ICE, All rights reserved, 30 November 2015


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The six epochs: the Aftermath Kurzweil describes Six Epochs of the world. The fifth refers to the merger of humans with technology, while the sixth epoch refers to this fusion pervading all matter, the waking up of the entire universe. Patterns of matter and energy in the universe become saturated with intelligent processes and knowledge: “In the aftermath of the Singularity, intelligence, derived from its biological origins in human brains and its technological origins in human ingenuity, will begin to saturate the matter and energy in its midst.” (pg 21) The universe itself is now alive. Source: http://www.kurzweilai.net/six-epochs-of-life-mural-by-nick-mayer-inspired-by-ray-kurzweil @2015, ICE, All rights reserved, 30 November 2015


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Source: http://www.kurzweilai.net/six-epochs-of-life-mural-by-nick-mayer-inspired-by-ray-kurzweil @2015, ICE, All rights reserved, 30 November 2015


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Questions that arise @2015, ICE, All rights reserved, 30 November 2015


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humanity Will humanity survive the Singularity or will it perish? Ray Kurzweil’s view is often considered too optimistic and utopian. Vinge, on the other hand warns us of impending doom. "Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended." - Vernor Vinge, The Coming Singularity (1993) Photo credit: Suvcon https://flic.kr/p/7SDyce @2015, ICE, All rights reserved, 30 November 2015


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Nature In the theory of Singularity, what role does nature play? One might argue that the technology creation comes from nature and might be inspired by how nature created it, for example, the DNA sequence. In the scenario where human beings cause their own self-destruction through the rise of artificial intelligence, how do the laws of nature factor in? Photo credit: Pavel P. https://flic.kr/p/eibt4y @2015, ICE, All rights reserved, 30 November 2015


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spirituality While we approach the technological singularity, the merger of human beings with technology will no doubt provide for new blissful and transcendent experiences. Will the Singularity become humanity’s ultimate spiritual union with the universe? “Galaxies that were once dense and tightly spiraled are now quite sparse and more relaxed in their rotation. We have ended were we began, in the cosmos.” Photo credit: Suvcon https://flic.kr/p/7SDyce Source: http://www.kurzweilai.net/six-epochs-of-life-mural-by-nick-mayer-inspired-by-ray-kurzweil @2015, ICE, All rights reserved, 30 November 2015


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Thank you Photo credit: Oli R https://flic.kr/p/5u4gF Authors: Apala Lahiri Chavan Kalika Sharma facebook.com/uxtrendspotting @UXTrendspotting Interested in future trends and reports? Write in to us at ice@humanfactors.com @2015, ICE, All rights reserved, 30 November 2015


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