Making the universe wake up

Discussion in 'Intelligence & Machines' started by areasys, Jan 22, 2010.

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  1. areasys Registered Senior Member

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    With the way technology is accelerating, at least according to Ray Kurzweil, it's obvious that mankind and its machine/cyborg counterparts will be able to do some pretty cool things. We might even be able to obtain some sort of immortality. But would it be true immortality? I mean, the universe itself is going to eventually fizzle out and die, right? At least, assuming no artificial intervention?

    Kurzweil predicts that, after the singularity, human/machine civilization will ultimately spread out to the rest of the universe at the speed of light, convert all "dumb" matter into computational substrates. He predicts that this hyperintelligent civilization will be able to circumvent or even change the laws of physics, thermodynamics, etc. Essentially, he predicts that human civilization will eventually make the universe "wake up" and prevent its demise, whether it's through heat death or a "Big rip". Do you think his predictions hold any water?
     
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  3. kmguru Staff Member

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    Anything is possible though improbable. The reason is simple. When human thought says, something can not be done, then it can not. It is a self limiting system. No one really knows how consciousness interact with reality. It is one of those expectation of the observer that changes the result.

    Before we get carried away with Cyborgs, we should use what we have to connect the dots - which we are having a very difficult time to manage. To much information and not enough intelligent software to manage them. We are still getting hacked by the hackers from another planet. Hello, just tell the router to see the patterns and accept no more calls!

    We get collect calls once a while from various prisons - we do not accept them, why does the router/switch? With all the talk about technology, we are still in the dark ages.
     
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  5. Rav Valued Senior Member

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    The question is whether or not the idea of a technological singularity holds any water, and I don't think that it does, mostly for the reason that I think that technological progress will eventually slow down to a crawl once it reaches a certain critical point. At that time, technological breakthroughs will still occur, but not nearly as often, and they will be less relatively significant. Remember that exponential growth itself is not an indicator that such growth will necessarily continue indefinitely, and certainly not to a point where it is effectively infinite.

    One of the reasons that I am mostly convinced of this is because technological progress is linked to scientific progress. The reason for the leaps and bounds that have been made in the last century or so is because low hanging fruit is the easiest to pick. Further progress is going to require much more time and effort.
     
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  7. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    I used to think it was a compelling idea, but now I think it's unrealistic. The exponential extrapolation from existing trends is not an accurate way to predict things. Real events are more complex. I feel that we will run into a dynamic of diminishing returns from technology. Scientific progress depends on a society of high energy inputs. I have doubts about our ability to use technology to replace energy losses as the supply of fossil solar energy reaches it's peak. It seems to be a very narrow window of escape.
     
  8. kmguru Staff Member

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    Occidental Petroleum and partners to develop massive Iraqi oil field

    Occidental Petroleum Corp. said Friday that it and two major partners -- Italian energy conglomerate Eni and Korea Gas Corp. -- had signed a technical service contract to develop the massive 4-billion-barrel Zubair oil field in Iraq.

    -------------------------

    Every time we think we are running out of oil, somebody finds more. At this rate, we will never switch to Nuclear Fusion....
     
  9. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

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    Its prolly alredy hapened :shrug:
     
  10. areasys Registered Senior Member

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    But assume there were no social or economic constraints. Theoretically speaking, would it be possible for a civilization to be so technologically advanced that it could either change or circumvent the laws of physics in order to prevent the death of the universe? Could they, for example, stop the expansion of the universe, find a way to create new energy (thereby violating the law of conservation of energy), or circumvent the second law of thermodynamics. Could they also theoretically escape into either a basement universe or a parallel universe using a wormhole?

    I mean, is it really right for us to say those things are impossible given how little we know?
     
  11. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    But it's it unrealistic to say that there will be no social or economic contraints? What if most people don't care about the death of the universe? It's highly unlikely our species will even last beyond the life of our sun.
     
  12. kmguru Staff Member

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    Are you kidding. That is a long time and the population growth is unsustainable. That is why there are large asteroids that wipe out the critters when they grow more than the resource allow.

    On the other hand, if our technology grows geometrically, then we could survive and spread out among stars. But if that is the case, we would have already seen creatures spreading out from other locations who may have a head start of 100 million years or so.
     
  13. EmptySky Banned Banned

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    You would have thought that immortality, combined with time travel - surely an inevitability given endless technological progress and the ability to change the laws of physics - would find our local space crawling with travellers from the future. There doesn't, however, seem to be any.
     
  14. areasys Registered Senior Member

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    Maybe we truly are alone in the universe then?
     
  15. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Kurzweil is a computer engineer and a futurist, but none of that gives him the credentials for his speculations to be taken as more than science fiction. He's more of a Toffler than a Hawking.
    The 19th was the century of progress in chemistry, the 20th in physics, and it seems like the 21st will belong to biology. Progress in biology is probably not going to help us beat entropy.
    The sun will expand into our orbit long before it dies, making life impossible. Still that will take more than a billion years. Why do you think that in a billion years:
    • A. The Post-Industrial Revolution that is now underway--or the next Paradigm Shift after that--won't make the socioeconomic constraints manageable;
    • B. We won't have established at least a few colonies in other solar systems, so far away that communication is barely possible, if at all, with a lightspeed delay measured in centuries, so whatever happens here won't have much of an effect on their civilizations?
    We have no reason to expect that the lightspeed limitation can be busted, so interstellar travel will be agonizingly slow. Habitable planets are not going to be very close together. If it takes 1,000 years to travel from one to the next, it's quite possible that they just haven't found ours yet.
    I'm invoking the Rule of Laplace here and saying that I don't take predictions of time travel seriously in the absence of extaordinary evidence to support such an extraordinary assertion.
    If you discount the possibility of time travel, then as I pointed out above, it's quite reasonable that a spacefaring species could have spent millions of years exploring the galaxy, and still landed on so few of its planets that they haven't encountered any of the other spacefaring species yet. Not to mention the non-spacefaring species like ours.
     
  16. sly1 Heartless Registered Senior Member

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    I mean, is it really righ tfor us to say those things are at all possible given how little we know?

    The great thing about human immagination is there are virtually no limits except for maybe time constraints.

    Personaly I like thinking anything is possible its more freeing...even if it is all in my head.

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  17. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    It's okay to say that something is possible. But without evidence, it's a bad idea to count on it. I think that it would be wise for humanity to assume, until evidence to the contrary exists, that:
    • The laws of nature cannot be changed.
    • In particular, the lightspeed limitation holds.
    • Therefore, it's likely that we'll have to solve our problems without collaborating with other species.
    • We have, in round numbers, a billion years to establish human colonies in other parts of the galaxy.
    • If we don't, we are (literally) toast.
     
  18. areasys Registered Senior Member

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    But isn't it possible that such evidence already does exist yet we haven't found it yet? Remember, our intelligence is like that of slugs compared to the type of intelligence that will be prevalent in a century. Isn't it a bit solipsistic to think that we know ANYTHING about the universe? Couldn't sufficiently advanced technology make what we consider impossible possible?
     
  19. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

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    Such stuff is fun to speculate but what practical value is it.???
     
  20. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    Yeah, people were sooo dumb in 1910: couldn't even stand up and breathe at the same time.
     
  21. areasys Registered Senior Member

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    You're not thinking exponentially. The last 100 years may not seem like much, but that's because exponential functions don't grow much at low values. For example exp(100) << exp(200).

    So, yes, the civilization of 100 years from now will be as advanced compared to ours as ours is to people who couldn't "stand up and breathe at the same time". Thus, it's foolish to think that ANYTHING we know about the universe holds any kind of water. It's like giving credence to a five-year-old's theories about where babies come from.
     
  22. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    No, but I am thinking.

    Please re-read your own post:
    What indication is there (any at all, please) that intelligence is increasing exponentially?

    Really?
    Any evidence of that?
     
  23. LuckAse Registered Member

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    I don't think intelligence is increasing as a whole. But it is obvious that there are many more people who have had a lot of schooling. That makes them productive in researching, and furthering technology.

    I think technology will keep increasing exponentially, because of this.
     
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