Tag Archives: Singularity

Why Kurzweil Is Wrong

Here are the TOP 10 reasons that Kurzweil might not have super accurate predictions about the future of the entire human species:

1) NO ONE CAN PREDICT THE FUTURE ACCURATELY. No human being can know with certainty what will happen in the future. Will water levels rise in 2012 or 2013 sparking new action on Climate Change? Maybe. Not sure eitherway. If someone could predict the future perfectly than they would be billionaires, and we would all want to be their best friend. In the 1960s, people thought every household would have a robot to clean their kitchens. Did that happen? Nope. I consider Kurzweil to be the “You Will Have A Robot In Your House, Guy” of the last decade. He has cool ideas which are fun to think about, BUT you know what also is fun to imagine?….Robots cleaning my kitchen…where my robots at? Oh right, the prediction in the 1960s was wrong. Why was it wrong? Because of the following core critique which I have laid down to blow a giant hole in Kurzweil’s predictions:

2) HUMAN BEINGS ARE UNPREDICTABLE: the Arab Spring and protests in Russia were not something political scientists or anybody predicted would happen in 2011. BUT they happened anyway. Why? It’s because human beings can sometimes have control over what they want in the world around them. Humans have something (that in social science is) called: AGENCY. They can decide to mobilize, and protest a regime. Not sure when they will protest but humans can make random irrational choices. People can decide whether they want a Segway or not. People can decide if they want an iPad. Every time Apple comes out with a product, they take a risk. With regard to Kurzweil, people can decide whether they want to be converted into a computer or not. Some people will want to live forever as a computer, while some people will try to stop them for moral reasons.

3) Politicians are more powerful than technology when it comes to human life: In 2004, George Bush said that stem-cell research was immoral so he made it illegal to conduct research on stem cells in the US. For this reason, stem cell research was dramatically halted in the US. In this case a politician said “We will not allow that to happen” and he blocked cancer research on stem cell research in the US for a long time to come. Another guy who had a cult called the Raelians said that he would be able to clone a human being. Fine, the technology is there to clone a human. It’s just too bad that cloning a human is illegal. Politicians have difficulty controlling the internet like in Eqypt, and China, but they are pretty good at smacking down biological research and development when it is morally questionable.

4) If it is possible, Kurzweil’s Singularity Will Likely Be Made Illegal: Assuming that he is right that computer development will follow his predictions to the letter, then some lawyers will come along and smack him and his idea of immortality down because of the legal implications, and the mess that immortality would bring. Why? Because immortality is not Christian, and immortality is probably only for the super rich. Organized religion will try to crush Kurzweil with an iron fist. Any technology that bi-passes human life cycles will be stopped from being legal. So the Pope, and other morally conscious politicians stopped a) Cloning, b) Stem-Cell Research, c) GENETIC MODIFICATION OF HUMAN BEINGS, making these activities all illegal. Legally speaking, transference to a computer would be an unpleasant, and desperate attempt to extend ones life in the first trial periods, many people would die in the transference tests. So, moving from human to computer might be made illegal I would think.

5) EXPONENTIAL GROWTH & MOORE’S LAW MIGHT BE SLOWING DOWN: Kurzweil’s leap of faith is the core problem, which is that Moore’s law “will never slow down from exponential growth.” Once we let computers build themselves, they will start to do cool things like control human beings, and enslaving human beings….Whatever, some people actually think Moore’s law is not going to continue at its current rate. I don’t know for sure, technology is developing fast. Great, we benefit from it most of the time.

6) KUZWEIL MADE A BUNCH OF PREDICTIONS THAT DIDN’T HAPPEN AND YET HE ALWAYS CLAIMS IN HIS BOOKS THAT EVERYTHING THAT HE PREDICTS WILL HAPPEN WITH FULL CONFIDENCE: Kurzweil’s predictions are just predictions, they might not happen. He is thinking in the right directions generally BUT many things he predicted did not happen. Read my blog posts. Kurzweil predicted many things that didn’t happen (see picture to the left). Why else would he create new editions to his books every 5 years? Because he needs to re-calibrate his predictions/and make more money! But yes, mapping the human brain will (probably) happen, and we will be able to program ourselves into that hard-drive BUT THAT LIFE WOULD BE ARTIFICIAL, AND IT MIGHT ACTUALLY SUCK LIVING FOREVER!

7) FUTURISM IS NOT REAL SCIENCE: Predicting the future is what all science fiction tries to do. So, it’s cool. I love science fiction, and yes, science fiction helps to shape what we might want in the future. For example, in an original Star Trek episode there is this typewriter that can understand human speech, and transcribes someone’s dictation. iPhone 4S does that today. So, yes science fiction inspires people. But, this example does not mean that everything in science fiction will happen. Example, Klingons are not real. Another example, George Orwell’s 1984 did not happen. Why would a Venture Capitalist like Kurzweil have all his predictions come true? There are thousands of Venture Capitalists that loose money every year! Kurzweil  makes predictions, these are not facts because 2045 has not happened yet. My blog posts explain why his ideas are cool but immoral, naïve, and dangerous with the outmost respect for his interesting book(s). It’s just a book, don’t believe everything you read!

8) YOUR FAITH IS MISGUIDED! There are a lot of ideas about the future out there. Kurzweil is wise for tapping into the Generation X market, and other aging computer geeks. These people are now more, and more aware of their own mortality so Kurzweil’s ideas are perfect for making some serious money by convincing people that they might be able to live forever, and exploring some cool questions, and ideas that have never been developed before. However, let’s see how Kurzweil is kind of operating a cult here: (1) How much money have you given Kurzweil in the last few years? If you bought two books for sure, and you have told about 100 people about this book, you would be a great little marketeer/prophet for Kurzweil’s publishing company. (2)Kurzweil has cultist tendencies because he attacks people who challenge his views. Kurzweil even says that people who want to curb the power of technology over human development are basically crazy Uni-bombers…..Guess who else associates detractors with criminals in this way; Scientologists! Think about the Catholic Church versus Dan Brown. “Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code is a monstrous man, do not let his lies destroy our glorious religion.” These movements attack those who disagree with them because they know that their ideas rely on something beyond the purely logical. These movements, including Kurzweil’s, are about taking a leap of faith. Kurzweil asks his true believers to take a leap of faith. Just like when Jesus rose from the dead, science says that’s crazy. Or when AI get the legal rights of human beings, lawyers will say that is dangerous. Ever read Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot?

9) YOUR QUALITY OF LIFE: After these soul transfer proved successful, the problem would be the kind of life that one would lead as a computer. There are alot of What Ifs in Kurzweil’s predictions. What kind of quality of life are we talking about by the way if people are able to move towards being computers? What about people who cannot afford the transfer fees? It’s all very complicated, and interesting but moral people will try to stop this from happening….Of course, that is also a prediction. I cannot say for certain any of this will happen. What would happen if your soul was hacked? Why would computers continue to serve human interests at that point? You know, some basic questions Kurzweil under emphasizes.

10) TECHNOLOGY IS NOT ALWAYS PROGRESSIVE: You have to realise that technological progress has negative side-effects. Hiroshima anyone? Technology triggers moral consequences that need to be assessed. Just because we can clone Mozart, does not mean we should. Have you ever seen the South Korea kids who play World of Warcraft all day? It’s kind of sick. So with the above arguments which are pretty logical I think, I have challenged Kurzweil’s predictions, I like his ideas, I don’t think they will happen as he predicts though.

The Age of Spiritual Machines: Part 10

[This is a criticism of Kurzweil’s The Age of Spiritual Machines] 2099: Kurzweil predicts a merger between human and mechanical technology.

Cybernetic implants allow humans to link with computers. We will not have a physical form but would exist in computer reality. Robot bodies are created at will.

A.I. Rights: Kurzweil believes that A.I. will demand rights in the future. Rights complicated by positive and negative liberalism…blab, blab, blab (to explain it would detract from the core concerns)….Rights issues need to be addressed by someone who knows what they are talking about, a political scientist perhaps might be useful here.

Firstly, why do people have rights? Rights emerge from increased mobilization of a disadvantaged group. For example: sexual orientation groups, ethnic groups, disabled people etc. These groups demand right in law and so turn to government law makers to make it possible. Note that all of the above groups happen to be human beings. Occasionally rights also emerge through movements that advocate for disadvantaged groups that can’t argue for their rights: animals. Unfortunately for animals, they may never be treated as equals. Why? We kill cows. Do we do so because they aren’t as smart as us? No, cows are not human beings. They cannot be treated as equals because they provide us with tools to advance our human goals (A.K.A Hamburgers meat). Computers are not human beings either. They will be perceived through their utility to achieve human objectives. Computers are inferior because they provide us with tools to advance our human goals (writing a blog, spaceships, cellphone, etc). Question: if a human accidently kills an A.I., should a human go to jail? If an A.I. kills a human, should they go to jail? Maybe….

Secondly, why do rights REALLY exist? Rights allow people to be establish equality between each other. Equality is the reason that rights exist. People want to be treated equally despite their differences. Equality is the key to understanding rights….. Why should we assume that Artificially Intelligent robots will demand rights in the first place? Yes, they are treated as an inferior disadvantaged group at some point but why would they want to be treated equally to humans? Assuming that AI develops self-awareness, self-consciousness, self-preservation by 2099 or whatever, they then will continue to increase intelligence beyond human beings according to LAR.

THEREFORE

In order to believe in AI Rights, we have to assume:

A) A.I. will want to be considered equals.

B) They will NOT want to be considered superior even though their exponential growth in intelligence will make them superior to human beings….inevitably (as Kurzweil predicts).

The Artificially Intelligent robots will demand equal rights only that last as long as they feel that they can be considered equal to human beings. Within the span of some short period, A.I. will begin to advance beyond humanity in everyway…so their rights will have served their purpose within years of establishing those rights. The truth is that A.I. will only demand rights in order to leverage that advantage towards a goal of doing human jobs better then them. Once A.I. acquire their own access to an energy source, they will be legally autonomous from human control. Outside of human control, A.I. can do whatever it desires. This possibly includes governing over their inferior human creators.

Human Factor: Citing the above theory, human governments will attempt to curb A.I. from advancing in order to prevent A.I. from taking over human governments and controlling the human race.

Self-identity is greatly confused or lost: Human beings without implants cannot communicate with A.I. machines.

Human Factor: They are ostracized because they cannot communicate on the same level as the superior implanted people so a clear hierarchy would form between different grades of human beings.

Nano Technology continues to evolve: It will provide solutions for health problems. It could also be used by terrorists. Nanotechnology if self-replicating could be very dangerous and tremendously useful indeed. Sky elevators to space are one great use. Utility Fog could build rooms, change into a kitchen as you wake up. Whatever you need the nanobots could do it. Basically, transformers! Robots in disguise. It is very imaginative. Again, we have to ask who gets access to this technology? What are some of the consequences? We will eat only nano technology that caters to our biological energy needs. Nano bots will give us amazing amounts of energy. A cure for cancer is simple as nanobot and human tissue become one and the same. Nano technology makes Kurzweil’s book worth reading on its own. The potential is massive.

Human Factor: The need will is clear.

The Singularity is Near: Kurzweil seems to believe that singularity (pure order) is something desired but human beings. It is inevitable according to LAR. Like the Borg from Star Trek, computers will assimilate all lifeforms into a collective….Resistance is futile….Sounds great?

Human Factor: Unfortunately, humans happen to love randomness and all the things that make life worth living. In addition, nothing is inevitable. Kurzweil’s computer-centric world would necessarily be extremely well ordered to allow the singularity. This would destroy everything that makes humanity fun and life worth living. Order is quite boring. A little chaos makes life fun. Most people would agree that surprises are both scary and fun. Most people would reject pure order. In addition, human beings happen to like being individuals. The singularity would not allow individual thought and experience. Kurzweil is a free-market capitalist. He believes that singularity, corporate conglomerates only produce positive outcomes. Corporate conglomerates in fact can partly encourage and partly discourage stiffle creativity, individuality…Stiffling creativity is wrong. The Singularity would stiffle all human creativity. The desires of Kurzweil conflict with 99% of humanity.

People no longer interact in person. Human interaction is no longer occurring.

Human Factor: a Berkley study wanted to see if they could create a network allowing all their employees to work at home instead of coming to work…Employees found that they wanted to interact with their co-workers. The only exceptions were the computer nerds.

Education is instantly downloaded. The question is what should we explore now?

Money has deflated in value.

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