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Ray Kurzweil On How We'll End Up Merging With Our Technology (foxnews.com) 161

Mr.Intel quotes a report from Fox News: "By 2029, computers will have human-level intelligence," Kurzweil said in an interview at the SXSW Conference with Shira Lazar and Amy Kurzweil Comix. Known as the Singularity, the event is oft discussed by scientists, futurists, technology stalwarts and others as a time when artificial intelligence will cause machines to become smarter than human beings. The time frame is much sooner than what other stalwarts have said, including British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, as well as previous predictions from Kurzweil, who said it may occur as soon as 2045. Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son, who recently acquired ARM Holdings with the intent on being one of the driving forces in the Singularity, has previously said it could happen in the next 30 years. Kurzweil apparently ins't worried about the rise in machine learning and artificial intelligence. In regard to AI potentially enslaving humanity, Kurzweil said, "That's not realistic. We don't have one or two AIs in the world. Today we have billions." He shares a similar view with Elon Musk by saying that humans need to converge with machines, pointing out the work already being done in Parkinson's patients. "They're making us smarter," Kurzeil said during the SXSW interview. "They may not yet be inside our bodies, but, by the 2030s, we will connect our neocortex, the part of our brain where we do our thinking, to the cloud... We're going to be funnier, we're going to be better at music. We're going to be sexier. We're really going to exemplify all the things that we value in humans to a greater degree." You can watch the full interview on Facebook.
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Ray Kurzweil On How We'll End Up Merging With Our Technology

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    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      Borgs assimilate, not exterminate. Borgs are the liberal version of Daleks. (I know, flame-war fuel; so be it.)

      That'd make an interesting flick: Borg vs. Dalek. If Daleks win, no more Borg; if Borg wins, we get Borleks or Dalborgs or Balorks or Borks. Okay, I admit, the movie idea is borked.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm not sure.

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      Both. And as long as there are enough morons that eat up his quasi-religious "predictions", also successful.

      • There's nothing quasi about it. OTOH, his predictions of smaller ubiquitous computers - smartphones and people making relationships with them - was spot on. Not exactly his original idea, but popularized by him. And that was during a time when tower computing was all the rage and the concept of a supercomputer in your pocket was something few people were realistically talking about other than when trying to describe moore to people.
        • by gweihir ( 88907 )

          I take it you have never seen Star Trek?

          • Yeah I have. They're all walking around and doing stuff, not staring into their tricorders and watching cat videos on the main viewer.
            I came up with a skit for this once. Star Trek: The Millennial Generation
    • I vote for deluded. There's a hojillion reasons to believe he's fundamentally wrong about his previous predictions, mostly due to his mysticization of both technology and human consciousness.

      • Seconded. If he thinks computers will have human level intelligence in 12 years, then he might not be intelligent enough to understand, what human (or animal) intelligence is, and that computers aren't on that path.

  • Me on why Kurzweil is an utter loonball.

    • by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Thursday March 16, 2017 @06:57PM (#54054363)

      Yep. Pretty much anyone who goes on about the Singularity is a loon. Not because it's necessarily a fundamentally loony concept, but because it attracts loons like moths to a flame.

      The second indicator is putting a date on the dawn of strong AI. We likely need a hardware breakthrough (I'm hopeful it'll be memristors, they look promising and we've already made them), but we also need a massive increase in our understanding of how a mind works, how it emerges from the physical properties of a brain, how to create a physical structure that can replicate that, and how to program instincts into it. Maybe that'll be in a dozen years, maybe it'll be in hundreds of years, and maybe we'll never figure it out because even a simplified model is too much for a human mind to work with.

      I'm OK with smart machines (if we can instill them with a form of Asimov's Laws of Robotics), but I'm not holding my breath waiting for them. For now it looks like we're going to get mindless but very complex systems that can do most things better than humans, but still don't come anywhere near crossing the boundary to actual intelligence or self-awareness.

      • Yep. Pretty much anyone who goes on about the Singularity is a loon. Not because it's necessarily a fundamentally loony concept, but because it attracts loons like moths to a flame.

        Kurzweil is (obviously) a smart guy but I think he isn't quite as smart as he seems to think he is. He is the master of over enthusiastic extrapolation. I've listened to several interviews with him. He'll take some current technology that resembles some bit of sci-fi tech and use that as evidence that we are already doing whatever the sci-fi tech is supposed to accomplish as if he can predict the future. The singularity is an interesting concept but he treats it like it's some sort of mathematical inevi

        • Kurzweil is a ground-floor card-carrying member of the Extrapolarian Society. I've been following his shtick forever.

          He actually was, once upon a time, as smart as he thinks he is, but then he flunked Latin, and now he's become Exhibit A for hominem unius tunius timeo [wikipedia.org].

          The actual challenge here isn't to figure out how much he's wrong. The challenge is to figure out how much he's right. And he's more right than most people think. But they can't get past how wrong he is, and still there shooting fish in

          • Yeah, that's what I get out of him. He has made some good predictions or at least popularized them when they weren't well known at the time, but all most people do is make fun of all the vitamins he takes in the quest for whatever. I'm sure I would have specialized in different subjects had I not read some of the things he wrote and I'm grateful for that.

            It's funny, I read a couple of his books and don't even remember some of the looney things he said (uploading our consciousness and immortality by 2035 or

            • There are two distinct and easily identifiable problems with his ideas here.

              First, flat out, there is no AI at present. When AI arrives, we'll know it, because it'll tell us so in no uncertain terms. What Kurzweil is actually talking about, which we can be absolutely certain of due to his claim that these systems are all around us right now, is specifically non-intelligent augmentation, and although within that context he's probably right to think that there will be a huge push to make that positive, his se

              • Yeah, I don't buy into his AI and live forever stuff, but he was right about the sensors, miniaturization, smartphone and how society would react to them. Most people aren't aware of how much miniature sensors have changed the world.. It's one of the things I think about a lot because there are a very finite number of things that are measurable and we're close to being able to measure them all and with grater accuracy than can be used.

                This has lead to great economic growth in the recent past, but is ending

                • by fyngyrz ( 762201 )

                  he was right about the sensors, miniaturization, smartphone and how society would react to them.

                  What he's also right about is the strong possibility of successively more intimate integration of technologically leveraged capabilities altering our innate capacities in very significant ways. And while silicon tech is pushing some of its limits, biological tech is just now in the very most nascent stages of becoming useful, and that seems to be by far the most likely key to augmentation. I'm quite confident we

          • The actual challenge here isn't to figure out how much he's wrong. The challenge is to figure out how much he's right.

            That's the challenge with anybody who makes predictions about the future and not unique to him. People have been doing this for millennia and if you throw enough vaguely plausible sounding BS out there, some of it is probably going to be right. With a smart guy the batting average might be a bit higher but it's still not going to be anywhere near perfect. You'll note that he doesn't bring up the stuff he was wrong about later on. With many of them (see "psychics" and clergy) they are simply making shi

        • As I wrote to Kurzweil in 2001 (reposted by someone else along with four others I sent): http://heybryan.org/fernhout/k... [heybryan.org]

          From that email:

          There is not necessarily an adaptive value to intelligence in a
          certain niche -- because intelligence has power, mass, heat-dissipation,
          and time costs. For example, consider the Hydra, which is a tiny
          multi-tentacled aquatic creature that lives off of stinging smaller
          organisms like Daphnia and pulling them into its body cavity. It has a
          simple neural net it uses to coordinat

      • The originals did not come about via knowledge of such things so why should version 2.0?
      • We aren't meant to remember things perfectly forever, it would drive us mad. Just go watch Strange Days or something similar.

        The human mind evolved this way for many many reasons. Even the way we remember and forget is important. Do you want to be faced with the conscious decision to forget your dead loved one? I could never willingly do that, press a "button" to turn them off. But eventually you learn to deal with it.

      • Pretty much anyone who goes on about the Singularity is a loon. Not because it's necessarily a fundamentally loony concept, but because it attracts loons like moths to a flame.

        Great way to start a post. Really shows a lack of bias.

        For now it looks like we're going to get mindless but very complex systems that can do most things better than humans

        You make the mistake of believing that human brains are leaps and bounds more advanced than (say) chimp brains. They're not. The difference is very very significant yet very very slight (in an evolutionary sense). Reevaluate when you expect us to create AI that reaches chimp levels. Then add ten years. Maybe twenty.
        In any case be sure to evaluate your arguments against the 'loony' Singularity concept for a primate life form of choice, such as chimps. Th

        • Yeah, so you've just misinterpreted my opening sentence and made a lot of assumptions about my position, especially that last one.

          That puts a high probability of you being in the 'Singularity Loon' group.

          • 1. So what is your prediction as to when we'll have AI that reaches the level of chimps?
            2. Do you agree with me that after we've reached chimp-level, human-level is very swiftly attained and if not, why not?

  • by Assmasher ( 456699 ) on Thursday March 16, 2017 @06:50PM (#54054327) Journal

    He's the absolute king at predicting stuff that never happens. He's always talking 10 years ahead - everything with him is "In , is going to happen..."

    He's absolute crap - he reminds me of guys who talk all kinds of bollocks about crypto and don't actually understand modular arithmetic ;).

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      I like the comparison. Or those that claim "what humans can encrypt, humans can decrypt" and other bullshit.

      • I will admit that on a few occasions I have encrypted something I could then later not decrypt... ;)

    • But people with enough money to sponsor him sure want you to hear him.

    • by kuzb ( 724081 )
      If only I had the mod points. I'm so sick of Kurtzweil running his mouth. Nothing but bullshit comes out.
      • https://www.forbes.com/sites/a... [forbes.com]

        About two seconds of googling. I'm sure that, if I gave a sh** about Kurzweil, I could come up with dozens and dozens examples of his horsesh** that hasn't happened...

        • Nothing Ray Kurzweil has ever said has ever come true so it absolutely certain that if Ray Kurweil said it it will never ever absolutely ever come true!!!!!!!!!!!!111111111111111111112222222222222222 Absolutely!
          • And in fact, Ray's ability to get it wrong? It's over 9000! In fact, if he's ever said it will rain, uh nuh, never happened, in fact, I don't know of this rain thing of which you speak. And if it will be sunny? What's this there thing you say exists called... what was it again a son, yeah people have sons and daughters, too.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      He plots tends on semi-log axis and picks the straight lines.

  • by Desler ( 1608317 ) on Thursday March 16, 2017 @06:52PM (#54054337)

    People still take Kurzweil seriously?

  • computers will have human-level intelligence

    There will be smart ones but most will be stupid when connected in groups together, and only perform short time calculations instead of working on a long term plan to raise the quality of all components for everyone?
    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      [computers will have human-level intelligence] There will be smart ones but most will be stupid when connected in groups together, and only perform short time calculations instead of working on a long term plan to raise the quality of all components for everyone

      You just automated Washington DC.

      • "Hmm.. we could have all our politicians in little boxes... very handy, that..." - Breughel, "Max Headroom: 20 Minutes into the Future"

        Mistah Kurz claims we have billions of AIs already. Where are they hiding? Or does he have a different standard for what he considers an AI than mine? I don't consider it an AI unless it can make jokes like a Culture Mind.

        • "Hmm.. we could have all our politicians in little boxes... very handy, that..." - Breughel, "Max Headroom: 20 Minutes into the Future"

          Mistah Kurz claims we have billions of AIs already. Where are they hiding? Or does he have a different standard for what he considers an AI than mine? I don't consider it an AI unless it can make jokes like a Culture Mind.

          It's the same line of argument that you hear all the time on slashdot. A thermostat is a "Weak AI" as it "senses" things and "responds" to them. Therefore, it's just a question of improving computer power to get Strong AI.

          Tosh, pure and simple.

  • We don't have any real idea yet how human consciousness works, and we're going to replicate it in a machine in 12 years? LOL, NO, that's nonsense! Also I don't think our machines are making us smarter; I think they're making lots of people lazier and dumber. Why bother learning how to do things yourself? You have some machine that does it for you. Later on: Why do anything for yourself? You have some robot to do it for you. Why even bother moving around? [imdb.com]
  • Futurist = Idiot (Score:3, Informative)

    by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Thursday March 16, 2017 @07:01PM (#54054393)

    And nobody does both parts better than Kurzweil. Clueless, full of himself and with the grandest predictions.

    The reality is, if machines get to the intelligence level of a dog by that time, the actual experts will be ecstatic because that is very unlikely to happen. Human-level intelligence is not even on the table, i.e. there is not indication at all that it is possible. In fact, even said dog is a stretch and may turn out to be infeasible in this universe. (If you are a physicalist and argue that humans are purely physical and hence machines must be able to reach that level of intelligence, then you are a moron on the level of Kurzweil, because that is not an argument based on facts. The scientific facts about the nature of humans as sentient beings are that it is unknown how they do intelligence and consciousness and hence it is unknown whether it is a physical mechanism or not. That is why people that claim physicalism must be the truth are no better than any other religious or quasi-religious fundamentalists. They claim truth where they just have belief.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The scientific facts about the nature of humans as sentient beings are that it is unknown how they do intelligence and consciousness and hence it is unknown whether it is a physical mechanism or not.

      Physical processes (as that is what the brain does) lead to a result you don't understand so it isn't actually a result of the physical processes? You listening to yourself here?

      That is why people that claim physicalism must be the truth are no better than any other religious or quasi-religious fundamentalists. They claim truth where they just have belief.

      Uh-huh. There is no evidence whatsoever for non-physical explanations of anything, the brain contains hundreds of billions of cells which work together in ways we're just gaining the barest understanding of, and you think the people who believe that could be the source of intelligence are the whack-jobs?

      Dude, delusional doesn't even

      • by gweihir ( 88907 )

        The scientific facts about the nature of humans as sentient beings are that it is unknown how they do intelligence and consciousness and hence it is unknown whether it is a physical mechanism or not.

        Physical processes (as that is what the brain does) lead to a result you don't understand so it isn't actually a result of the physical processes? You listening to yourself here?

        You do not and cannot know whether that is all. It is highly unscientific to claim it.

        That is why people that claim physicalism must be the truth are no better than any other religious or quasi-religious fundamentalists. They claim truth where they just have belief.

        Uh-huh. There is no evidence whatsoever for non-physical explanations of anything, the brain contains hundreds of billions of cells which work together in ways we're just gaining the barest understanding of, and you think the people who believe that could be the source of intelligence are the whack-jobs?

        Dude, delusional doesn't even begin to explain what you are. And before you get off on your inevitable mindless rant, do keep in mind that "somebody said so" and "I don't understand it" do not constitute evidence.

        There is an important difference between "can be" and "is". And actually the indications for "can be" look worse and worse every day.

        • And actually the indications for "can be" look worse and worse every day.

          Only to a superstitious twit like you.

          • by gweihir ( 88907 )

            Funny. You seem to have run out of arguments. The difference may be that I am an actual scientist, while you confuse science and religion.

            • Funny. You seem to have run out of arguments.

              He stopped bothering because once one realizes one is arguing with either a troll or a fool the best path is to stop trying to be reasonable.

              The difference may be that I am an actual scientist, while you confuse science and religion.

              I very much doubt that you are an actual scientist given your demonstrated lack of understanding of what science actually is. If you are an actual scientist I recommend considering a change of careers. Rapidly.

        • by Kiuas ( 1084567 ) on Friday March 17, 2017 @05:59AM (#54056923)

          You do not and cannot know whether that is all. It is highly unscientific to claim it.

          It's not highly unscientific to claim that everything we observe in the universe has a physical cause (that is, a cause we can detect and observe) because science by its very nature deals only with observable reality. The idea that somehow because something is not fully understood we should assume a non-physical cause is illogical and goes against the principles of science.

          Before you can argue for 'non-physical causes' you need to demonstrate that such exist, the burden of proof is on you to show that such processes are not only possible but actually real, and then further demonstrate how a non-physical process can be detected and how it can interact with the world. And if you did manage to somehow demonstrate such a cause and how it can be detected, guess what? At that point it's no longer a 'non-physical cause' but part of the natural world and the physical realm. This is precisely why substance dualism has not been taken seriously by anyone with half a brain for a couple of centuries: 'non-physical process' AKA 'soul' AKA magic is just a placeholder for 'things we do not yet understand."

          You don't get to assert causes which have not been proven to exist and then claim that those causes are somehow responsible for things we have a thus far incomplete understanding of. That's a textbook case of argument from ignorance and the age-old theological argument rehashed:

          Descartes's so-called dualism is often taken to represent a fundamental revolution in ideas and the starting point of modern philosophy. ...but in substance his work is... better understood as an attempt to conserve the old truths in the face of new threats. His dualism was in essence an armistice... between the established religion and the emerging science of his time. ...isolating the mind from the physical world... ensured that many of the central doctrines of orthodoxy—immortality of the soul, the freedom of will, and, in general, the "special" status of humankind—were rendered immune to any possible contravention by the scientific investigation of the physical world. ...
          For men such as Descartes, Malebranche, and Leibniz, solving the mind-body problem was vital to preserving the theological and political order inherited from the Middle Ages... For Spinoza, it was a means of destroying that same order and discovering a new foundation for human worth.

          -Matthew Stewart [wikipedia.org], The Courtier and the Heretic: Leibniz, Spinoza, and the Fate of God in the Modern World (2006)

          Men are mistaken in thinking themselves free; their opinion is made up of consciousness of their own actions, and ignorance of the causes by which they are conditioned. Their idea of freedom, therefore, is simply their ignorance of any cause for their actions. As for their saying that human actions depend on the will, this is a mere phrase without any idea to correspond thereto.

          -Baruch Spinoza [wikipedia.org], Ethics (1677).

          When the core of your argument lies on premises that could be understood to be false by men living over 300 years ago, you know you're in need of education.

          • by gweihir ( 88907 )

            You confuse "Science!" and "God". The only thing that is in everything is the second. Science has no problems with gray areas and unknown things. Religion has.

            • by Kiuas ( 1084567 )

              You confuse "Science!" and "God"

              I do not.

              Science has no problems with gray areas and unknown things.

              I never claimed it does, I said that science doesn't entertain arguments which involve invisible/undetectable magical causes. You seem to be incapable of understanding the flaw in your position, you said: "You do not and cannot know whether that is all. It is highly unscientific to claim it." Which is incorrect because it's essentially saying that it's unscientific to dismiss supernatural causes and claims. I

        • You do not and cannot know whether that is all. It is highly unscientific to claim it.

          You claimed that "it is unknown whether it is a physical mechanism or not". This is both a preposterous (intentional?) misunderstanding of what a scientific claim is and simultaneously a bunch of pseudo-scientific malarkey. Basically you invoked magic in your argument - unrooted in any physics or observed phenomena we are aware of. You asked us to prove a negative and to ignore what we actually do know. That's not science, that's just the sort of mental masturbation you get from first year college stude

  • People always mistake processing power for intelligence. They are NOT the same, anymore than memory = intelligence.

    The ability to remember more facts than the human mind can does not make your smarter than a human. Nor does the ability to do math calculations faster mean anything either.

    Intelligence is an entirely different thing than either memory or math (math includes logic and pattern recognition).

    Robots are no where near being actually intelligent. None of our attempts to create it have come anywhere near close, we are qualittaively unable to create the smallest amount of real intelligence.

      There is the CHANCE that as they are given enough processing power and enough memory that we might make a breakthrough - or more likely they could spontaneously develop intelligence.

    But the statement that it will happen is patently ignorant of the issues involved and the current state of the science.

    • The only problem is that there are a lot of people in this world, who use only "Human level processing power" with zero intelligence involved in their everyday life.
  • by joh ( 27088 ) on Thursday March 16, 2017 @07:03PM (#54054413)

    we will sit in the basement of a burned down house gnawing on the rotten leg of a dog, while wars and civil wars are ravaging the world. At least if things continue the way they do now.

  • With the right neo-cortex-filter you can get fake news directly into your brain.
    Can't wait.

    But OTOH perhaps we'll get an ad-filter for the visual nerve, so that all advertisements in real life are changed to nekkid ladies.

    Naturally homeless people and other bums will be depicted as beautiful moveable objects, but not so beautiful to warrant attention.

    And we could clean up the surroundings all in our brains, fantastic natural landscapes, brand-new infrastructure instead of crumbling bridges, and for some peo

  • We will? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by quonset ( 4839537 )

    You can watch the full interview on Facebook.

    No, I can't, because I'm not about to give up what little privacy I have to that POS site. If it's something worthwhile watching, put it on YouTube* so everyone can see it instead of being in another walled garden.

    * This does not imply that everything on YouTube is worth watching

  • "a report from Fox News" - Fox News, such a reliable source of (mis)information
  • What if all the switches get stuck on destroy [spotify.com]?

  • Linear thinking is belief that what is present today will be present tomorrow, only stronger. Whereas nature and human societies go in cycles. So Kurzweil is extrapolating from a short time window.

  • This could also mean that we're getting dumber faster than I thought.

    Idiocracy: The prophecy has come to pass.

    • That could be a way to achieve AI in the next six months - debase the standard on which it's judged.

      Yes, we do have human-equivalent AIs, but they are also slightly dumber than a drunken pug.

  • Had he kept his mouth shut, he would be remembered by his significant technological contributions. After what he has been doing and saying over the last twenty years, if he is at all remembered it will be as a textbook example of somebody taking leave of his common sense.
  • Kurzweil will die and never get the immortality dream that he is after. I actually think (if) he believe all this stuffs, it is because the man is terrified of death.

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