I was in the audience for this symposium, April 1, 2000: Will Spiritual Robots Replace Humanity by 2100? – On YouTube – Ray Kurzweil, Bill Joy, Douglas Hofstadter, John Holland, Hans Moravec, Kevin Kelly, Ralph Merkle, Panel Discussion part 1, part 2.
I was especially interested in this conference because 23 years previous to it I had published Tao and war which was quoted several times in Pamala MCCurduck’s and Edward Feigenbaum’s (the “father of expert systems”)1983 book, The Fifth Generation: Artificial Intelligence and Japan’s Computer Challenge to the World. The quotes were about accurate information.
These audio clips above now thirteen years old, and yet the problems feel so current to me. Am I out of touch, or were they simply that prescient? Or am I presently 36 years (13 years + 23 years) ahead of my time. (Here is another example published Nov 1994 Survive heart attack, stroke, & clots.)
The following YouTube video is a more recent, and a little more thorough, and it’s a quick introduction to Ray Kurzweil’s future. The process he values is based on exponential growth. Most people think in terms of linear growth when they think at all, and behave as if the world will always be as it is at this moment, when they act.
Singularity Summit at Stanford was a later symposium that was similar to the one above and was videotaped.
Below are more quotes, notes and thoughts clipped from the above –
If the computers seem to be conscious than I choose to believe they are conscious.
Emotional thinking is where we are better than machines.
A computer does not pass the Turing test by solving Pi to a million places but by being emotionally sensitive.
It’s the base emotions, like anger and fear, that are easy; benign emotions like empathy and sympathy are more human, and difficult for a computer to emulate accurately.
Most of our thoughts and emotions are directed at our bodies.
Most technology has a negative side, (flu virus created by a grad student 40: )
Create super weapons. Technical solutions that have to be constantly revised to prevent these dangers from become destructive.
We must create human protective AIs that are even smarter than hostile AIs.
180 million died in wars of the 20th century, because of technology.
We benefit from technology more than we are harmed, 43:30, Not everyone agrees. We have to work for humanity for defending against possible abuses. 43:45
Wouldn’t life get boring if we lived to be 400 years old? Yes, at what we presently have, but it will get more expansive. The things that make it worthwhile will be expanded.
We have 10 thousand times more solar energy than we need to meet all of our energy needs. Only eight doublings away from what we need.
Our problems will be solved by expanding technology. I want to be around to experience it, and to help contribute to it. 45:54 Kurzweil mentions Phosphatidylcholine, as the special substance for making bodily cells young again
The real goal of human life is to expand human knowledge. 25:15
Who are we? What do we want? 28:30 The glue that holds communities together is knowledge. That enhance human relationships, and that is really the purpose of human life, in my view. And personally, I’d like a lot more time to contribute to that purpose of the human species. Thank you very much. (The End)
Bill Joy “Nuclear technology: a fit technology for a wise, farseeing and incorruptible people.” (quote from Nobel laureate Robert Sinsheimer) Joy said, 20th century WMDs were nuclear, biological and chemical, but 21st century WMDs are genetic engineering, nano technology and robotics. These are worse because they are not expensive and not controlled by a limited military. These new WMDs are cheap being commercially developed and available to everyone. Basically its software which is easily distributed to everyone. Knowledge itself can become a weapon. Joy calls them, (KMDs) Knowledge-enabled mass destruction weapons.
Ralph Merkle, said we should ask, “will it enhance offense or defense? Proliferation and the like.”
What are the longer term issues over the next few decades?