A while back I was driven to write about the nonsense regarding our particle accelerators creating a Black Hole, or some other exotic particle that will destroy the Earth.
And now it seems I have to do the same thing all over again regarding this Singularity business, now that Stephen Hawking has decided to comment on the subject.
We really do seem to be living in the Golden Age of the Idiocracy. Because some retard, or possibly a 10-year old with zero science understanding, writes about Mars appearing the size of the full Moon on some Internet blog – there are actually a huge number of negative IQ people out there that take such complete and utter garbage at face value. Why am I so affronted by such stupidity? Because even Stone Age man knew better than that dammit!! Where computers are involved people seem very keen to turn off their brains i.e. common sense. I guess this is why the Singularity gets any air time at all.
I feel a little less offended by idiots proclaiming that particle accelerators will destroy the Earth because to understand the nonsense behind that statement you at least need to have GCSE standard maths and physics.
The Singularity issue is in yet another category of innate Homo Sapiens gullibility, it is closely related to the “Computer says no” reflex, where people happily relegate responsibility for thinking to a computer program where someone else has kindly done the thinking for them. After all, thinking and learning hurt don’t they? And we don’t want that do we??
I find it difficult to know where to begin dissing the “Singularity is near” concept. But I think I can give an example that puts the whole Singularity business into context, and that is nuclear fusion. Nuclear fusion is our attempt at creating the powerhouse behind the stars here on Earth. “The energy source that is always 10 years in the future”, as often stated by those working on the problem. And that’s where I saw the link with the Singularity and the hard A.I. problem, except the hard A.I. problem is INFINITELY more complex by comparison. The reason being we don’t know what we’re talking about when it comes to trying to define and therefore to replicate consciousness. At least when it comes to nuclear fusion we have Maxwell’s equations, we know the mathematics behind creating complex dynamical magnetic confinement fields, behind the behaviour of plasmas, and behind the actual fusion reactions themselves – and still we can’t make the damn thing work! We started fusion research way back in the 1950s and back then the early researchers thought they had got fusion going (almost first time of trying) due to the production of a few neutrons – unfortunately they were not neutrons resulting from fusion reactions. Never mind, small issue, in 10-years time we’ll easily have this sorted. And then 60 years comes and goes and we still don’t have it sorted. And this is for a technological problem where we know all the basic physics and have all the basic equations to hand!!
Now let’s consider the Singularity. You can see why I used nuclear fusion as a comparison, it’s because a machine that passes the Turing test is likewise always 10-years in the future. But the Singularity is a bit more than simply passing the Turing test, here we are talking hard A.I. we are talking a sentient machine, machine consciousness – and yet we don’t know squat about consciousness, so don’t you think it might be a little difficult (slightly more difficult than getting fusion to work) to get consciousness into a machine, given we don’t even know what it is? No of course it isn’t!! Haven’t you seen Terminator? It’s dead easy. You create a Skynet (Internet) and it grows and grows until quite suddenly, right out of the blue, it becomes self-aware!! How cool is that? Hello – hello out there – Terminator is a film, it is not real life (unlike the Idiocracy). But from where I am sitting, the proponents of the “Singularity is near” are doing just that – they are treating what was an entertaining sci-film as our future reality. Not a very scientific approach, more like a religious belief, a religious sect (and that’s just about as insulting as I can get). It must also be pretty insulting to all those Philosophers and other great thinkers that spent a lifetime working on, and writing about the subject of human consciousness. Not to mention those computer scientists that have spent their whole career working on the hard A.I. problem. These people, if any, should be the ones to have any clue about how to create consciousness in a machine – and of course they do not have a clue. They are completely clueless.
So where does that leave us? Well – THE SINGULARITY IS NOWHERE BLOODY NEAR and it will remain that way for quite a few generations to come. I am not writing off the possibility of machine consciousness – far from it, but for a race of “intelligent” beings that haven’t even gone back to the Moon yet, something we did way back in 1969, don’t you think you are being a little over ambitious in your expectations of what is, and what is not, currently feasible.