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Ray Kurzweil wants to bring back late father


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#1 Futurist1000

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 02:56 PM


Apparently Ray Kurzweil wants to bring back his deceased father with artificial intelligence. At least according to the wikipedia article on him. I had not heard him make this claim previously. Any clue if this is true? How does he propose it would be possible?

In addition to Kurzweil's movie, there is an independent, feature-length documentary being made about Ray, his life, and his ideas called Transcendent Man. Filmmakers Barry and Felicia Ptolemy follow Kurzweil, documenting his global speaking tour. Scheduled for release in 2009,[6] Transcendent Man documents Ray's quest to reveal mankind's ultimate destiny and explores many of the ideas found in his New York Times bestselling book, The Singularity is Near, including his concept of exponential growth, radical life expansion, and how we will transcend our biology. The Ptolemys have documented Ray's stated goal of bringing back his late father using AI. The film also documents critics who argue against Kurzweil's predictions.


Edited by hrc579, 21 November 2008 - 02:58 PM.


#2 lucid

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 04:46 PM

Unless he is cryo-preserved I don't see how that could be possible... I have heard Ray talk about having nano bots scan the brains neural connections so that a brain could be 'emulated' on a computer. This might be possible at some day and age, but if his father is rotting in the ground I don't know what will be left to image. It is also dubious as to whether Ray will be alive when such brain scanning technology becomes available.

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#3 Mind

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 05:01 PM

I am going to assume he means bringing back a relatively accurate AI simulation of his father.

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#4 Cyberbrain

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 05:17 PM

I think in the singularity is near he mentions that it may be possible to bring back his father through a simulation as an example to illustrate the power of AGI, but to be honest I don't think Kurzweil is very pro-simulation (when it comes to simulating the minds of passed loved ones - this was a topic that has been discussed many times in the forums).

The best simulation of loved one through AI (based only on memory) in the future would be to the extant that you can already simulate some one like a parent in your dreams.

#5 Delorean

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Posted 22 November 2008 - 05:36 AM

Maybe he's referring to quantum archeology?

http://www.imminst.o...showtopic=20349

#6 quelareine

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Posted 10 May 2009 - 06:33 AM

i think you're right. thank you for sharing ;)
simulation rachat de credit

#7 Ben Simon

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Posted 10 May 2009 - 10:49 AM

He's not. He's talking about cloning his father from DNA found at his gravesite, then implanting him with his fathers memories by going through all his old stuff (diaries, photo albums). It's a pretty creepy idea really. It wouldn't be his father... it would be his father's identical twin, burdened and tortured by a whole bunch of fake memories that aren't his own, just so Ray can have something that sorta seems like his Dad back. This idea is one of the things that makes me especially wary of Mr Kurzwell. It's a wish fulfillment fantasy that seems totally aware of how unbelievably cruel and dishonest it would be in practice. It's Frankenstein-esque.

Edited by ben, 10 May 2009 - 10:51 AM.


#8 alexd

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Posted 10 May 2009 - 11:31 AM

He's not. He's talking about cloning his father from DNA found at his gravesite, then implanting him with his fathers memories by going through all his old stuff (diaries, photo albums). It's a pretty creepy idea really. It wouldn't be his father... it would be his father's identical twin, burdened and tortured by a whole bunch of fake memories that aren't his own, just so Ray can have something that sorta seems like his Dad back. This idea is one of the things that makes me especially wary of Mr Kurzwell. It's a wish fulfillment fantasy that seems totally aware of how unbelievably cruel and dishonest it would be in practice. It's Frankenstein-esque.


Ben. Since we are speculating I think we can examine some fiction. In the movie "Bladerunner" the character Rachael is just such a synthesis an artificial human with artificial memories. . It would be fair to say that although she becomes aware of the artificiality of her memories it does not mean she is unable to live in the present and form new memories that are unique to her own existence. When we consider how much distortion is likely to be present in anyone's recall I at least, have to think that we continually, to varying degrees, recreate our past. History is said to be written by the winners of any given conflict and I suspect the same selective editing occurs in an individual. There are some who think we all could be living as components in a vastly complex virtual reality and that everything we experience in our reality is part of a construction. It is not something we can prove or disprove but rather a logical speculation. I saw a Hubble picture of a galaxies which contains 800 billion suns and how many galaxies might exist? We as people seem to be somewhat unable to appreciate the power of compounding returns. We can write down numbers and talk about Moore's law but at what point is it so far beyond what we are able to comprehend. look at the accelerating cost of health care. Twenty years ago you could easily see that if the rate of the increase in cost kept exceeding inflation then the costs would become economicly impossible to handle and that the sooner the situation was dealt with the easier it would be to tackle that problem. We do not tend to act when problems are small but only rather when they become intrusive and interfere with other systems that we engage. It is off topic but it goes to our way of thinking.

If we could fully synthesize the function of a human brain in a computer derived directly from a human brain it would still be artificial so do you think it would be any more or less "creepy" than the complex gray matter that our skulls encase?

#9 Ben Simon

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 05:18 AM

I didn't say the clone wouldn't be real or have real experiences. I said it wouldn't be his Dad. It would be somebody else, a genetic copy of his dad, experiencing fake memories that have no relationship to his actual life. They wouldn't even be the genuine memories of Kurzweil's father (which again, is not who this clone would be) - they'd just be manipulated information from the man's old diaries.

Edited by ben, 11 May 2009 - 05:21 AM.


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#10 Mixter

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 08:35 PM

Actually doing it the way you described would indeed be inhumane and bad. But as an abstract fantasy, which is one of the things that gives a guy like Kurzweil creativity and motivation, it's not that bad as long as it remains fantasy. Who knows, if the basic idea of technological singularity doesn't have any flaws we're overlooking, then quantum archeology stuff might not be inviable a few hundred to thousand years into the singularity. Or at least, a cyberspace or robotic simulation of his dad that is 100% what he expects -- whenever mapping the human brain is understood and applied to Kurzweil's own.

Let inventors have fantasy, rational and irrational. It's what drives human progress. ;)

#11 Ben Simon

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 07:15 AM

Actually doing it the way you described would indeed be inhumane and bad. But as an abstract fantasy, which is one of the things that gives a guy like Kurzweil creativity and motivation, it's not that bad as long as it remains fantasy. Who knows, if the basic idea of technological singularity doesn't have any flaws we're overlooking, then quantum archeology stuff might not be inviable a few hundred to thousand years into the singularity. Or at least, a cyberspace or robotic simulation of his dad that is 100% what he expects -- whenever mapping the human brain is understood and applied to Kurzweil's own.

Let inventors have fantasy, rational and irrational. It's what drives human progress. ;)


Kurzweil presents it as fact. It generates a large portion of his publicity. It also casts doubt on the legitimacy of his other predictions. I find the guys work interesting... but something like that is a big red flag as far as I'm concerned.

Quantum archaeology on the other hand, while also a fantasy at this stage, is a fantasy I can really get behind. It's got a solid theoretical basis. I'm happy to wait a thousand years for something like that to work. :)

#12 Luke Parrish

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 12:20 AM

ben, I don't know that this is as 100% wrong as you are presenting it. You are seemingly assuming that the new person would not want to be the person they have been made into. Not necessarily true. The AI/clone would have a role in life to comfort and instruct his "son" much as the real individual would if he could be there. The person would have the rights and privileges of a human being, could choose to remain with their "son" or to leave and be a scientist or explorer on their own.

Burdened with memories that are not his own? Well, the thing is they would be his, at least that would be his perception. It would be a pre-built identity, but not inherently any less valid or real than that which it takes a normal human a lifetime to form. Would some parts be negative or burdensome? Sure. But there would be plenty of chances to get highly effective counseling or therapy if necessary. And in any case, we as normally raised individuals have our own negative memories. Does that make it immoral to bring a child into the world the normal way?

It is essentially just a radically different form of human reproduction.

If you want more literal and realistic information from the past, I'd suggest seeing if accurate reflections can be derived from interstellar dust. Our brains have electromagnetic signatures, and even a slight gravitational effect (each dendrite has mass, after all). It may be possible to decode the information reflected back to us in these minute forms, given sufficient processing power and powerful enough instruments.

The AI/clone (if he chooses to do so) might be able to incorporate the new data into its memory and thus become more authentically "dad" over time. Or he could step aside and let the "real" dad come back separately and form a separate relationship with his son. Existing in duplicate or merging multiple similar identities will probably be fairly commonplace by that time.

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#13 Futurist1000

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 05:33 AM

If you were to determine the universal wave function in quantum mechanics, you might be able to recreate the exact details of the locations of particles in the past. This would allow you to recreate a person exactly as they were when they died, molecule by molecule. I think? Probably not an easy thing to do, though.

Edited by Futurist1000, 27 May 2009 - 05:34 AM.





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