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Better than average Kurzweil speech


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#1 Athanasios

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 08:17 PM


Part 1

http://www.youtube.c...related&search=

Part2

http://www.youtube.c...related&search=

Part 1 is total review of past Kurzweil talks. Part 2 elaborates a bit more on his past speeches.


Edit by Live Forever: Embedded video

Edited by Live Forever, 28 August 2007 - 08:04 PM.


#2 Aegist

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Posted 22 June 2007 - 12:27 AM

The man never ceases to amaze me. He is a true genius, and deserves to be well known and well recorded in the history books.

I really should buy his books and read them....

#3 modelcadet

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Posted 22 June 2007 - 12:44 AM

A genius who recycles a lot. Of course he's a busy man and can't just be a full-time futurist, but there's so much cool shit to talk about.

Science fact is becoming more entertaining and zany than science fiction!

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#4 struct

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Posted 22 June 2007 - 01:09 AM

I read 'Fantastic Voyage' and have not finished reading 'Singularity is near' (hope I finish it before the arrival of the singularity [lol] ).
It would be nice if Kurzweil comes up with a new edition of 'Fantastic Voyage' giving us the current updates on how to optimize our health.
'Fantastic Voyage' was published in 2004. I am interested to see/read the 2007/2008 version of that book (incorporating the new information obtained during 2004-2007/2008).

#5 Live Forever

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Posted 22 June 2007 - 01:16 AM

I read 'Fantastic Voyage'  and have not finished reading 'Singularity is near' (hope I finish it before the arrival of the singularity [lol] ).
It would be nice if Kurzweil comes up with a new edition of 'Fantastic Voyage' giving us the current updates on how to optimize our health.
'Fantastic Voyage' was published in 2004.  I am interested to see/read the 2007/2008 version of that book (incorporating the new information obtained during 2004-2007/2008).

There are relevant articles periodically posted on the website for the book: http://www.fantastic...et/Articles.php

Just don't buy into the alkaline water stuff in there. :))

#6 struct

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Posted 22 June 2007 - 01:45 AM

thanks LF,
I have been checking that site about once a week. I am just interested to see how Kurzweil would have compiled/elaborated the hypothetically new 'Fantastic Voyage'. Sure, I get the idea from the articles, but I don't think Ray (and I) would agree with what all the articles that he puts there say (I am not saying that I absolutely agree with Ray). The new F.V. would be more condensed and of higher quality than that of the bulk of all those articles and would give the reader a bigger better picture. In a sense, have the book for all those lazy people (or for those who crave for high quality condensed information) who cannot go through all those articles.

#7 advancedatheist

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Posted 22 June 2007 - 02:45 AM

Skeptic magazine has taken Kurzweil to task for his unsubstantiated claims about "life extension":

http://www.box.net/shared/ajgq72v6kn

#8 Aegist

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Posted 22 June 2007 - 03:42 AM

I agree with much of that article. There is no method of extending human ageing available in the marketplace for humans. CR is the most likely, but of course you can't sell that.

But this quote from one of the books is very counter productive:
"....the theoretical breakthroughs ...
erc ody s rriN di{Ecti@s fim
whafs ihpoltrnt, dmly, l@ins to
lcc€pt the utuveMlity and iNnabniy
of a8in8, unded2rdins both its chal
loSes md p(nis, and knowinS how
to keep dinds .nd tFdi6 as hclhy as
pGsible d we mve tbFush life s $."

i started editing it, but it was a pain in the arse. hooray for Adobe text recognition!

"...these theoretical breakthroughs serve only as serious distractions from whats important, namely, learning to accept the universality and inevitability of ageing..."

Yeah right. That is exactly what us poor humans need..we *need* to learn how to accept the inevitabiltiy of ageing. because we struggle with that so much...

What a crock of shit.

#9 JonesGuy

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Posted 22 June 2007 - 12:59 PM

Too true. We need more people to say "Darnit to Heck, this Oil of Olay shit crud, I want a fucking blasted cure!"

edit: we have censorship! I didn't know! I'll edit in proper words, then.

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#10 Live Forever

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Posted 23 June 2007 - 12:09 AM

I just ended up actually watching the videos. Good stuff. Thanks for sharing, Chris.

#11 boily

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Posted 23 June 2007 - 04:10 AM

Very interesting indeed, I watch both videos. Thanks for the links!

#12 basho

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Posted 23 June 2007 - 05:20 AM

But this quote from one of the books is very counter productive:
...
"...these theoretical breakthroughs serve only as serious distractions from whats important, namely, learning to accept the universality and inevitability of ageing..."

Yeah right. That is exactly what us poor humans need..we *need* to learn how to accept the inevitabiltiy of ageing. because we struggle with that so much...
What a crock of shit.

I fully agree, what a defeatist attitude. Do we also need to accept the inevitability of cancer, disease, war, and famine? Screw that.

To be fair, the article has this to say about the author of that quote, "America's leading integrative medicine guru", Andrew Weil:

Unfortunately, Weil goes on to mix sense with silliness, medicine with metaphysics…  As he explains: "I maintain that it is possible to look at the world scientifically and also to be aware of nonmaterial reality."  He speaks of qi and prana unquestioningly, saying breath is the link to this basic life energy that circulates through us.  Weil concludes: "I believe in magic and mystery"… he thinks consciousness is primary, more basic than matter and energy, and he thinks it directs the evolution of the material universe (huh?).  He offers no evidence to support this claim.

I'll take Kurzweil over Mr Magic-and-Mystery-Man any day.

But I don’t agree with what they say later about Kurzweil:

Kurzweil is a denier who is running scared and wants to believe he can cheat death… it is sad to see a good intellect fall prey to obsessions and delusions.

They should remember this quote: "The best way to predict the future is to invent it".

Go Kurzweil!

#13 maestro949

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Posted 23 June 2007 - 11:40 AM

I like pondering Kurzweil's theory of accelerating returns though I don't see much evidence of it other than within specific markets for gadgets and computing tech. When a new field open up there seem to be explosions of new ideas but much of it is trying to apply existing patterns to the new findings within said field.

The AI/Singularity stuff doesn't do much for me. I'm sure we'll develop AI that is just as intelligent as we are but little beyond it other than a network of AI agents and human problem solvers which will certainly evolve into something entirely distinct but not nearly as grandoise nor in the timeframes many of us would like to see. While there's an infinite number of ways to combine all of the information in the universe, only a small percentage of it has any real value to us. Real change will not come from what we build but when we ourselves change our behaviors. That's difficult to do without mucking with our cognitive resources.

Regardless, it's still fun pondering the possibilities of human achievement through imagination and engineering. In theory, there really shouldn't be any technical problems we can't solve, biological or otherwise and Kurzweil does a good job of presenting this concept as the eternal optimist.

#14 Athanasios

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Posted 23 June 2007 - 12:02 PM

  When a new field open up there seem to be explosions of new ideas but much of it is trying to apply existing patterns to the new findings within said field. 


I think Kurzweil would agree with you. That is why he presents the exponential curve made up of many log curves.

He also says the explosions of new ideas behave in a non-predictable manner but as a system it is very predictable. His theory is much better thought of as that system that can seem to break down when you try and force it into the details. I think he tried to show this in the 2nd part of the talk. The very short-term details are much more predictable because they occur on one of the log curves that exist now. Trying to predict past the current trend of a log curve is very speculative according to his theory.

Personally I don't see his general model breaking down anytime soon. Just don't throw out the baby with the bath water, even though there may be a lot of bath water.

#15 advancedatheist

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Posted 23 June 2007 - 02:51 PM

I agree with much of that article. There is no method of extending human ageing available in the marketplace for humans. CR is the most likely, but of course you can't sell that.


The CR research probably sends a false signal any way. It works in the laboratory because the scientists can control a lot of the variables: genetically uniform mice, consistent diets, isolation to prevent the spread of mousie diseases, etc.

Humans practicing CR in the real world, by contrast, start with wildly varying genomes and have little control over their food quality, suffer from exposure to infectious diseases and environmental toxins, experience stressful encounters with other members of their species (humans do form dominance hierarchies, after all) and so forth. Not to mention the initial damage loads we acquired in the womb, according to Gavrilov's reliability theory of aging. Under those conditions, who knows whether CR will increase anyone's maximum life expectancy?

"...these theoretical breakthroughs serve only as serious distractions from whats important, namely, learning to accept the universality and inevitability of ageing..."

Yeah right. That is exactly what us poor humans need..we *need* to learn how to accept the inevitabiltiy of ageing. because we struggle with that so much...

What a crock of shit.


We need to separate two issues here. Kurzweil's experiment on himself probably won't work, despite his claim that he stopped aging circa 1990. That makes him sound like the people in the old Eternal Flame cult in Scottsdale, even though Kurzweil looks like a well-maintained 60-ish man to me. But Kurzweil's self-deception has no bearing on the dire moral urgency to find strategies that will work.

#16 advancedatheist

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Posted 23 June 2007 - 03:06 PM

I like pondering Kurzweil's  theory of accelerating returns though I don't see much evidence of it other than within specific markets for gadgets and computing tech.  When a new field open up there seem to be explosions of new ideas but much of it is trying to apply existing patterns to the new findings within said field. 


We've seen that happen with the oil supply, where our civilization keeps applying new tech to try to find more oil instead of thinking about how to restructure our lives so that we don't have to use so much of the stuff. We certainly don't see any "acceleration" in the growth of oil production despite Kurzweil's interesting graphs; BP's new Statistical Review of World Energy suggests that we've probably maxed out on the world's oil capacity.

The AI/Singularity stuff doesn't do much for me.  I'm sure we'll develop AI that is just as intelligent as we are but little beyond it other than a network of AI agents and human problem solvers which will certainly evolve into something entirely distinct but not nearly as grandoise nor in the timeframes many of us would like to see. 


AI by now looks like a failed paleo-future. The field started with Alan Turing about 60 years ago, yet it has clearly bogged down with no obvious way forward. Should we keep throwing resources into trying to do something when past efforts clearly haven't paid off? What about the opportunity costs?

#17 Live Forever

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Posted 23 June 2007 - 04:22 PM

paleo-future

Thanks for the link. I love that kind of imagery and stuff.

#18 basho

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Posted 23 June 2007 - 04:45 PM

paleo-future

Thanks for the link. I love that kind of imagery and stuff.

Seconded. That blog has some incredible stuff. I followed a link to this amazing 1968 Bubble House. Living in a bubble house would be so sweet. The future of the past was so much more awesome than the present.

#19 maestro949

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Posted 23 June 2007 - 06:58 PM

AI by now looks like a failed paleo-future. The field started with Alan Turing about 60 years ago, yet it has clearly bogged down with no obvious way forward. Should we keep throwing resources into trying to do something when past efforts clearly haven't paid off?


I do see utility in throwing genetic algorithms at the swathes of the universe's data (biology/genomics are perfect uses for GAs) however building another set of conscious entities that can pass a Turing test doesn't seem all that valuable. We have 6 billion of those and we don't utilize them very well. What makes us think we'll utilize or listen to a synthetic version, regardless of their intelligence? And when we ignore them, won't they all just gravitate towards moving into their mom's basement and toss off to web porn despite their brilliance because the system doesn't cultivate their minds towards beneficial endeavors?

What about the opportunity costs?


Precisely. If someone has a good roadmap for engineering an economically viable AI that has specific utility, I'm all for it but I don't see the need for more Manhattan projects trying to build build the next generation of super-Einsteins.

#20 RighteousReason

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Posted 23 June 2007 - 08:15 PM

awesome videos.

one thing about Kurzweil's predictions though...

we don't need a billion fold increase in the IT power of today to create AGI

#21 basho

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Posted 24 June 2007 - 01:13 AM

...however building another set of conscious entities that can pass a Turing test doesn't seem all that valuable.

Consider it from the perspective of competition and market forces. It will definitely happen if some form of (constrained) machine intelligence can be created to perform the intellectual work of existing human employees, and can do it at a lower cost. We see it already with offshoring of jobs to lower-cost nations, which is a now multi-billion dollar industry. Automating that work is simply the next step.

Simply put, when intelligent machines become available, any company that does not make use of them will be wiped out by the competition. However, with the advent of true, self-improving machine intelligence, I very much doubt things will turn out in any way we can predict.

#22 maestro949

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Posted 24 June 2007 - 05:50 AM

...however building another set of conscious entities that can pass a Turing test doesn't seem all that valuable.

Consider it from the perspective of competition and market forces. It will definitely happen if some form of (constrained) machine intelligence can be created to perform the intellectual work of existing human employees, and can do it at a lower cost. We see it already with offshoring of jobs to lower-cost nations, which is a now multi-billion dollar industry. Automating that work is simply the next step.


I mostly agree but don't think full blown AI is needed for this. As we run out of wage slaves (those pesky humans keep demanding more money) and the tech becomes cheaper we'll increasingly migrate over to full automation in regards to assembly, decision making and service delivery.

Simply put, when intelligent machines become available, any company that does not make use of them will be wiped out by the competition.  However, with the advent of true, self-improving machine intelligence, I very much doubt things will turn out in any way we can predict.


I think we can predict it. Think of the future as having many types of interlaced intelligent networks. Similar to today's but smarter, faster and more automated. Most data and communications networks already have intelligent and self-tuning routing mechanisms built into them. Combined with redundant elements they also have a self healing mechanism. The same is spreading through databases and server farms. Business back-end hardware and software are heading in the same direction and it will eventually reach the home, PCs and wireless devices. With the plummeting cost of computing, off-the-shelf rules engines, 5GLs, pattern-based development and frameworks, companies can displace even more workers with less and less effort via machines that communicate with each other - tuning themselves and the decisions they make based on cost/profit/legal factors. Machines that fix themselves, planes that fly themselves, vehicles that do the same. Little of this is from complex AI but rather chains of small interconnected rules-based algorithms whose sum of parts appears to be acting intelligently. The only place humans and AI fit into the future of this information, communications, power, service and goods distribution network is the exceptions - when something goes wrong, a human or AI agent will evaluate how to expand the rules to handle the exceptions. an the cycle of refinement will continue all the while continuously automating away every task.

What can this possibly evolve into other than an enormous global distribution grid where just about everything is self-service and everyone is self employed. Those that wish to have more than basic staple goods and services will feed the "machine" whatever it's demanding at the time as there will always be needs and desires to expand and refine it.

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#23 Mind

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Posted 24 June 2007 - 11:12 AM

one thing about Kurzweil's predictions though...


He has been correct...so far.

Everything I read in "Age of Spiritual Machines" has more or less come to pass, and that was written 8 years ago. Next up is full immersion audio/visual virtual reality in 2010. Seems pretty much on schedule.

#24 DJS

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Posted 24 June 2007 - 03:52 PM

I see there as being two separate issues when it comes to Kurzweil; the validity of his ideas and the impact (and potential impact) of his notoriety.

Without question he has name recognition and I'm sure his best sellers have "turned on the switch" for quite a few tech oriented individuals who've been exposed to it. By itself that is a pretty big deal and shouldn't be discounted.

For more marginal cases, such as the relatively mainstream secularist, I worry that the boldness of his message does more harm than good. This goes back to the whole topic of "future shock". I also worry that in the long term the specificity of his claims and predictions (well documented in Kurzweil's case) create vulnerabilities when things don't go as expected.

As far as The "Law" of Accelerating Returns, I can understand the initial attraction for newbie Transhumanists. There have been a few times in my life when I've had what I would consider to be "spiritual experiences", and all of these have involved major insights which altered my interpretation of reality. The thought itself is pleasurable. (I suppose this euphoric effect plays a role in religiosity as well.) Yet my restless ADD mind seems to be wired differently from how most people's minds are wired. I get bored easily and the euphoric effect dissipates. It baffles me when I observe veteran Transhumanists continually refocusing on a concept they've already assimilated.

The TLAR is an worthy idea but it's not something I believe in - at least not yet. I maintain this same noncommittal approach in all matters of prognostication. I would argue that the value of futurism rests not in specific beliefs per se, but in the awareness it fosters about logical possibilities. The more hypotheses you have at your disposal, the more adept you are at recognizing emerging patterns.

Now I understand that Kurzweil provides a great deal of documentation for the TLAR concept, but wouldn't you guys agree that the concept itself is rather straight forward? So wh not tuck the TLAR concept away in our long term memory and move on to other topics?

Overall I view the Kurzweil literature as basic introductory futurism. However it is not something I would recommend to anyone I respected as an intellectual (and felt could grasp the futurist insight). The time lines and unacknowledged assumption (such as there being an adequate understanding of intelligence) smack of hubris. Off the top of my head I can think of at least a half dozen futurists who would serve as better ambassadors for the movement.

#25 Athanasios

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Posted 24 June 2007 - 04:50 PM

I definitely think that the specificity of claims and predictions are a problem for his theory. I can see specific computing power claims at 2020 but what that means is another story. As far as 2030, I think that extrapolating what would happen based off of his trends is a mistake.

The concept is important for those who do not yet understand the nature of Information Technology and our relation to technology. I think it is important for those looking to the future to understand this and where speculation begins.

Many people I know think way too limiting when it comes to the future and disregard Kurtzweil because of his 2030 claims. Others take Kurzweil and speculate way beyond what even he attempts. Limiting is harmful as well as speculation passed off as truth. Kurzweil is a good test of what is reliable vs. what is the deepend. His stuff is a good exercise. Most people either totally disregard him or they go off the deepend. More people need to find a middle ground that is more reliable.

#26 Athanasios

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Posted 27 June 2007 - 01:08 AM

Someone pointed me to this:

Ben Goertzel's blog post that

is motivated by an ongoing argument with Phil Goetz, a local friend who believes that all this talk about "accelerating change" and approaching the Singularity is bullshit -- in part because he doesn't see things advancing all that amazingly exponentially rapidly around him.


http://www.goertzel....subjective.html

Here is an excerpt:

The point I want to make here is: I think it is important to distinguish technological acceleration from subjective acceleration.

This breaks down into a couple sub-points.

First: Already by this point in history, I suggest, advancement in technology has far outpaced the ability of the human brain to figure out new ways to make meaningful use of that technology.

Second: The human brain and body themselves pose limitations regarding how thoroughly we can make use of new technologies, in terms of transforming our subjective experience.

Because of these two points, a very high rate of technological acceleration may not lead to a comparably high rate of subjective acceleration. Which is, I think, the situation we are seeing at present.



#27 dimasok

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Posted 26 August 2007 - 08:27 AM

We have 6 billion of those and we don't utilize them very well. What makes us think we'll utilize or listen to a synthetic version, regardless of their intelligence?

Wouldn't you want another, say, 6 billion of beautiful females, assuming we manage to saturate the entire universe with our intelligence? :)

#28 modelcadet

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Posted 26 August 2007 - 01:01 PM

We have 6 billion of those and we don't utilize them very well. What makes us think we'll utilize or listen to a synthetic version, regardless of their intelligence?


I feel the 6 Billion neural supercomputers actually work quite well already. Things could be better. But we've already seen what the internet has done to eliminate unnecessary redundancy. While there are still externalities and inefficient entitlements the 'economy' is really efficient. Just because things could be better doesn't mean we aren't on the right track. Be patient with humanity. Most of the species is still very stupid (trust me, I know... I work nights in a convenience store).

I have a couple ideas for projects which might increase the computational efficiencies of the metabrain. If you have any, or are otherwise frustrated by the rate of progress in the system, let's just do something. From promoting great people like Aubrey to starting a blog like Michael to investing in a company like Novamente to starting your own company or non-profit (and getting bought out by google!) like youtube, just having internet access gives each of us makes us transhumanist entities evermore capable of positively shaping the world around us.

#29 maestro949

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Posted 26 August 2007 - 04:19 PM

I feel the 6 Billion neural supercomputers actually work quite well already.


[sad] I disagree. Most of them are infected with crippling defects and those that work well are simply propping up the rest.

While there are still externalities and inefficient entitlements the 'economy' is really efficient.


But we need much more than more efficiency as many of these are currently geared towards short-term objectives which as an aggregate may be digging us into a deeper hole. We need to inject the ability for each person to contribute to the effort as part of their daily life.

Just because things could be better doesn't mean we aren't on the right track. Be patient with humanity. Most of the species is still very stupid (trust me, I know... I work nights in a convenience store).


None of us have time to be patient. [tung]

I have a couple ideas for projects which might increase the computational efficiencies of the metabrain. If you have any, or are otherwise frustrated by the rate of progress in the system, let's just do something.


I agree. The question is what? It has to be fairly novel, disruptive and emergent.

The only thing I can think of is building open tools and technology that allow the masses of people to get engaged in the scientific process that drives health care from their home and PC independent of any particular centralized effort. The motivation that would fuel this would be nothing other than the same biological survival instinct that causes people to get out of bed and go to work every day.

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#30 dimasok

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Posted 27 August 2007 - 05:31 AM

The only thing I can think of is building open tools and technology that allow the masses of people to get engaged in the scientific process that drives health care from their home and PC independent of any particular centralized effort

Like the FoldingHome initiative I have as one of the options on the PS3?

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