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Brad Fitzpatrick

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The Singularity is Near [Nov. 17th, 2005|10:44 pm]
Brad Fitzpatrick

Read this:
The Singularity Is Near : When Humans Transcend Biology
by Ray Kurzweil
Highly recommended.

The future is crazy, and it's right around the corner. I didn't realize how far along we were in half the fields he mentions. Honestly makes me want to go back to school and learn a new field.

[User Picture]From: popcultureicon
2005-11-18 07:03 am (UTC)
is ee that book on the shelves at work every day, adn i keep passing iy with an interested glance.
i'll ahve to check it out now.
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[User Picture]From: perpetualmotion
2005-11-18 07:33 am (UTC)
yaeh ih ear it realliy goo d !
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[User Picture]From: popcultureicon
2005-11-18 07:42 am (UTC)
amazingly, i am employed in a bookstore.
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[User Picture]From: gaal
2005-11-18 07:19 am (UTC)
I keep forgetting, was it he who wrote that short story about the guy who loses commit privs at work and then proceeds to get root on his own body? Or Cory Doctorow? Man, when I get root on mine I'll first start hacking the memory routines, they suck.
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[User Picture]From: brad
2005-11-18 07:24 am (UTC)
Oh, I remember that story! But I too forgot the author. I don't think it was Cory.
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[User Picture]From: jwz
2005-11-18 11:12 am (UTC)
That one's Cory, "0wnz0red".

I saw Kurzweil talk at Long Now, he was fantastic.
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[User Picture]From: brad
2005-11-18 05:14 pm (UTC)
I sat next to you.
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[User Picture]From: jwz
2005-11-18 08:38 pm (UTC)
OMG, that was you?
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[User Picture]From: andrewducker
2005-11-18 08:48 am (UTC)
It was Cory Doctorow - 0wnz0red. You can read it on Salon:

Alternatively, it's in his short story collection, which you can download from his site:
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[User Picture]From: scosol
2005-11-18 07:55 am (UTC)
yeah- kurzweil is a smart guy-
others have pictures that are a little more bleak-
as in "once we create intelligience beyond our own, do we really expect to control it? do the monkeys control us right now?"
well- i stick with kurzweil's vision because it's much more calming...

though- once those nanobots are on every neuron, enabling FULL experience at a whim, is there really any hope for humanity?
my drives are laregly animal-
once they can be satisfied at the flip of a switch, i don't wuite know where to go from there-

i'm not sure if it's in the article you linked, but one of his more interesting observations (to me anyway) has to do with "life in the cosmos"-
as in- assuming that once the singularity is reached, consciousness will expand outward as fast as possible- (light speed presumably)
that means that we really might be more of a unique phenonmenon that we think- and the seti project is utterly hopeless-
because unless another civilization out there somehow evolved at *exactly* the same time we did, they are either *way* behind and are at best neanderthals, or are *way* ahead, and are already here and have been here for a long long time...
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[User Picture]From: loganb
2005-11-19 12:02 am (UTC)
A little bit of EE knowledge, communication theory, and economics safely accounts for the lack of signals from ET. For thought:

-Would a morse code operator in 1910 have any idea how to interpret a modern spread spectrum communique? Virtually all advances in comm. theory have made transmission signals progressively more indistinguishable from noise (encryption, compression, CW -> AM -> FM -> DSSS -> xMax).

-Signal power falls with the square of distance. Double the distance, quarter the power. If you're at the other end of the galaxy, you're talking millions of gigawatts to get a signal out there. Where are you going to get that kind power plant?

-And even if you do have that kind of power generation capacity, which has a higher rate of return: reradiating it into space or spending to improve your quality of life?

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[User Picture]From: scosol
2005-11-19 03:20 am (UTC)
he means in a probability sense-

if it really only takes us on the order of 200 years to go from rudimentary signal generation to "consciousness expanding outward at lightspeed", the chances of some other lifeforms (already a rare event) co-existing at about the same state of advancement as us, in that same 200-year timeslice on the *billions*-of-years universal timescale, is unfortunately mind-numbingly small.

it's a far greater possibility that there are just the rudimentary seeds of life elsewhere, and many great civilizations that have come and gone in the past-
beyond that even, if lightspeed is truly the fastest that anything can travel through the universe (which i strongly suspect and home that it isn't), then even if a long-lived universal lifeform (like kurzweil predicts) did happen to exist right now, depending on where they are in the universe, they might not even be able to reach us in a universal-timescale.
(this depends on your views about whether the universe is expanding/speeding up/slowing etc)

and on that EE side- isn't signal power largely irrelevant? and instead, only the SNR?
i would wager there are some very non-noisy spots in the universe :)
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From: evan
2005-11-18 08:19 am (UTC)
Oh, when you asked me before, I forgot the obvious one: accelerando. It's available online at that site. At least read the first chapter -- it's fantastic.
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From: evan
2005-11-18 08:24 am (UTC)
Now that I read the beginning again, the main character sorta reminds me of you.
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[User Picture]From: iamom
2005-11-18 01:54 pm (UTC)
Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper recently published this interesting review of Kurzweil's book. Here's an excerpt:
The problem is that technological fundamentalists have an uneven track record when it comes to making predictions about the impact of technology on our lives. We were promised a paperless office, but instead we're buried in stacks of computer printouts. We were promised a leisure society with a shorter work week, but instead we're experiencing high levels of stress in the workplace, leading to mental and physical illness. And we were promised that e-mail would be an easy and efficient way to communicate with people we know, but instead we're bombarded with porn and Viagra ads from strangers. Kurzweil's bold predictions must be viewed in light of this track record.
I'm still interested in reading the book anyway, though. Perhaps even more so because as a musician, I've always known Ray Kurzweil only as the inventor of a series of excellent music synthesizers, and not as a technologue of such visionary proportions. He has also been interviewed a few times in a far-reaching spiritual magazine called What Is Enlightenment? (example here), whose founder Andrew Cohen is enthralled by Kurzweil's visions of human immortality.

On a selfish note, however, I sure hope that you don't take off and learn a new field, successful though I know you'd be at anything you'd undertake. I think you add too much value to the javascript and Perl world to lose you to something else!
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[User Picture]From: crasch
2005-11-18 02:17 pm (UTC)
Check out the Methusaleh Mouse prize. You might also be interested in the Fable of the Dragon Tyrant.
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From: (Anonymous)
2005-11-24 08:13 pm (UTC)


Hi I'm from Wales and I randomly typed in cloud.com to see what came up and your site did! I think it's so cool that you have your own site to ramble on! I ramble a lot too but generally only in the school newletter...
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