Thursday/ the singularity is NOT near

83417341 smThe New York Times noted in an article ‘When Is the Singularity? Probably Not in Your Lifetime’ that humans won’t be obsolete for a long time, if ever.

The concept of a ‘singularity’ was posited in 1993 by Vernor Vinge, a computer scientist and science fiction writer, who said that accelerating technological change would inevitably lead to machine intelligence that would match and then surpass human intelligence.

Well, there has been a long history of over-promising on what technology can do, and what is really delivered. (My internet access at home was completely flaky and unreliable on Wednesday, for example).   There are significant barriers ahead as far as creating ever-more powerful computer chips (the circuits are now down to a few atoms wide), and we still don’t understand well enough how the human brain works, so that computer learning programs can be modeled on the brain.  And hey, check out this 1958 write-up in the NYT about a thinking machine called the Perceptron, developed by the US Navy.

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