[NetBehaviour] Kelly to Kurzweil: You're a total Thinkist.
marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Tue Oct 7 11:05:32 CEST 2008
Kelly to Kurzweil: You're a total Thinkist.
You may have heard of Ray Kurzweil, the inventor and futurist. It's fair
to say he's got a different approach on life: he thinks the singularity
- a theoretical moment of supreme technological advance, precipitated by
artificial intelligence - is set to arrive in 2045. That's why the
60-year-old New Yorker pops up to 210 pills a day in an attempt to
extend his lifespan until the moment when the singularity arrives and
suddenly cures cancer, makes us live forever and works out where the TV
Kevin Kelly, the Wired editor at large, says he admires Kurzweil but
makes a well-argued rebuttal to what he calls "thinkism". This is, Kelly
says, where we believe the main thing we lack in solving problems is not
being able to think enough. So, if we put enough cycles in we can find
the answer to anything: a sufficiently advanced AI would have more think
cycles than all of humanity combined, therefore any problem you can
imagine would be solved in a jiffy.
The problem? Sometimes thinking isn't enough. Getting there might
require data that had been previously unable to get, or the building of
complex tools - machines like the Large Hadron Collider. And that takes
a lot of time and effort. Even if the singularity arrives, it won't
solve everything instantaneously because we've still got to build the
tools to help give us the answers.
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