Singularity: the Rise of Superhuman Intelligence

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Singularity:
The Rise of Superhuman Intelligence
Gregory Young
Strayer University
CIS324
May 14, 2011

Singularity: The Rise of Superhuman Intelligence

Predictions have been made since the early 1960’s that the day would come when humans would intentionally or perhaps inadvertently create a superhuman intelligence. The term singularity was coined to describe this creation of superhuman intelligence. In most regards superhuman intelligence is referring to the technology of creating Artificial Intelligence or the ability to interface the human brain with a computer all with the goal of creating not only smarter intelligence but faster processing capabilities. Behind the theory of creating superhuman intelligence is the idea that the human brain has a limit to its overall capacity. While modern computer chip technology continues to advance with processing speeds and capacity increasing dramatically. This could lead one to surmise that by using Artificial Intelligence to design new Artificial Intelligence, the result would then be an evolution of the design each time the practice was invoked. It would then be at that point time that Singularity would be achieved has the human mind would be incapable of understanding the processes and functions of the Artificial Intelligence. Artificial Intelligence technology although newly developed in recent years, is already widely in use throughout our daily lives. Voice-recognition programs provide the capability to dial stored numbers on a cellular phone, or control your home PC. Computer-controlled machines and robots are deployed widely in the automotive and other manufacturing environments. These advancements perhaps are the beginning of obtaining Singularity. The Origin of the Singularity Concept

Although the term singularity is regularly credited to Vernor Vinge, the concept of a technological Singularity was originally proposed by John von Neumann in 1958, a Hungarian immigrant who held a doctorate in both mathematics and chemistry (Vinge, 1993). According to Vinge, von Neumann applied the term to the normal progress in technological advances similar to those we have seen over the past several decades. Vinge is a science fiction writer as well as a mathematician and computer scientist who teaches at San Diego State University. It is Vinge, who at a 1993 symposium sponsored by NASA entitled Vision-21, put forth the idea that within 30 years from that time, the creation of a super human intelligence would be possible thus leading to the end of humanity as we know it. Vinge’s presentation of his concept centered around four main ideas, based on technological advances in the late 20th century. The first being the idea that the creation of a computer that would be superhumanly intelligent and aware of its own self being. Secondly the ability to converge large computer networks into one entity. Third, the development of a physical interface that would exist between human and machine that could lead to superhuman intelligence. The fourth concept Vinge alludes to, was the ability to improve human intellect through the use of biological science. Vinge’s essay focuses primarily on what he perceives to be the negative results of reaching a singularity. The adverse effects he refers to are centered on what a “typical” human mind would envision. A computer and or machine achieving such a high level of self being and intelligence that within a matter of a very short period of hours would make the determination that it was much better suited to make decisions than humans. Vernor Vinge’s vision of the technological future is comparative to the themes of movies such as 2001: A Space Odyssey or the Terminator. Vinge goes on to discuss possible methods of avoiding reaching Singularity such as; laws and legislation preventing the construction or creation of machines in the likeness of human beings, or the creation of rules through computer programming that would limit the device in some form...
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