David Kirkpatrick

February 26, 2009

H+ Magazine spring issue out

Filed under: Business, Media, Politics, Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:54 am

From KurzweilAI.net — H+ spring issue is out and features Vernor Vinge on Singularity 101, nanobots, the economy and more.

H+ Magazine Spring issue published
KurzweilAI.net, Feb. 26, 2009

Singularity 101 with Vernor Vinge, Space Solar, First Steps Toward Post Scarcity, Building Your Perfect Memory, Hacking The Economy, and Nanobots in the Bloodstream are among the articles in the impressive new Spring 2009 issue of the online trendsetting edge-culture magazine H+.

June 6, 2008

Spectrum Singularity special

Filed under: et.al., Media, Technology — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:53 am

IEEE Spectrum Online has a special report on the Singularity.  I haven’t read much of it just yet, but looks pretty cool.

Vernor Vinge pens one article.

Here’s an excerpt:

In that event, I expect the singularity will come as some combination of the following:


The AI Scenario: We create superhuman artificial intelligence (AI) in computers.


The IA Scenario: We enhance human intelligence through human-to-computer interfaces—that is, we achieve intelligence amplification (IA).


The Biomedical Scenario: We directly increase our intelligence by improving the neurological operation of our brains.


The Internet Scenario: Humanity, its networks, computers, and databases become sufficiently effective to be considered a superhuman being.


The Digital Gaia Scenario: The network of embedded microprocessors becomes sufficiently effective to be considered a superhuman being.


The essays in this issue of IEEE Spectrum use similar definitions for the technological singularity but variously rate the notion from likely to totally bogus. I’m going to respond to arguments made in these essays and also mine them for signs of the oncoming singularity that we might track in the future.

March 5, 2008

Synchronicity in action

Filed under: Arts, et.al., Media — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:13 pm

It’s always cool when little bits of reality mesh together in very unexpected ways.

For example I was reading Seth Godin’s marketing blog yesterday and came across this post:

No user servicable parts inside

That’s what it says on countless electronic and mechanical devices. “Don’t touch this,” it says, “you’re way too dumb to open it… you’ll get hurt”The problem, of course, is that pretty soon you start looking at the entire world that way. Whether it’s web design or Google analytics or backing up your hard drive or just talking to the guys in the plant about your new ideas, it’s really easy to see the world as a black box.Here’s a simple secret of success: ignore the sticker.Figure out how to use the tools that the most successful people in your field understand innately.

Then last night as part of an ongoing science fiction binge I started reading Vernor Vinge’s “Rainbow’s End” and got to chapter eight — titled “No User-Serviceable Parts Within.”

On page 90 of the edition I’m holding a major character, Robert Gu, complained about the building components used in his future world and said:

“… because I can’t see in them. Look.” He flipped a rotary motor across the table. “‘No user-serviceable parts within.’ It’s stamped right in the plastic. Everything is a black box. Everything is inscrutable magic.” 

Made me pause a bit late last night before I continued reading. Maybe Godin is reading some Vinge right now as well.

February 16, 2008

Vernor Vinge’s collected stories

Filed under: Arts, Media, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 7:06 pm

Right now I’m reading “The Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge.” He’s the sci-fi writer who pretty much coined the term “the Singularity” (see the wikipedia page here) to refer to a time when machines surpass humans in intelligence.

The concept was picked up and run with by Ray Kurzweil — yep, that Kurzweil — and much more information can be found over in my “Sites to See” links at KurzweilAI.net.

This collection is a great read. The stories range in publication date from 1965 to 2001, although most are late-60s to late-80s. Good stuff if you like speculative fiction.

Here’s an article by Vinge on what if the Singularity doesn’t come pass. It was first presented a year ago at Long Now Foundation Seminars About Long Term Thinking.

(Update: Another link of interest might be this chat between Vinge and Kurzweil on the Singularity)