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Biting Commentary about Infinity, and Beyond!

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A Mundane Singularity

Here's a nice compendium of what we could achieve, and not that far off, without molecular manufacturing, AI and fusion.

The haters of humanity will hate it, of course.


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Sam Dinkin wrote:

Scarcity won't be abolished. Here's most of a proof: I want it all.

I like diamond construction, but so far diamonds continue to get more expensive and synthetic gem stones make up only 1% of the market.

Diamonds aren't so easy to work with needing diamonds and lasers to cut the diamonds. I like graphene which is a single sheet of graphite. That can be macroscopic in two dimensions which might make it sufficient to achieve the kind of strength per gram that we can't quite do yet with nano-tubes. It might also be manufacturable. Graphite's pretty brittle and fragile, but another material starting from graphene could make use of the carbon-nanotube-like carbon bonds to achieve a very high strength-to-weight ratio.

Robert wrote:

Scarcity won't be abolished. Here's most of a proof: I want it all.

Ha! If you are not just being witty, here's a serious question: are you saying you want my stuff, no mater how much identical stuff you already have, so you can have all the stuff? Or are just saying that you'll always want more stuff, but you don't care about the identical stuff that I own?

Jeff Mauldin wrote:

Not too long ago a read a short story where the plot driving idea was that easy copying of absolutely everything had become so ubiquitous that something unique (even a child's painting) could become something of great value and in need of great defense. If I recall the plot, the protagonist, copying himself several times over, surreptitiously constructed a copying machine around a large mansion containing a few unique artifacts, and proceeded to attempt to duplicate the entire mansion and contents, thus destroying the uniqueness value of the contents...

Jeff Mauldin wrote:

I find this post very interesting. I followed the links on a lot of the stuff listed in the compendium, and while some of it seems pretty optimistic (especially time-frame wise), a lot of it looks pretty plausible in the long term.

Personally I'm skeptical about us developing general artificial intelligence equal or greater to our own, at least in the next several dozen years, so my own take is that technology will continue to move forward at a fast pace, but not at a pace faster than we can comprehend because we'll have to be the ones to keep pushing it forward. It seems to me that there are still some pretty impressive things we can do (fight aging, reduce or eliminate scarity, other things talked about in this artical) without managing to create artificial intelligences that are smarter than we are.

(General artificial intelligence is a foggy idea, of course, but I'm thinking here of artificial intelligence which could do it's own research and development of technology and could improve itself or create even more improved artificial intelligence...)

Josh Reiter wrote:

Many would argue that what Deep Blue accomplished, while impressive, wasn't really any form of A.I. It was still acting within the realm of programmed syntax. Deep Blue was able to make millions of probability calculations about the odds of a lesser chess pieces against supposedly superior chess pieces. Human players would normally not get themselves into certain situations like where a pair of bishops would face of against some kind of queen combo. Deep blue would get into these situations just blindly following what were programmed to be acceptable levels of risk based upon these brute force calculations.

A.I. will always face the problem of the Chinese-Room argument. Namely, will a mechanical object executing syntax instructions which rely upon a stored compendium of information ever be able to have true human consciousness.

Also, there is a serious philosophical argument against the idea of the self and whether or not you would still be yourself if you were copied into another body. Even if that body was an exact duplicate copy of your original form. Wouldn't it be likely that the journey from the old to the new form somehow change you. If your idea of the self is somehow related in a materialistic sense where the identity of the mind relates to the physical construction of the brain then it would be impossible to be the same person who undergoes such a transformation. The problem of identity through change is best explained through story of the "Ship of Theseus" or Theseus' paradox. Would an object who had all their components replace fundamentally be the same object?

Sam Dinkin wrote:

"are you saying you want my stuff, no mater how much identical stuff you already have, so you can have all the stuff? Or are just saying that you'll always want more stuff, but you don't care about the identical stuff that I own?"

I'm saying I'd like to own everything (it's a standard assumption in economics that there's always something more to want) so I could use the wealth to buy Lunar settlement technology and implementation; that is, I'd sell your stuff back to you to get you to do some work even if I didn't want your stuff to use personally. If the Moon's already settled, then I suppose I'd want to keep tackling new heavenly bodies.

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This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on June 21, 2008 6:35 PM.

Deep Misanthropy was the previous entry in this blog.

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