Monday, April 11, 2011

The Singularity of Ray Kurzweil - Rachel's Article

I decided to go with the video rather than the book.

In this video Ray Kurzwiel, a well-known futurist who made many accurate predictions in the past, discusses his belief that by 2045, humans will become one with machines. He calls this Singularity. He shows off a few graphs, and explains that this sort of change would take place slowly. He discusses virtual reality, and how the singularity wouldn't necessarily make us robots, but rather enhanced by computers and technology. Human longevity is likely to be increased according to his statistics. He believes it's important to stay healthy until people have discovered ways to keep humans alive for a much longer time. He doesn't think the current recession in the economy will effect the rate of development of technology. 

Well, they make it very obvious throughout the video that Kurzweil is pretty qualified to make these predictions by showing off his awards and accomplishments. I'm not regarding this with sarcasm--it's just an observation. I understand what he's getting at, though it's hard to believe something that isn't. People are far more programed to engage life as it happens rather than a future that sounds so vastly different and far ahead. I expected cars to be flying by now. People were predicting this sort of thing since the seventies. But how qualified were they? And how could we expect to discover something without fully understanding the problems we may encounter? I always thought it was interesting that scientists have broken down the human being into the elements it's composed of and have about a fraction of a percent that's still unaccounted for. Without it, you can't make a person. But it's still something to think about. 

I'll answer some questions now.

1. That'd be nice, but I'd like to be able to change my answer given certain circumstances. I don't want to get old. I don't want to be wrinkly, and wracked with pain and disease. I'd rather die unexpectedly, with minimal suffering. 

2. Eh...maybe. I don't think it'll be actual consciousness, but I'm sure a computer with simulated consciousness might exist around the time Kurzweil suggested. I believe the difference between humans and machines that will always be maintained is the chaotic nature of the human mind. Whereas computers always arrive to the most logical conclusion, humans do not. Even if a computer is created to randomize once in a while, it's all in the programing. It's always following orders. 

3. I think his predictions are valid, but that doesn't mean I believe him. I'll think about it, and be more aware of the changes, but I won't take his predictions too seriously.

4. Yeah. I think it's important. I'd love to see how far technology goes.

5. Yeah. It's a part of my world, so I even include that communication in my art. Hell, I use technology to make my art all the time.

6. Of course. You're making machines all the time now, and you look up these specs for these things on the computer, I'd bet. I'm not sure if you're necessarily helping the technology of the now become the technology of tomorrow, but if you continue down this route you might bring more technology and art together in the future. The same sort of thing happened with video art. 

7. I think it's important to think of the future, and predictions help to fuel the creative imagination of some. I'm not sure if artwork based on this would effect the outcome of the future. It might enlighten just the right people, if they ever get around to seeing it.

8. It is. I like to see what kind of proof people have to back up their claims and predictions of the future, and the futures they predict often keep my attention. But I like thinking of the unlikely far more than what I might find to be more likely.

In my work, I reflect on the past more than I reflect on the future, despite my thesis being what it is. I'm not predicting when the apocalypse will happen, or what exactly will happen. I'm fantasizing. I've always been that type of person. I remember all the things I like, love, and experienced and I imagine different scenarios of theatrical and personal interest to keep myself entertained. It's like I'm creating television shows in my head, and I'm the main character. It comes from my heavy exposure from movies, television, and music videos. Ever seen the video for Black Hole Sun by Soundgarden? It still haunts my memories. :c 

In a good way.

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