Saturday, June 12, 2010

How Viable is Technological Singularity?

Guest post by Anna Miller.

Now I don’t claim to be smarter than Ray Kurzweil, and I do realize that I’m throwing down some sort of a gauntlet by debating the viability of technological singularity on a blog that promotes synthetic life and progress in this field. But I still raise the question – how viable is technological singularity, the concept that technology will progress rapidly over the next few years, and that because human beings are incapable of pushing their brains and intelligence beyond a certain limit, machines will start to build machines that are more capable than them, and this recursive cycle will lead to a new race of super-intelligent machines.

Believe it or not, the first time I heard of this concept from a friend, I immediately thought, “Terminator”. Didn’t they make a sci-fi movie with this idea more than a decade or so ago? And do they not see the doom that technological singularity spells for the human race? If machines became more intelligent than the human race, how would we survive? And what kind of a world would Earth become if it was populated with machines that had no human emotions whatsoever?

No matter how advanced technology becomes, and no matter how intelligent machines become, it is going to be impossible to recreate the human brain. This is one organ that is beyond comprehension, let alone duplication or improvement. It boggles the mind to think of all that the human brain can do, and if Ray Kurzweil or anyone else think that they can make a machine do much more than the human brain can, well, they’re dead wrong.

Sure, a machine can be programmed to work for eternity without breaking down from fatigue; it can be taught to make decisions based on an accumulation of facts; and it can even be created to resemble a real flesh-and-blood human being. But then, can a machine make decisions that are based on emotion and not reason? Can it think intuitively and using a humane approach as needed during most crises? Or can it replicate human touch to generate comfort, pleasure and warmth?

Thanks, but no thanks; even if technological singularity was viable even 100 years from now, I would still prefer that the world we leave behind for our children not comprise monstrosities that we call technological advancement!
This guest post is contributed by Anna Miller, who writes on the topic of online degree. She welcomes your comments at her email id:

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