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Implications of Kurzweils Singularity on Buddhism - Page 2 - Dhamma Wheel

Implications of Kurzweils Singularity on Buddhism

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
santa100
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Re: Implications of Kurzweils Singularity on Buddhism

Postby santa100 » Tue Aug 23, 2011 10:38 pm

Who knows..maybe in 40 years, geneticists will be able to trace/map gene sequences that responsible for greed, anger, and ignorance and remove or block them out or something. Gandhi, Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama, etc.. won't have to be born, but can be made. But then, there's always the risk of some mad scientist, who will sneak into the lab at night, and secretly mass-produce Hitler's, Pol Pot's, Stalin's, etc...

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Dan74
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Re: Implications of Kurzweils Singularity on Buddhism

Postby Dan74 » Tue Aug 23, 2011 11:27 pm

_/|\_

chownah
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Re: Implications of Kurzweils Singularity on Buddhism

Postby chownah » Wed Aug 24, 2011 2:58 am

Where is the middle ground? On the one hand if the trend continues computers will be a thousand times more powerful and as small as a blood cell.........on the other hand present technology seems to be scraping the ceiling.

Consider....if trends continue for 1000 years then computers will be a bazillion squared times more powerful and smaller than the smallest known elementary particle....doesn't seem plausible....I'm not trying to deny the importance of the explosive increase in technological ability....I think the idea to take from this is that this increase will continue at some accellerated pace for quite some time to come and since it has already revolutionized the world (note..."world" here is the mundane "world" not the Buddha's "world") in a short time it should be considered that it is highly likely to almost certain that it will do it again in the near future and perhaps more than once.

In case some don't see how revolutionary have been the changes so far consider....when I was a young boy there was a comic strip called "Dick Tracy". The hero (named Dick Tracy) was a cutting edge police detective who had a "wrist radio" he could use to communicate with his police co-workers....this is circa 1950 to 1960 (not sure when the wrist radio first appeared but about this time I think)....some people did not like to read this comic because it was just too implausible that such an obviously impossible device could exist....absolutely impossible to the extent that it was not even worth considering as a fantasy for the future....could not be done....end of dicsussion. Now, just 60 odd years later, within the lifetime of those who scoffed at such nonsense...we have phones as small as the wrist radio which not only allow two way audio communication but also can deliver the bulk of knowledge of the world and current updates as to what is happening just about anywhere in the world. Where are those scoffers now?...they are everywhere and they are poo-pooing the notion that the world will be revolutionized by the advances in technology in the next few decades.

Maybe I have strayed from answering my question for where is the middle ground?....I think not....if by middle ground it is meant what is reasonable then I think that what I have presented is indeed the middle ground....I think that if one looks at what has happened in the past and educates one's self as to what degree of advancement is possible for the future based on our present understandings of science and what is fairly well known to be possible (ignoring the scenerio of computers advanceing for more than maybe 10 or 20 years which is reasoable by most standards) AND the almost certainly that new applications will be developed as new possibilities become apparant (I think the "new apps" angle is the most important) then it is entirely reasonable to accept that further technological revolution is inevitable.
chownah

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Dan74
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Re: Implications of Kurzweils Singularity on Buddhism

Postby Dan74 » Wed Aug 24, 2011 3:16 am

_/|\_

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mpcahn
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Re: Implications of Kurzweils Singularity on Buddhism

Postby mpcahn » Fri Sep 02, 2011 5:04 am

is the mind us? Is it ours? Slash on down! Whatever is going to be destroyed, let it be destroyed. We feel no regrets. We want only the truth. (Ajahn Maha Boowa)

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Kim OHara
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Re: Implications of Kurzweils Singularity on Buddhism

Postby Kim OHara » Fri Sep 02, 2011 5:41 am

I have been reading quite a lot of science fiction for quite a long time - 40+ years (gulp) - and the constant error in its futurology has been that it is has underestimated the speed of technological progress (often by factors of 10 or 100 times) and overestimated changes in social norms. Given that many of these writers came from hard-science backgrounds and nearly all of them spent a long time trying to make viable predictions, that suggests that technology will in fact continue to roar ahead faster than we expect. (Also, sadly, that we aren't likely to get much better at caring for each other or our world.)
Where does that leave the Singularity? More feasible rather than less - and maybe more of a problem than an opportunity.
:thinking:
Kim

chownah
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Re: Implications of Kurzweils Singularity on Buddhism

Postby chownah » Fri Sep 02, 2011 7:36 am


chownah
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Re: Implications of Kurzweils Singularity on Buddhism

Postby chownah » Fri Sep 02, 2011 1:15 pm

Genetic engineering does not seem to be scraping any ceilings nor does it seem like it will anytime soon.

What about meat grown on racks instead of animals....it will eliminate alot of posting in the great vegetarian debate thread.

chownah

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mpcahn
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Re: Implications of Kurzweils Singularity on Buddhism

Postby mpcahn » Sun Sep 04, 2011 4:32 am

Just found this:
Has fancy graphs, Kurzweil has been accurately predicting the future for decades.



Sorry bout taking your stuff out of context by the way, but the predictions posited in Kurzweils books are well researched and he has a good track record.
is the mind us? Is it ours? Slash on down! Whatever is going to be destroyed, let it be destroyed. We feel no regrets. We want only the truth. (Ajahn Maha Boowa)

chownah
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Re: Implications of Kurzweils Singularity on Buddhism

Postby chownah » Sun Sep 04, 2011 5:47 am


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Pondera
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Re: Implications of Kurzweils Singularity on Buddhism

Postby Pondera » Sun Sep 04, 2011 6:12 am

I haven't listened to the lecture, but I'm guessing that this "rupture" in the fabric of human existence will not actually occur as the rate at which we extinguish our own chances for survival, with reference to pollution, etcetera, etcetera, seems to share some sort of functional relationship with all advances in technology, as well. So if we evolve technologically at a rate of 20,000 "what-have-you's" per decade, we also (in some functional linear or non-linear way) destroy the livability of the world and all of our ever evaporating chances of bringing it back to a state of sustainability.

Starting from the industrial revolution, that key factor in humans; which is laziness -has led to the subtle and unattainable rise of the lower class towards a more and more consumptive life style in the name of "liberty and freedom for all" -based upon our actual aversion to having anything to do with anything requiring effort.

Industrial machines, at least, reformed slave labor (in some places) and, initially (as far as I'm concerned), had some great benefits to the world at large, but from a larger standpoint this whole "rise of the machine" has ultimately led the world into a false and completely unsustainable view of sorts that we acquire something more, or better, with every technological advance. The opposite is true. With every technological advance we become even more useless to our selves than we already are; our relationship with what it actually takes to survive on a fundamental level is distanced; we spend even less time doing the things we should be doing, and even more time procrastinating in the face of inevitable self annihilation.

We will wipe our selves out before technology surpasses human intelligence. And even if such machinesbecome better equipped than we are to make their own decisions, they had better also at the same time be prepared to find their form of sustenance (which is, obviously, electricity), or deal with their personal illnesses (which are glitches, circuit failures, and "I obviously don't know anything about computer hardware" problems, for example).

We measure intelligence by how capable we are with science, how good our jobs are, and other standards that are simply just artifacts of being human; like the type of books one reads, or - I don't know; what really goes for "intelligence" these days. I can't say. I'm quite happy not listening to any thoughts in my head all day long. It's nice. I prefer the silence in my head to thinking. But real intelligence would be exactly what Buddhism talks about. If we were really intelligent we'd recognize exactly how our impulses direct our thoughts and our wants, and how our wants direct our actions; and finally how our actions affect our environment. We'd abolish the automobile right away, we'd do this and that and this and that.

Anyhow. My question is how does one even compare the biology of a human -in all its complexity, to the capacities of a technology that is comprised mainly of copper and silicon? I think the problem with making an assertion about the intelligence of technology surpassing that of humans is assuming that we have any intelligence at all to begin with. If we did, we might ask why we're becoming concerned over a silicon chipboard surpassing our abilities to win at games of chess, or certain sophisticated diatribes involving probability calculations -if you know what I mean.

If the human brain makes decisions based on the probability of this being greater than the probability of that -and this is by definition the nuance that makes us intelligence, then computer's are going to surpass us. But if I'm hungry enough I'll eat banana peals. I don't care. Anyhow. Going to stop right there. I'm ranting.

-Pondera (I have a point though) [email protected]!

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Kim OHara
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Re: Implications of Kurzweils Singularity on Buddhism

Postby Kim OHara » Sun Sep 04, 2011 6:24 am

A couple of other people posted while I was watching the video and writing this response to it but I have taken a different approach from them so I'll post it anyway with just this note: I'm responding to Kurzweil, not to anyone else.
I watched the talk and enjoyed it but was thinking, all the way through, about the collision of real people and real (and soon-to-be-real) technology. You see, the rate of change of technology already exceeds the rate of change of most people's habits, expectations, predilections.
That was brought home to me quite strongly in the course of a recent work project in which I had to ask someone in *every* household in a section of my suburb to complete a survey - either online or on paper. Just under one third of respondents chose to do it online. Most of the others *could* not do it online, rather than preferred not to. They 'did not have a computer' and/or 'did not know how to use one of those things' and the great majority of them were in the over-60 age group (most of the others were educationally disadvantaged in some way and mostly very poor). What happens to that group of people when the next few generations of technology arrive? Quite simply, they will be left further and further out of the loop, more and more baffled by the technology that rules everyday life, less able to participate meaningfully in mainstream society.
On a more personal level, I am very comfortable with computers and the internet but there are technologies which have been around for five years or more which leave me cold and which I therefore have not taken the time to understand: Wii (even the whole X-box etc category), Facebook, Twitter, Chat-rooms ... they weren't around when I was growing my social skills or was learning new games from my friends and I will probably never learn much about any of them. To a certain extent, that cuts me off from younger people. :shrug:
Fast-forward ten years: the current non-computer users will mostly still be with us, and I expect to be still around. Will they, or I, have moved forward as fast as the technology? I can't believe it. I can't even believe it of the current 40-year-olds. At 50 they will still be wanting Facebook and X-box and their teen kids will be trying to talk them into VR experiences (Be a dolphin for an hour!). By the time they are 80 they will be so far behind the technology curve they will be like Stone Age tribespeople in modern New York. Keeping society together is just going to get harder.

:namaste:
Kim

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cooran
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Re: Implications of Kurzweils Singularity on Buddhism

Postby cooran » Sun Sep 04, 2011 6:57 am

---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Kim OHara
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Re: Implications of Kurzweils Singularity on Buddhism

Postby Kim OHara » Sun Sep 04, 2011 7:09 am


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cooran
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Re: Implications of Kurzweils Singularity on Buddhism

Postby cooran » Sun Sep 04, 2011 7:51 am

Thanks Kim.

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

chownah
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Re: Implications of Kurzweils Singularity on Buddhism

Postby chownah » Mon Sep 05, 2011 3:11 am



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