The Technological Singularity

The Technological Singularity The idea that human history is approaching a singularity that ordinary humans will someday be overtaken by artificially intelligent machines or cognitively enhanced biological intelligence or both ha

  • Title: The Technological Singularity
  • Author: Murray Shanahan
  • ISBN: 9780262527804
  • Page: 466
  • Format: Paperback
  • The idea that human history is approaching a singularity that ordinary humans will someday be overtaken by artificially intelligent machines or cognitively enhanced biological intelligence, or both has moved from the realm of science fiction to serious debate Some singularity theorists predict that if the field of artificial intelligence AI continues to developThe idea that human history is approaching a singularity that ordinary humans will someday be overtaken by artificially intelligent machines or cognitively enhanced biological intelligence, or both has moved from the realm of science fiction to serious debate Some singularity theorists predict that if the field of artificial intelligence AI continues to develop at its current dizzying rate, the singularity could come about in the middle of the present century Murray Shanahan offers an introduction to the idea of the singularity and considers the ramifications of such a potentially seismic event Shanahan s aim is not to make predictions but rather to investigate a range of scenarios Whether we believe that singularity is near or far, likely or impossible, apocalypse or utopia, the very idea raises crucial philosophical and pragmatic questions, forcing us to think seriously about what we want as a species Shanahan describes technological advances in AI, both biologically inspired and engineered from scratch Once human level AI theoretically possible, but difficult to accomplish has been achieved, he explains, the transition to superintelligent AI could be very rapid Shanahan considers what the existence of superintelligent machines could mean for such matters as personhood, responsibility, rights, and identity Some superhuman AI agents might be created to benefit humankind some might go rogue Is Siri the template, or HAL The singularity presents both an existential threat to humanity and an existential opportunity for humanity to transcend its limitations Shanahan makes it clear that we need to imagine both possibilities if we want to bring about the better outcome.

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    1 thought on “The Technological Singularity”

    1. It seems odd to me that Shanahan says that science fiction doesn’t examine the issues of the singularity deeply, and yet I feel that several spec-fic books have done so much more than this non-fiction book. He does as much work in imagining, glancing at the possibilities for general AI and what they might mean, and though he tries to discuss them intellectually, I feel that other authors writing fiction have made me engage much more with the issues.It’s informative enough, but I found it rel [...]

    2. This is a very well organized book, with enough breadth for an introductory compilation of concepts. But most importantly, it's an accessible must read. The last part of the book is too loose, suggesting more questions than answers, but still important and relevant questions.

    3. 3.5. Utterly fascinating. Some of the science totally went over my head in the beginning though, not gonna lie.

    4. Very clearly, though not always engagingly, presented. The first 1/3 or so seems written with your average fifth-grader in mind, but things improve from there. A solid introduction to the topic nonetheless and good prep for more intensive, speculative works on AI and cog sci generally.

    5. Yet another generic book that fails to recognize empathy does have a design that is as within the scope of neureconomics and the survival value of an expanded self therein as does supposed "selfishness." Yet anther book perpetuating the mere convention/false dichotomy of AI having nothing to do with the "programmer" other than the most rudimentary likeness given greater processing speed (as if this wouldn't tell us about ourselves at this speed) behaving just like their so heavily judged compute [...]

    6. Before I read this book, I had only read news articles about this topic. The book starts with basic concepts of how such a thing as superhuman AI can happen and then goes on with discussing the engineering details and finishes off with the concepts of consciousness, responsibility, ownership, identity. Since I'm not a big fan of science fiction books (something that might change soon), this book didn't go too far in that direction - it tries to keep it realistic by starting off with the current [...]

    7. I am quite enthusiastic about the concept of singularity, and so far whatever book, article, video or podcast on the topic I got my hands on covered the optimistic visions of it. This book is a fantastic introduction to the darker side of AI, raising a ton of difficult questions. I am actually pretty surprised I finally found some convincing arguments on the dangers of AI and complex moral dilemmas we will have to face at some point. Recommended.

    8. Essential Transhumanist Reading HereAlthough a short book it discusses extremely important points, these points must be regarded with highest caution as we inch closer to transhumanist transcendence.

    9. Too verbose for the amount of useful information. Interesting concepts about transhumanism and morality of AI, but a 50 page book crammed into 200.

    10. A good intro into the current questions around AI, and a good starting point for further questions and research.

    11. Leaves the reader with one of the best cautionary final images in the history of the written word: "After that, everything is paperclipsl is lost."

    12. I wish I could be a demon! No, not that of a kind (no exorcist is needed), but the Laplacian one! Just for a day, or just to take a view! Now, back to realityWe are significance junkies! Our dream to survive death, to live forever is deeply inherited, coded in our genetic blueprint. How far we are ready to go? Take an overview over the factual historical records! Human race is the fiercest on the planet, and to sustain life, to survive we, humans, will commit anything. Some beg for afterlife, so [...]

    13. The most momentous single event in human historyIn this readable, accessible and informative book, Shanahan argues convincingly that creating a superhuman-level artificial general intelligence is perfectly possible if unlikely. The creation of a superintelligent machine would be perhaps the most momentous single event in human history with the potential to bring about the extinction of humankind or usher in an age of unprecedented sustained quality of life for everyone and unimaginable scientifi [...]

    14. Shanahan's book is more of birds eye view on the upcoming AI wave and yet quite informative . I like this fact instead of the whole prediction game as of when AI will become self aware aka " Ray Kurzweil futurism " ; we rather tackle the problem at a philosophical level .The book does get slightly technical around full brain simulation AI in the middle but overall is well suited for the layman.Overall the subject is very pertinent given that we are already seen the first disruptive wave of AI in [...]

    15. The technological singularity is a narrative that has arisen from the observation that the progress of technology has a tendency to accelerate. Assuming that progress in artificial intelligence continues, at some point machine intelligence will surpass human intelligence. Since the publisher is MIT, about nine-tenths of the book explores how artificial intelligence can achieve human-like or superhuman intelligence from a technological perspective. It covers in detail two basic approaches – mac [...]

    16. A surprisingly fast read and mind-bending concepts. That artificial general intelligence as smart as a a human could be reached within the next few hundred years is not outlandish. This book doesn't predict when this might happen, but just explores some of the (potential) realistic consequences human-level or superhuman-level artificial intelligence (AI) would have on the world. Interesting things to think about such as: if AIs are conscious, would they suffer?--if so they would have to have "hu [...]

    17. Overall a good read about the concept of technological singularity. However, the opening parts of the book focus far too heavily on the technological limitations that currently face us before moving onto the far more interesting points about the implications of the technology.I also feel the closing arguments lack nuance, and focus far too single-mindedly on a reward function for an AI. Surely if we can program something super intelligent that can learn, this intelligence itself will subvert the [...]

    18. Before reading The Technological Singularity by Shanahan, I was already quite familiar with the concept of the technological singularity and its potential ramifications. I can't imagine why this fact would bias my opinion of the book, but it's the only reason I can conceive of for why it has been so highly rated by [most] other people. At least 95% of the book is pure conjecture. No big surprise there, considering what the book is about. But nevertheless, nearly all of this conjecture was relate [...]

    19. A clearly written, well-organized introductory textbook on AI and all that it is related to. Instead of discussing the possibility of achieving superhuman intelligence, Shanahan has chosen to provide the readers with a vision of pursuing that "singularity" with solid theoretical basis. He has demonstrated the possible paths of reaching a technological singularity, including but not limited to: artificial intelligence and neurotechnology. The examinations were thorough and reasonable and the lang [...]

    20. Super interesting philosophical ideas about artificial intelligence. I liked that the middle section was technical and went into enough detail to give me an understanding of the current technological progress and the different projections of when we could achieve more advanced stages of machines. I realise that learning about the thought process behind choosing how to implement an AI led me to analyse my own reward functions and abilities. The book is, I think, a good intro to the field of artif [...]

    21. We are already surrounded by pretty stupid computers. Don't write it too loud, though. They are listening What if we manage to create human level AI? Then the computers may take us, ordinary humans, out of the development loop creating a singularity; WE are then OBSOLETE. This book raise a bunch of philosophical questions standing on the hypothesis of feasible superintelligent AI + cybernetics developments. Hey, we can use such machines to colonize the galaxy!

    22. Some interesting ideas but far too simplistic in someaspects. The whole premise of the 'paperclip' scenario would mean that the optimisation problem is non-bounded which even with a very simple formulation would be resolved. Also, the book tries so hard not to 'anthropomorphise' the question of AI yet some of its explanations seem to be directly from a bad Hollywood flick. Nevertheless it does contain some interesting ideas and is well worth a read.

    23. Written just as an overview for the "interested layman" should be written. Clear explanation of terms, plentiful references to earlier topics as they pertain to the current discussion, no condescendingly infantile analogies for difficult subjects. All in all, a model of what books in this series should be. Also, rather scary.

    24. I liked this book even though I was familiar with the topic. I would recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about the singularity. I would have appreciated a higher level of detail though and more counter-arguments (which the author admits to leaving out), speculations or short-story examples.

    25. His view of the evolution of AI is more compelling that Kurzweil's in many ways. Poses some interesting scenarios on hyper-complex "societies" or systems of AIs. It would be interesting to see how an "Ethics AI" could influence politics for example.

    26. I see a trendI see a trend in the books that I am reading this year. AI aside, the merging of technology and everyday life is inevitable. It is up to human kind to claim ownership over the biologics of life and enforce the ethical dilemmas.

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