RE: 2002 Achievements (re: Singularity Institute - update)

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Thu May 01 2003 - 09:11:54 MDT


Just to clarify: the recent work on Novamente has yielded measurable
practical achievements, as well as progress toward a grander goal. For
instance, the probabilistic inference capability of the system has
progressed a lot. Now our software can read in hundreds of thousands of
items of knowledge from biology (or other) databases, and derive useful,
interesting, potentially important conclusions about them en masse. This is
a level of inferential data integration that has not been seen before in any
software system. It's a step toward the Singularity -- but, taken in
itself, it's just one among many many small steps. Hopefully what
differentiates Novamente from many other tech projects is that the series of
small steps toward the Singularity that its development embodies, is
intended to be along a path that will eventually lead to a *big leap* to the
finish line (which is really a starting line, but whatever ;)

Increases in hardware technology are easy to talk about because they're so
clearly quantifiable. But advances in AI, software, biomed, etc. are coming
along just as surely.

To take another example of advance toward the Singularity that few know
about, my friend & former colleague Barak Pearlmutter has pushed ahead with
using signal separation technology to study MEG signals from the human
brain. See . Year by year, it becomes possible
to understand more and more about brain activity from analyzing MEG, along
with many other techniques. Steady, real, quantifiable progress -- and
when it gets far enough, we'll be able to really study the dynamics of
thoughts in brains (not just from MEG, but from a combo of brain imaging
technologies) ... and this will have all sorts of dramatic Singularity-ward

But of course, examples of advances in Singularity-related tech certainly
don't help prove to skeptics that a Singularity will exist. Any more than
concrete measurable successes of Novamente's inference component help
demonstrate to skeptics that Novamente will one day be a true AI.

-- Ben G

> -----Original Message-----
> From: []On Behalf Of
> Sent: Thursday, May 01, 2003 10:43 AM
> To:
> Subject: RE: 2002 Achievements (re: Singularity Institute - update)
> Anyone else other than Ben on this subject even if Ben's response was
> actually one of hopeful progress on a prospective achievement (I
> appreciate
> that progress toward future achievements is an achievement also)? Were
> their no identifiable achievements in 2002? Lets put the query a
> different
> way. If a Singularity skeptic were to challenge you to identify
> measurable
> progress that occurred in 2002 towards a Singularity event what would your
> response be? Do we have only increases in hardware technology to offer in
> response?

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