SIAI & Kurweil's Singularity

From: 1Arcturus (
Date: Thu Dec 15 2005 - 12:17:58 MST

I had another question about SIAI in relation to Kurzweil's latest book Singularity is Near.
  If I have him right, Kurzweil predicts that humans will gradually merge with their technology - the technology becoming more humanlike, more biological-compatible, and integrating into the human body and mental processes, until eventually the purely 'biological' portion becomes less and less predominant or disappears entirely.

SIAI seems to presuppose a very different scenario - that strongly superintelligent AI will arise first in pure machines, and never (apparently) in humans. There seems to be no indication of 'merger', more like a kind of AI-rule over mostly unmodified humans.
  Some of this difference may be because Kurzweil predicts nanotechnology in the human body (including the brain) and very advanced human-machine interfaces will arise before strongly superintelligent AI, and that strongly superintelligent AI will require the completion of the reverse-engineering of the human brain. (Completed reverse-engineering of the brain + adequate brain scanning surely = ability to upload part or all of human selves?)
  But SIAI seems to assume AIs will become strongly superintelligent by their own design, arising from human designs, before humans ever finish reverse-engineering the human brain. The lack of a fully functional interface with the strongly intelligent AIs would cause humans to be dependent on the AIs to do the thinking from then on, and the AIs would take on the responsibility for the thinking of course also. This seems to assume the AIs would not be able to, or not want to, create interfaces or upload the humans -- that is, it would not 'uplift' the humans to its own level of intelligence so that they could then understand each other.
  I am trying to understand SIAI's position, or at least the emphasis of posters here and some representatives I have heard, contrasted with Kuzweil's book. There seems to be a contrast to me, although I know Kurzweil is involved with SIAI also.
  One thing I would say - the prediction I attribute to Kurzweil eliminates many of the very troubling problems that seem to arise in what I think is the SIAI scenario: how to trust an AI? How to design it to be at least as kind (at least to us) as we are [my comment: not a very high standard :)] How to understand the AI and its actions after it becomes strongly superintelligent? Whether or not to follow the AI's advice when it sounds wrong?
  None of these things are problematic if humans merge with technology and acquire its capacity for strong superintelligence. That is, humans would be at the very center of the Singularity and direct its development, for better or worse, with 'open eyes', and taking responsibility themselves rather than lending it to an external machine.

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