RE: Singularity awareness

From: pdugan (
Date: Sun Jun 04 2006 - 10:37:49 MDT

>===== Original Message From Charles D Hixson <>
>pdugan wrote:
>> I think the release of a serious simulation or commercial game of adequete
>> craft and marketing could cause 2 or 3 to happen, respectively. What better
>> way to get people to grok the singularity than have them interact with a
>> computer that simulates and/or represents the core ideas?
>> Patrick Dugan
>>> ===== Original Message From Joshua Fox <> =====
>>> Anyone want to venture a guess on the public awareness of the
>>> Singularity in, say, 2010 or 2015?
>>> I'm wondering if the Singularity will
>>> (1) remain the province of a few hundred or a few thousand
>>> super-technologically-aware types (like, e.g., hints of possibilities
>>> for faster-than-light spaceflight today);
>>> (2) or spread into the awareness of hundreds of thousands or millions of
>>> educated people (like, e.g. private space travel or nanotech today);
>>> (3) or become a major social issue followed by tens or hundreds of
>>> millions (like, e.g., genetically engineered food or nuclear power today).
>>> Any thoughts?
>>> Joshua
>One way to acquire sufficient computational resources would be to
>publish an on-line game (or community? 2nd Life?) in which much of the
>computation was done by what is essentially voluntary participants in a
>bot-net. This would be even better if the game could be so structured
>that portions of the game score depended on solving challenges that were
>those needed by the program's operation. (Since these would be "high
>level" challenges, they should have high rewards attached to them.
>There would, after all, be a large probability of failure.)
>Is this feasible? ?? Is 2nd Life involved in such a scenario? ?? (I
>tend to think not.) But do note that a lot of the time in these games
>the computer is essentially waiting for the user to react. This time
>represents available CPU cycles that don't need to be merely discarded.
>(Of course, with a lot of designs the OS already uses them for
>background processing.)

Actually I was thinking of something more along the lines of a "massively
single-player" game where users different reactions to a partially simulated,
but mostly representational hard take-off would yeild different post-singular
futures, so that the end-game is, to an extend, user created content. Then
people could put this stuff up and compare notes and singularity awareness
would generally improve for the better. The upcoming Spore might have the same
effect on people's awarenss of xenobiology concepts.

Second Life isn't really a challenge oriented user environment; the only real
goals are aesthetic, with the result being a heterogeneous environment of user
created content. Since a desirable post-singular future could probably be
described as a heterogeneous environment of user created content, it makes
sense to see a soft take-off being facilitated and "padded" by successive
generations of such platforms. I don't know if designing a system that used
human play to teach an AGI (if that's what you're getting at) is desirable or
feasible. Its not feasible because if the virtual world doesn't have
commercial entertianment appeal, you'll never get funding for it short of
DARPA taking a very serious and creative stance on AGI, and its not
nessecarily desirable because AGI pattern recognition isn't going to be mature
enough to handle such an environment in early stages.

Using a infra-human AGI to both direct and learn from such an environment as
part of its sensory modality isn't a bad idea though, something to consider
maybe five years down the line.

I'm not sure if Ben's optimism regarding parrallel hardware is accurate or
not, but I don't think human support can make up for raw computation, but
human support can aid pattern learning significantly.


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