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(Slate)   Some believe the path to immortality is through their work; others, their children. Then there's this computer-scientist/inventor who believes he has an 80% chance of achieving it by not ever dying   ( slate.com) divider line
    More: Interesting, Ray Kurzweil, cheat death, old humans, emerging technologies, paths, inventors  
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5510 clicks; posted to Geek » on 01 Dec 2013 at 3:38 PM (3 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-12-01 11:31:12 PM  
5 votes:
TFA: Kurzweil says we're just approaching what he calls "the knee of the curve." That's the point at which an exponential function starts to rocket upward.

Are you shiatting me?  The KNEE of the CURVE?  He does realize that he's talking about exponential growth, correct?  There's no knee there, man.  Here, let me draw you a picture.  Here is a graph of y=2x from x=0 to x=15 and y=0 to y=10000.  As you can see, the knee of the curve is clearly somewhere between 8 and 12:

i158.photobucket.com

Now here's the same function, but with y from 0 to 100.  As you can clearly see, the knee of the curve is somewhere between 2 and 6:

i158.photobucket.com
  Funny thing about exponential curves: They don't have minima or maxima.  They don't have inflection points.  Their integrals and derivatives are in fact exponential functions themselves.  If you look at a graph, there will always appear to be a section where there is a giant plateau, but if you zoom in on that point, it will become clear that there never was a plateau, just our perception based on the later expansion.  If you're seeing a plateau, you're not in an exponential curve.

There *are* curves with knees, but exponential curves are not them.  For example, here's a graph of a logistic curve y=(1+2-x)-1.  Whether you graph it with y from 0 to 2 or from 0 to 1, the knee appears to be in the same place, somewhere between 2 and 4.

i158.photobucket.com
i158.photobucket.com


Another funny thing about logistic curves like this: they can resemble exponential curves for a while:

i158.photobucket.com


until they reach some limiting factor, and then they flatline as they approach their maximum value.
2013-12-01 07:09:19 PM  
3 votes:
images.moviepostershop.com
Joseph Weizenbaum (8 January 1923 - 5 March 2008) was a was a German and American computer scientist and a professor emeritus at MIT. He explains in great detail why it is that you would never want to put your soul into anything resembling current technology or an evolutionary offshoot thereof. In 1966 he programed ELIZA, an "AI therapist".  He was horrified when people in the lab started treating it as a real psychotherapist. Why? When ELIZA says "I understand" It's a lie. It cannot understand. It has no mind. It's a script attached to a database.

The movie is farking brilliant. You start out thinking hes a dottering old man who has no idea what he's talking about, then goes on to show you he knows exactly what he is talking about.

There is no intelligence behind ANY AI today. Deep blue might be able to beat Gary Kasparov in chess, but it cannot play tic tac toe.

Self driving cars cannot fly aircraft.

Siri understands language, but cannot comprehend it. Voice to text still cannot put grammar into your sentences. You have to tell it where to place punctuation. If you tell Siri you are sad, you get a canned response from a programmer at Apple, put there to make the program feel more human.

Show me an AI that can be creative. Show me an AI that doesn't need to be reset on a regular basis. Show me hardware that can contain a soul.

Show me a computer that doesn't need critical updates. Show me an OS that's never royally farked someones shiat up because of a critical update. Show me a computer that can find a bug in itself, and repair that code. That can improve upon itself without a programmer ticking away at a keyboard behind the scenes. Show me a wireless network that doesn't have a ratsnest of cables somewhere.

Show me a computer that thinks, and maybe we will have begun to take our first steps infantile towards the singularity.

A simple man machine interface is all this fool is talking about when he thinks of the singularity. Being able to quantify memories and experiences into data.

Nobody has even begun to approach creating a MIND that LEARN from those memories and experiences. All the augmentations in the world won't save your ghost from brain death.  When the meat dies, you are nothing but a pale imitation of yourself. You end up as data in a box, unable to think, reason, learn, laugh, or grieve.

/Ghost hacked humans are so pathetic. Nothing but puppets on strings.
2013-12-01 10:28:23 PM  
2 votes:
"What a man believes upon grossly insufficient evidence is an index to his desires-desires of which he himself is often unconscious. If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance with his instincts, he will accept it even on the slenderest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way..." - Bertrand Russell
2013-12-01 05:31:39 PM  
2 votes:

TuteTibiImperes: Nemo's Brother: whither_apophis: Is he calculating the probabilty of his attempt at immortality offending religious fanatics who might consider it an offront to God and thus making it their mission to kill him?

/sorry, I tried parsing that down
//and I'm against any such action as well...

It's amazing how afraid to die atheists are, all the while reflecting their fear off on an imaginary religious conspiracy.

It makes sense - if you believe that when you die that it's lights out and nothing more, that's pretty scary.  If you believe there's an afterlife, or that you'll be reincarnated and live again, it's substantially less scary.


I'm not afraid to die and I'm an atheist. *shrug*

I don't mean I'm thrilled about the prospect, but I'm at peace with it. The price of having life is death, simple as that. So I'm going to enjoy the hell out of what I have while I can.

I went through a period of mourning after I realized I was an atheist because I was sad that I wouldn't go to heaven and see my loved ones again, but I'm fine about it now.

I'm honestly much happier now that I'm not exerting all that mental energy on twisting logic to fit my religious beliefs and worrying about whether my ordinary life was good enough for God.

Back on topic though: I think this Kurzweil or whatever guy is blowing his life on something that will never happen, and it's sad. When I read this story it made me feel exactly the same way as when I see people on televised church services.
2013-12-01 05:29:50 PM  
2 votes:
50 years ago, Ray Kurzweil would have been considered a science fiction writer with some neat ideas, much like a Isaac Asimov, a Ray Bradbury or an Arthur C. Clarke. But instead, he gets titles today like "renowned scientist," "futurist" and "inventor."

The truth of the matter is that Kurzweil doesn't understand a lot of the science that he cites, and he's not that different from Deepak Chopra in the way he takes ideas that are grounded in reality and then mixes then with his own thinking, but presents both as if they're absolutely true and founded in research. Many real scientists have called him out for this, and while it's a common consensus that he's a smart guy, there are good reasons to be skeptical of him.

I recently read Michio Kaku's  Physics of the Future and rolled my eyes through a lot of the chapter on human longevity whenever the idea that "we might be the last generation who will die" came up. That sort of stuff sounds great, but it's not founded in the science that's currently being undertaken. It's likely that we'll find ways to extend human lifespans significantly within this century, but chances are good it's going to be more of a "reverse the cosmetic effects of aging and keep organs from failing" sort of thing, not a "never die" scenario.

Plus, I'd argue most human beings don't need a longer life, given what they're doing with the one they currently have. Nature designed us to live for a set amount of time and then to die for many good reasons. Overpopulation is one such problem, but there's also the need for our genetics to continue to grow and evolve rather than to remain stagnant. I tend to think societies also need to have frequent change in leadership and thinking, and that only happens when the older generations die off and leave the newer ones in control.
2013-12-01 03:28:16 PM  
2 votes:
My life isn't shiatty, and I don't hate myself, but living forever sounds awful.
2013-12-02 08:15:40 AM  
1 vote:
Engineers are notorious for having surprising percent of their number with utterly no grounding in science and reality.  They can work with a tiny range of expertise but are otherwise incompetent.  See:  Salem Hypothesis
2013-12-02 01:52:55 AM  
1 vote:
There are only two serious problems with the kind of close-enough immortality Kurzweil is talking about.

1) What happens if everybody can have it, and
2) What happens if everybody can't have it.

You can have a happy, stable, peaceful society in which people live to 500, but it requires solving problems a hell of a lot harder than physical immortality. That's why I think Kurzweil is right, and we'll figure out a way to live as ageless 20-year-olds before too long. No species has a greater capacity for self-destruction or irony than humans, and that would pretty much peg the needle on both.
2013-12-02 12:05:28 AM  
1 vote:

HempHead: whither_apophis: Is he calculating the probabilty of his attempt at immortality offending religious fanatics who might consider it an offront to God and thus making it their mission to kill him?

/sorry, I tried parsing that down
//and I'm against any such action as well...

Methuselah lived 969 years.

[principlesforlifeministries.files.wordpress.com image 850x637]


I always imagined there was a misquote and that "years" was the equivalent of "moons" and were actually months not full Earth revolutions and that 969 comes out to a nice 80.+ years. Which makes a lot more sense,,,
2013-12-01 10:33:47 PM  
1 vote:
Oh bloody hell this guy again!?

/he's a freaking quack...
2013-12-01 08:44:11 PM  
1 vote:

Mister Peejay: "First you have to know - not think, know - that some day, you will die.  Until you know that, you are useless."


Awesome.

See if we can keep it going before someone calls it out.

"Our fathers were our models for God. If our fathers bailed, what does that tell you about God?"

/remixed some of that speech over a radio head song, so I spotted it immediately.
//couldn't bring myself to read the book though, saw the movie too many times
2013-12-01 07:22:03 PM  
1 vote:

TuteTibiImperes: if we were able to create a computer program that modeled the human brain exactly, and transferred all of the data from a brain to that program perfectly, I don't believe that the person's consciousness would suddenly transfer into that program.


No, of course not. You need glands.

1-media-cdn.foolz.us
/hotter than a take away Klatchian curry
2013-12-01 07:08:17 PM  
1 vote:
I hate Kurzweil and his kook brigade.
2013-12-01 06:14:40 PM  
1 vote:

secularsage: The truth of the matter is that Kurzweil doesn't understand a lot of the science that he cites, and he's not that different from Deepak Chopra in the way he takes ideas that are grounded in reality and then mixes then with his own thinking, but presents both as if they're absolutely true and founded in research.


This. Chopra fleeces the MBAs, Kurzweil fleeces the PhDs.
2013-12-01 05:46:08 PM  
1 vote:

TuteTibiImperes: Nemo's Brother: whither_apophis: Is he calculating the probabilty of his attempt at immortality offending religious fanatics who might consider it an offront to God and thus making it their mission to kill him?

/sorry, I tried parsing that down
//and I'm against any such action as well...

It's amazing how afraid to die atheists are, all the while reflecting their fear off on an imaginary religious conspiracy.

It makes sense - if you believe that when you die that it's lights out and nothing more, that's pretty scary.  If you believe there's an afterlife, or that you'll be reincarnated and live again, it's substantially less scary.


"First you have to know - not think, know - that some day, you will die.  Until you know that, you are useless."
2013-12-01 04:52:10 PM  
1 vote:

Nemo's Brother: whither_apophis: Is he calculating the probabilty of his attempt at immortality offending religious fanatics who might consider it an offront to God and thus making it their mission to kill him?

/sorry, I tried parsing that down
//and I'm against any such action as well...

It's amazing how afraid to die atheists are, all the while reflecting their fear off on an imaginary religious conspiracy.


It makes sense - if you believe that when you die that it's lights out and nothing more, that's pretty scary.  If you believe there's an afterlife, or that you'll be reincarnated and live again, it's substantially less scary.
2013-12-01 04:49:25 PM  
1 vote:

SomethingToDo: mrlewish: Fallacy:  Appeal to Authority

The second law of thermodynamics is more of a guideline than a rule, but the way animal life gets around it is by constantly reintroducing variation by sexual reproduction. Plus, the ironic death of people like this is a source of constant sport and satisfaction for the universe.


Actually, we get around the Second Law by using energy from the giant ball of incandescent plasma 150 million km away.

Which isn't really getting around it at all.
2013-12-01 04:43:52 PM  
1 vote:
When it comes to computer based artificial intelligence and the like; unless you *can* do it already, you can't.

This guy is making the exact same claims the best and brightest were making in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and 2000s.  The first generation of Computer Scientists that made any progress started grossly over-selling what would be accomplished and it's been cyclical ever since.  It becomes trendy, the do some research, get more funding, make wild claims....make no real progress....and kind of fade into the background.  Some years later, rinse, repeat.
2013-12-01 04:41:00 PM  
1 vote:

Mister Peejay: Why is dying any different? Once you've died, it's not like you're going to be sitting back and thinking "Damn, now I'm dead. That sucks." You just won't exist anymore, just like in all that time before you were born.


And I do not remember enjoying that time one bit.
2013-12-01 04:39:41 PM  
1 vote:
The way I see it is this.

When you're asleep, you're not aware of it.  Hell, you're not aware of falling asleep, until after you wake up and think about it for a bit.

Why is dying any different?  Once you've died, it's not like you're going to be sitting back and thinking "Damn, now I'm dead.  That sucks."  You just won't exist anymore, just like in all that time before you were born.
2013-12-01 04:38:49 PM  
1 vote:
Kurzweil is a kook.

The idea that we can stop the aging process, or even reverse it, is still science-fiction. We're a LONG way away from that. He won't live to see it.

He's one of those people that doesn't really understand that this stuff takes an INSANE amount of research/discovery to achieve. Or at least, he ignores that fact, because it means he is going to die like the rest of us.

Just because we are able to manipulate genes a little bit, doesn't mean we are close to immortality. That's like saying because I can talk to Siri on my iPhone and get relevant answers, that a working Artificial Intelligence is just around the corner. It's not that simple. Not at all.
2013-12-01 04:37:11 PM  
1 vote:
that's one thing that wears some of the Wealthy out.  they can buy eveything except immortality and that drives them bonkers.   they rarely ever hear the word 'no'.


course, they don't mind having tax money spent to find the fountain of youth.  not that anyone else could afford it if it was found.
2013-12-01 04:20:11 PM  
1 vote:
"I don't want to achieve immortality through my work... I want to achieve it through not dying." ~Woody Allen
2013-12-01 04:10:43 PM  
1 vote:

Tax Boy: [beyondmediaonline.com image 400x226]

What's he got in his swimming pool?


I'll tell you what he doesn't have in there:  3D printers.

"I plan to live forever, of course, but barring that I'd settle for a couple thousand years. Even five hundred would be pretty nice."
CEO Nwabudike Morgan, Morganlink 3D-Vision Interview
2013-12-01 03:57:57 PM  
1 vote:
Fallacy:  Appeal to Authority
2013-12-01 03:44:40 PM  
1 vote:
Glad I wont be around when this technology is perfected and implemented.
The immortal ruling elite will no longer have any use for the unwashed masses.
2013-12-01 03:32:36 PM  
1 vote:

Calmamity: My life isn't shiatty, and I don't hate myself, but living forever sounds awful.


I'll take whatever you don't wanna use.  I'd be quite happy with being able to pick whenever I felt like checking out.
2013-12-01 02:00:09 PM  
1 vote:

TuteTibiImperes: There has to be more about what makes life than just the firing of neurons in the brain.


Well, yeah.  Trees don't even HAVE brains.
 
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