(My apologies, I was late to this session and missed much of Doug Lenat’s talk. FYI, here are my notes from the Singularity panel last year that also include Vita-More and Lenat.)

The SINGULARITY: Humanity’s Huge Techno Challenge
Doug Lenat
CEO, Cycorp
Michael Vassar
Pres, Singularity
Natasha Vita-More
Vice Chair, Humanity + Inc
  • Doug Lenat
    • Using inferences to combine knowledge
      • Example: 
    • Forces pushing us toward Singularity
      • Competitive cutting edge apps
      • Demand for personal AI assistants
      • Demand for real question answering
      • Demand for smarter AI in games
      • Mass vetting of errorful learned knowledge
        • for the common good: wikipedia
        • for credit (citation credit)
        • for credit (gamification) <- knowledge economy
    • Forces pushing us against Singularity
      • Large enterprises can stay on top in other ways
      • Bread and Circuits: most of us fnd a BTL game
      • Pick your favorite technology ender: energy crisis, neo-luddite backlack, ai suicide
      • Pick your favorite humanity ender: machines vs people, machines use up all energy/matter/sunlight
  • Michael Vassar
    • Different concepts that are meant by singularity:
      • progress: now has a sort of retro feel, so people are looking for a new word. new institutions, dot com related or similar offshoots are pushing progress in new ways.
      • superhuman intelligent systems of any sort: as popularized by vernor vinge.
        • the future is unpredictable past a certain point
        • the future is predictable up to a certain point by extrapolating trends forward and see how those trends would affect the world.
        • vernor vinge has an amazing track record of predictions from CGI to others… but that his method doesn’t work to extrapolate past 2030. So if he has a method that works up until then, and doesn’t work after that, and he has been shown to be right before, then it’s pretty good chance he’s right about the singularity.
        • now through 2030 is the entire window of opportunity we have to affect history
      • the intelligence explosion: artificial intelligence plus the exponential feedback loops resulting from artificial intelligence.
        • The history of human intelligence progress has been characterized by the amount of deliberation. 
        • Hundreds of years ago, there was very little structured, deliberate thinking. 
        • A little deliberation goes a long way: even today, even only a small amount of all total thought is focused on deliberation. 
        • By comparison, computer thought is likely to be far more deliberate.
        • Therefore, we are likely to see a very rapid acceleration of intelligence.
      • the way to mitigate risk would be to slow down. but if you look at the institutions we have today, such as the free market, collective human will, governments, we have never been able to effect deliberate slow down.
      • if traditional information processing continues to improve along with moore’s law, at a certain point everyone improves along with moore’s law.
  • Natasha Vita-More
    • When Vernor Vinge wrote about the singularity, he wrote about it from science-fiction perspective, but in a basis of mathematics.
    • When Transhumanism took on the singularity, they looked at what it meant to extend humanity
    • When Ray Kurweil took on singularity, he broadened the scope, and brought it to the mainstream.
    • It may not happen, but it probably will.
    • It may not happen in one big wall, but in surges.
    • The transhumanist movement thinks it will come in surges, rather than one big wall.
    • 4 things
      • Quality of Life
      • Technology Human Enhancement
      • Bio-Synthetic Ecology
      • Biopolitics: Concerns and consequences of merging more and more with technology.
    • Quality of Life
      • The Singularity is presumed to be an event that happens to us rather than an opportunity to boost human cognitive ability.
      • There is a theory that these things will be available to those that are rich and have the means, creating a further divide. 
      • But when you look at cell phones, you see that these are widely distributed across all economic and social strata.
      • How can we use super-intelligent technologies to solve our pressing problems: access to clean water, food, shelter, education, medical supplies, solutions to genetic problems.
      • The Singularity needs smart design to solve problems.
        • there is a big gap between the raw intelligence and the intelligence needed to solve human problems.
    • Human Enhancement Technology
      • Therapeutic enhancements
        • We are a biological beings. We can’t just attach technology to us. We need to get busy to understand our brains.
      • Selective Enhancement
        • Wearing technology, using social identities.
        • We have multiple personas and platforms.