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GoatLord

Singularity rant 2.0: Point/counterpoint

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I started a thread awhile back on the tech singularity, in which I argued points for and against the possibility of it occurring. I'd like to present a similar point/counterpoint, though hopefully with less bias. I like to play devil's advocate and in doing so, will try to present more convincing arguments on why certain tech predictions may or may not come to fruition.

On the subject of personal computing in the future:

POINT:
Internal computers will eventually become the norm, given that each new paradigm shift in personal tech has been more intimate than the last. Computers have gone from being situated in our homes to tiny, powerful smartphones in our pockets.
COUNTERPOINT:
The vast majority of people find such a concept to be far too intimate and invasive. They simply do not want computers in the their heads, invading their dreams with adware and constantly distracting them in their waking hours.
POINT:
People may find internal computers more appealing if the switch from our pockets to our brains is gradual (Google Glass being an example of transitional tech). We may end up with computers that are temporary and must be replaced regularly, such as through ingested pills with designer flavors, that only last a few days or weeks at a time, at which point the computer is completely removed from your system, but retains information via the cloud, so that the next ingestion will not result in a loss of data.
COUNTERPOINT:
People do not want to eat their computers, and this still doesn't solve the problem of how overly intimate an internal interface would be, not to mention how disturbing it would be to have your wetware hacked into. Additionally, the government would rejoice in how easy it would be to spy on you.
POINT:
Highly secure encryption, made possible via quantum computing, will ensure that your data is safe, prevent hackers from collecting your data, and keep government watchdogging to a minimum.
COUNTERPOINT:
This doesn't mean wetware surveillance and hacking won't occur. This also doesn't prevent legal adware from finding its way into your day-to-day activities. Additionally, being connected 24/7, as well as getting lost in virtual worlds, will surely have a negative impact on social skills and overall happiness.

I'll feature another point/counterpoint on a different aspect of the singularity after I get a few responses on the first one.

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All of these sound like first world problems. In the future, the majority of the world's population will be preoccupied with finding something to eat and survive wars/droughts/housing problems, and the only possible way they would ever care about an ingestible computer would be if it was also commestible.

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I'm not sure what you mean, since comestible means edible, which is what a digestible computer would be! Anyway, I tend to roll my eyes at the first world argument, because the trend is clear: More and more, third world countries are gaining access to resources and technology, due to increases in efficiency and decreases in cost. There have been complaints for decades that the middle class is disappearing, and while this is true, no social trend lasts indefinitely. Some of the inexpensive technology geared to the third world is amazing, such a portable water purifier. It's only a matter of time before the lower class essentially disappears and the majority of people experience a comfortable standard of living. Keep in mind that your average middle class citizen lives with greater comforts than the greatest kings did a few centuries ago.

It should also be noted that technology is having a runaway effect, whereby governments are slowly losing their ability to control their spread, owing at least partly to home brewers engineering revolutionary devices that gain widespread attention thanks to the Internet. Initially, the rich take advantage of the crappy, super expensive, early versions of a given product, and after awhile (an interval of time which becomes shorter with each decade), the middle and lower classes are able to afford the cheaper and better secondary versions. There is very little to suggest that the third world will dip into some post-apocalyptic state, not only because the world is not that black and white, but also because technological growth has the capacity to override the powers that be.

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Computers are fucking expensive, why blow so much fucking money to eat one? Technology that stupid wouldn't even reach the point of becoming cheap because no one in their right mind would put their money into it.

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Computers are "fucking expensive"? What is this, the early 70s? The first digital computer cost millions of dollars, and now computers that are more powerful than that can be purchased at freakin' dollar stores (disposable flip phones). Computers just keep getting cheaper and cheaper with each passing year.

I'd also like to add that technology is inherently transitional, so by the time wetware becomes a thing, most people won't be as dismissive. I'm not saying wetware is a good thing, but I think it's incredibly naive to assume that radically different forms of computing are unmarketable. They are now, but as the zeitgeist changes, so does our idea of what is acceptable, technologically.

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What is the point and purpose in eating a computer as opposed to you know, not eating one? It sounds to me more like a very cornball beep boop spergy extrapolation of the idea that "technology is becoming more intimate" rather than being an interesting technological advance with practical applications.

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Given the current trends in "computing intimacy" and the ever growing sexual liberation, the obvious next step are computer suppositories.

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At some point in the future, technology, biology and neuroscience will be advanced enough that we'll be able to make infinitely flexible, biological-based machines and computers. Or possible even better then biological based, if something more powerful and flexible than a cell structure will be discovered. With an infinite potential of these utilities, it will be trivial to make them compatible with human bodies. Or there would be a way to artificially alter human bodies themselves, to more efficiently absorb and save energy, or to be more powerful, durable and regenerable. I can imagine that it'll easily become a generally acceptable thing to do - already today, people who reject new technologies are in minority. That's how I imagine the true singularity. The only next step would be merging individual bodies into one SUPER-body of SUPER-cells, and consequently merging individual cousciousnesses into one collective mind, which I'm however pretty afraid of. What a vision.

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Quast said:

cornball beep boop spergy extrapolation

Thank you, I don't think we'll see a better handle for this entire thread's fantastic concept. They're all wasting their time speculating about eating computers when there's weaponry to be stockpiled for the upcoming zombie apocalypse.

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GoatLord said:

There's a lot of pages on Google about edible technology.

Links to the ones that aren't embarrasingly stupid, pls.

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GoatLord said:

We may end up with computers that are temporary and must be replaced regularly, such as through ingested pills with designer flavors, that only last a few days or weeks at a time, at which point the computer is completely removed from your system, but retains information via the cloud, so that the next ingestion will not result in a loss of data.

Consumerism at its worst, I won't be surprised if Apple are first to market. "Is your iHomo about to go down the crapper? Replace it with this week's roast lamb with mint sauce flavored model, as featured on Masterchef."

scifista42 said:

The only next step would be merging individual bodies into one SUPER-body of SUPER-cells, and consequently merging individual cousciousnesses into one collective mind, which I'm however pretty afraid of.

You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

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Yay, another GoatLord thread about transcending human form via technology. Ever see the movie Red Dragon?

"GoatLord in human form. Do you see?
GoatLord transformed! Do you see? Do you see?!"

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GreyGhost said:

Consumerism at its worst, I won't be surprised if Apple are first to market. "Is your iHomo about to go down the crapper? Replace it with this week's roast lamb with mint sauce flavored model, as featured on Masterchef."


There is a South Park episode buried somewhere in that.

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I'd like to add, before you check out the following links, that I am not necessarily in support of what I'm predicting. I'm actually starting to become horrified by certain aspects of the singularity, which is why I offered very convincing counterpoints to each point. An edible computer is probably a terrible idea at best. However, I came up with it because I was trying to figure out what manufacturers and corporations are likely to design, not what is best for humanity, since that is not what the powers that be are invested in. Since getting a surgical implant sounds incredibly invasive, I came up with the pill as something that would be more likely to be accepted in a future where at least one additional transitional device has replaced smartphones.

Speculative article on various things including edible microchips:
http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/edible-microchips-biometric-identity-systems-and-mind-reading-computers

Video about edible computers used for medical purposes:
http://english.cntv.cn/2014/06/28/VIDE1403918645331352.shtml

Predictions about Matrix-style learning through ingestible computers:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2685728/Will-able-learn-language-taking-PILL-Scientist-predicts-humans-ingest-information-30-years-time.html

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The problem is, beyond a certain point it will be more efficient to just enhance/advance the machines themselves, rather than using them as a middleware to enhance(?) the lives of humans, or bother with petty things such as controlling what someone will buy or who'll he vote for. And this decision won't be necessarily be taken by humans.

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You're implying a human/machine duality, and I don't buy that. That's the current paradigm, but the next one will be human/machine hybrid. There will come a time when babies are born with genetic enhancements afforded by biological computers. We'll see humans grown in labs that are identical in every way to "normal" humans. It'll be a world where everyone is augmented because the augmentations are literally built into their genome. It'll be a cheap procedure and you'll pass it down to your children. Now, is this a good thing? Fuck if I know! It sounds both fascinating and terrifying at the same time. I sincerely believe there's a good chance this will happen. It's scary as hell.

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Don't worry, you won't live long enough to see it. Enjoy your existence with non-nanochipped brain while you can!

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j4rio said:

Don't worry, you won't live long enough to see it. Enjoy your existence with non-nanochipped brain while you can!


I'm gonna be brutally honest…that seems like an extremely naive statement considering that the last century has seen more technological progress than the last 2,000 years.

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I'm entirely skeptical for that matter. The science I'm part of (pharmacology) has been stagnating since last century and each year, there is an exponential decrease of new medicine coming to market. The stemming happens due to running out of possible combinations of available structures that can be invented, because an enormous amounts have already been tested - in other words, we're running out of sciencey stuff that can be used to even keep us alive.

I'm not even going to adress the human lab stuff because that's completely delusional pseudo-science.

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I suspect that it will stagnate for awhile, then a new discovery will cause an increase in innovation. These sorts of trends are never indefinite.

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I think that this sort of exponential innovation is only present in microelectronics, which themselves only exist for barely more than half a century, and then again only because there was a lot of catching up to do till maturity, and soon a stagnation point (at least for silicon-based technology) will be reached, if it hasn't been reached already.

Other fields like chemistry, metallurgy etc. are relatively stagnant, because they reached maturity much sooner. There are improvements, sure, but they are much less impressive, or at least they cannot be summed up with catchy statements like "the number of transistors will double every two year".

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GoatLord said:

You're implying a human/machine duality, and I don't buy that.

I think it's more likely a master/slave relationship that Maes is implying. Best we can hope for is that the machines decide we make good pets.

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Maes said:

Other fields like chemistry, metallurgy etc. are relatively stagnant, because they reached maturity much sooner. There are improvements, sure, but they are much less impressive, or at least they cannot be summed up with catchy statements like "the number of transistors will double every two year".


Innovations in one area affect another. If your computers are more powerful, then the computations used for studying and advancing anatomy, chemistry, biology and others fields unavoidably improve. I'm not sure where you guys are getting the idea that stagnation is going on, because I keep up with tech trends in areas outside of microelectronics and what I keep seeing is incredible improvements and breakthroughs. Watch some TED talks to see what I mean.

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GoatLord said:

Innovations in one area affect another. If your computers are more powerful, then the computations used for studying and advancing anatomy, chemistry, biology and others fields unavoidably improve.


You sure get improvements in manufacturing, design and R&D with better computers, but computer or no computer, you'll never see e.g. a breakthrough in chemistry that will produce a synthetic hydrocarbon which can store twice the energy of existing ones for the same weight (thus e.g. doubling the range of aircraft and cars), nor will you ever see exceedances of well-known theoretical limits in chemical battery technology, to which we're already pretty close anyway, nor will you discover a way to smelt steel with half the energy expenditure required by current methods. You might however be able to mass-produce safe Jetsons' "atomic age" mini nuclear reactors, if they were to become acceptable one day.

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Computers need resources to build them too, disposable computers or something you would flush trough a toilet (as mentioned in this topic) would be ridiculous and severely against the need to save those mentioned resources and the impact on the planet. Internal computers would or should rather be like an advanced pacemaker or some kind of future muscle regulator for people with physical problems.

funny note ;
http://www.epa.gov/osw/conserve/materials/ecycling/faq.htm



While the luxury internet browsing brain chip is plain dangerous science fiction for current day politics and people. By the time they reach that point scientists would be hacking human brains to reprogram them or else they would not be able to add a computer to it. A truckload of laws to protect your brain, brain surgery or a intelligent robot driving trough your bloodstream to your brain with wifi or some form of wireless connections... a truckload of laws and problems.

edit ;
fixed a mistake.

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I think people becoming one with technology is inevitable. Despite all of the negative consequences, there will be people ready to pioneer the way.

Just look at social media. Children and teenagers brought Big Bother into their homes willingly. Today, many of their parents followed suit.

Perhaps there will be a pill casing surrounding the micro-computer, that your body will begin to digest once it becomes obsolete. At that point, engineers can say, "your shit, is more technologically advanced than what the astronauts used to go to the moon in the 1960s. The Americans and Soviets would have killed to get their hands on it."

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Kontra Kommando said:

Perhaps there will be a pill casing surrounding the micro-computer, that your body will begin to digest once it becomes obsolete.

No one in this thread has yet to explain the novel point of this. Outside of some kind of medical testing on your digestive tract. In any event whatever it is, it's leaving your body in ~3 days or so regardless.

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