Posts Tagged ‘survive’

23
Dec

The Extropy of Bitcoin

by adminadam in articles

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a highly extropic virtual currency and payment platform. It is resistant to entropy, theft, political corruption, and market manipulation (i.e. arbitrary inflation).

Here is an under-two-minute Bitcoin intro video from weusecoins.com:

What are Bitcoin’s novel features (both as a currency and as a technology)?

  • The coins themselves cannot be burnt or destroyed, nor can they be stolen (if encrypted and backed-up properly). Coins can also be stored offline in a paper wallet or an indestructible, encrypted aluminum wallet.
  • Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer, decentralized currency and banking/ledger system with no single point of failure.
  • It has worldwide appeal and utility; different people are interested in it for different reasons and all can participate freely.
  • A whole cryptocurrency ecosystem has evolved from it. See: Litecoin, Namecoin, or Anoncoin for examples of this.

What are its downsides commonly thought to be?

There are a number of arguments leveled against Bitcoin. Most posit that it will either be rendered null or that there are no legitimate uses for it. Briefly, here are a few of the more common arguments:

  1. That governments and banks will soon feel so threatened by it that they will shut it down.
  2. It’s volatile; it’s difficult to speculate on; it’s not a good investment.
  3. Only criminals and tax-evaders use it. (And/or high frequency traders.)
  4. It’s not accepted anywhere; you can’t really use it for anything.
  5. It would fail if the internet went down.

Now to examine these arguments.

First, that someone or some entity might shut it down:

Bitcoin cannnot be shut down by any authority as could Napster, or Wikileaks, or even the Pirate Bay for that matter. It is completely decentralized and has spread around the world. It is not dependent on ICANN or any centralized protocol or institution controlled by any one entity. I don’t think any conceivable level of coordination could remove enough copies of the peer-to-peer software necessary to run it — existing on many millions of devices around the world at this point — in order to shut it down. Also, as we move forward people are increasingly meeting in person to exchange bitcoin and other coins for cash, meaning that 3rd party bitcoin services (like Coinbase or Mt. Gox) are non-essential to obtaining cryptocurrencies.

Recently China declared that Bitcoin would not be accepted as currency there and that 3rd party Bitcoin/Renminbi exchanges would have to shut down at the end of 2013. This caused the prices to halve as there was great excitement and a surge of interest in Bitcoin in China previously. And while it will be harder for Chinese people to get and sell potentially, it certainly doesn’t spell the end for Bitcoin around the world. For example, Germany accepts it, as do the US, the Netherlands, Canada, Japan, France, and others. (I expect even in China it will continue to play some, albeit marginalized, role.) Note also: Swiss lawmakers are considering treating it as they would any other foreign currency as we speak.

Second, on the volatility, the usefulness for investment purposes:

It is difficult to speculate on, but less so, I believe, if you think in longer time frames than does a high-frequency trader.

BTC price history - all time - to Dec 11, 2013

Looking at this chart of the all-time price history of Bitcoin (above), we can see a number of big peaks and valleys, but the general trend is up — in a big way. It is new and subject to an extent to hype and speculation (as is any new commodity or currency, of course). One glance at the overall trajectory, however, and it appears to be more of an exponential trend than a linear one. I cannot conceive of traditional commodities or other physical currencies growing in this fashion, and believe it is only possible with a digital, peer-to-peer, distributed, low-barriers-to-entry system such as Bitcoin. Take a look at this all-time price history with weekly (instead of daily) price points and tell me that the growth is not astonishingly exponential in appearance…!

BTC price history - all time - to December 2013

I think over the long term the value will continue to increase. If we look at a few examples of how Bitcoin (and the underlying protocol) are already being used I think it will become obvious why its value — and the value of other cryptocurrencies — is likely to increase over time.

Who uses it, where, and for what:

Bitcoin is a freely accessible, open-source, distributed, digital currency. That means that anyone with a smart phone or computer and internet access can use it. This ease-of-use and convenience may allow for it to supersede conventional payment and banking technologies, like paypal, moneygram, and bank transfers. As there is no bureaucracy involved, coins can be transferred to anyone, from anyone, at any time and for any reason. All this within minutes. All this without fees.

Here’s a few example uses:

  • Trade sanctions can be bypassed. Cubans in the US can send their families money without hassle.
  • Money can be sent anonymously (and if not then at least pseudonymously) over the internet for the first time in history. For more on the issue of true anonymity and the technical discussions surrounding it see: Zerocoin.
  • Woodlank Patchwork, a new micronation which is both an enclave and an exclave of Japan, has chosen Bitcoin as its official currency.
  • WordPress users can pay with Bitcoin.
  • Reddit accepts it for advertising, tipping other users, and other promotional uses.
  • Shopify allows merchants to accept it.
  • OKcupid accepts it for premium services.
  • Nesbit’s Fine Watch Service (near me in Seattle) accepts it.
  • Seattle-based Accountable Moving & Storage accepts it.
  • Cheapair.com accepts it for purchasing plane tickets.
  • Khan Academy accepts it for donations.
  • Tesla accepts it for the purchase of their electric cars.
  • Virgin Galactic recently sold their first ticket into space purchased with Bitcoin.
  • See CoinMap.org and useBitcoins.info for 1000’s more locations worldwide where Bitcoins are accepted.

Here, additionally, are some fascinating non-monetary uses:

  • Proof of Existence allows users to anonymously time-stamp and create a record of a document’s existence. The cryptographic signature of this time-stamp is then stored for all time in the Bitcoin blockchain, the redundant, distributed ledger of transactions. With this you can certify that a given document/idea/etc exists without the need for a central authority. Think patent/copyright office, but peer-to-peer and open-source. Also, think censorship-proof publishing platform. Proof of Existence is built on top of the Bitcoin protocol.
  • Namecoin is an ‘altcoin’, an alternative cryptocurrency with features that distinguish it from Bitcoin. Namecoin is specifically designed to create an open-source, distributed DNS network. While most every website you would visit currently is ultimately controlled by ICANN (who assigns domain names like thrivenotes.com), Namecoin is creating an alternative, decentralized system, whereby censorship will be impossible, and anyone will be able to create and host a website without risk of it being removed from the internet by ICANN or other influential parties (See: Homeland Security domain name seizures). Namecoin is a fork of the Bitcoin source-code.

What if the internet went down? Are there any other security issues to be aware of?

Besides the fact that the whole internet going down would be disastrous for everyone and all internet-based services, consider the following way in which Bitcoin could possibly even survive or thrive were the net to go down:

In an amazingly ambitious announcement, Bitcoin Developer Jeff Garzik declared his intention to launch cubesat Bitcoin nodes into space to store extra redundant copies of the blockchain in case of certain types of attack or internet outages. This apparently would cost only around $2 Million to do and would provide an additional layer of extropy (higher-order, complexity, and resiliency) to Bitcoin. I find this just fascinating. Perhaps Bitcoin would be okay..!

Regardless, I would like to provide some additional details on the security of the Bitcoin ecosystem, but thought it best to leave it to the experts for this one. Here is some useful Q&A from the Bitcoin Security FAQ:

Is Bitcoin secure?

The Bitcoin technology – the protocol and the cryptography – has a strong security track record, and the Bitcoin network is probably the biggest distributed computing project in the world. Bitcoin’s most common vulnerability is in user error. Bitcoin wallet files that store the necessary private keys can be accidentally deleted, lost or stolen. This is pretty similar to physical cash stored in a digital form. Fortunately, users can employ sound security practices to protect their money or use service providers that offer good levels of security and insurance against theft or loss.

The best way to be safe is to be sure of who you’re dealing with (trusted exchanges, for instance, are a good place to start) when purchasing, and then to store your wallet encrypted (with an 8+ word password, for example) in multiple (that is, 3+) locations.

Hasn’t Bitcoin been hacked in the past?

The rules of the protocol and the cryptography used for Bitcoin are still working years after its inception, which is a good indication that the concept is well designed. However, security flaws have been found and fixed over time in various software implementations. Like any other form of software, the security of Bitcoin software depends on the speed with which problems are found and fixed. The more such issues are discovered, the more Bitcoin is gaining maturity.

There are often misconceptions about thefts and security breaches that happened on diverse exchanges and businesses. Although these events are unfortunate, none of them involve Bitcoin itself being hacked, nor imply inherent flaws in Bitcoin; just like a bank robbery doesn’t mean that the dollar is compromised. However, it is accurate to say that a complete set of good practices and intuitive security solutions is needed to give users better protection of their money, and to reduce the general risk of theft and loss. Over the course of the last few years, such security features have quickly developed, such as wallet encryption, offline wallets, hardware wallets, and multi-signature transactions.

I love this line: a bank robbery doesn’t mean the dollar has been compromised. So perfect. I feel this is very important to consider in discussions of crytocurrencies: ‘Is this a local vulnerability that’s been exploited, or a global/universal one tatamount to the annihilation of Bitcoin (et al.)?’

Could users collude against Bitcoin?

It is not possible to change the Bitcoin protocol that easily. Any Bitcoin client that doesn’t comply with the same rules cannot enforce their own rules on other users. As per the current specification, double spending is not possible on the same block chain, and neither is spending bitcoins without a valid signature. Therefore, It is not possible to generate uncontrolled amounts of bitcoins out of thin air, spend other users’ funds, corrupt the network, or anything similar.

However, a majority of miners could arbitrarily choose to block or reverse recent transactions. A majority of users can also put pressure for some changes to be adopted. Because Bitcoin only works correctly with a complete consensus between all users, changing the protocol can be very difficult and requires an overwhelming majority of users to adopt the changes in such a way that remaining users have nearly no choice but to follow. As a general rule, it is hard to imagine why any Bitcoin user would choose to adopt any change that could compromise their own money.

Consensus-based, democratic, open-source projects FOR THE WIN.

Is Bitcoin vulnerable to quantum computing?

Yes, most systems relying on cryptography in general are, including traditional banking systems. However, quantum computers don’t yet exist and probably won’t for a while. In the event that quantum computing could be an imminent threat to Bitcoin, the protocol could be upgraded to use post-quantum algorithms. Given the importance that this update would have, it can be safely expected that it would be highly reviewed by developers and adopted by all Bitcoin users.

Just imagine: Quantum-Encryption-Protected Bitcoin. What would we call it? QuBitcoin? Bitcoin-Cubed? 5th-DimensionalCoin? Whatever form it takes, whatever it’s called, I love their assertion that Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Developers will continue to develop and maximize the extropian potential of these liberating technologies — even in the face of quantum-supercomputer highway-robbery-attempts.

TL;DR – What about Bitcoin?

  • You can send money to anyone, anytime.
  • It can’t be shut down by governments.
  • It can’t be controlled by corporations or the Federal Reserve.
  • It may be protected from other conceivable, future forms of interference through the use of space-based redundancy satellites.
  • And you can buy everything from a cup of joe to an electric car with it.
Seems pretty awesomely versatile, valuable, and revolutionary to me!

bitcoin-logo-3d

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21
May

System Failure

by adminadam in home

system_failure

12
Aug

One Tough Extremophile: Tardigrade

by adminadam in home

She is the Water Bear, the Moss Piglet. She survives 6,000 meters up in the Himalayas, and down 4,000 meters under water.

She is one tough extremophile.

Blam! ¡La Señorita Tardigrada!

 

From Wikipedia:

Tardigrades are able to survive in extreme environments that would kill almost any other animal. Some can survive temperatures of close to absolute zero, Kelvin (−273 °C (−459 °F)), temperatures as high as 151 °C (304 °F), 1,000 times more radiation than other animals, and almost a decade without water. Since 2007, tardigrades have also returned alive from studies in which they have been exposed to the vacuum of outer space for a few days in low earth orbit.

 

27
Jun

Extropy +10: The Principles

by adminadam in articles

The words of Max More are too well composed, too precise to emulate, so I have decided to provide a simple introduction and then let the rest speak for itself. The original, The Extropian Principles 3.o, is also to be found here on Max More’s own site.

Introduction


The term ‘transhumanist’ comes with significant baggage concerning the ethics or unethical-ness of modifying the human body and mind — indeed this is one of the foundational principles in Extropianism/Transhumanism — that of ‘hacking’ and ‘modding’ our essence, so to speak. Neo-luddites site this and our oft-demonstrated inability to reign in progress before significant disruption of the biosphere occurs, just look at the recent BP oil spill, or Chernobyl, or Global Climate Change/Chaos, or the Pacific Plastic Swarm for examples. Neo-luddites in particular (in addition to many other concerned citizens) have a number of justifiably rational fears about new technologies and their implications, such as nanobots and the grey-goo scenario. But in the words of the great Isaac Asimov, “If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them”.

Transhumanism and Extropianism are, of course, centered on progress. And although progress can lead to its own fair share of problems, the goal in Extropianism/Transhumanism is also to discover innovative ways of preventing the kind of greed-fueled disasters for which science and capitalism are often blamed. So, let’s not oversimplify by saying that Neo-luddites are anti-progress and Extropians are pro-. I would like to argue that Extropians are neither extremist nor hyper-capitalist when it comes to progress, but that they take the long view on the development of civilization in general.

Transhumanism and Extropianism are philosophical frameworks that provide a rationale for expanding our knowledge of ourselves, our knowledge of the universe, and our ability to affect change in those two realms.

“No mysteries are sacrosanct, no limits unquestionable; the unknown will yield to the ingenious mind. We seek to understand the universe, not to tremble before mystery, as we continue to learn and grow and enjoy our lives ever more.”

To dig a little deeper, we can say that the Extropian’s work is to push the bounds of science and philosophy in attempts to improve not only the human situation and human conditions, but also our capacity to understand and innovate further. But this is nothing new; humans have been building up these capacities since before we diverged from other apes. Every survival-enhancing behavior and trait gained since that point has led us here: enhanced social skills, complex displays of emotions, tool use, language, agriculture, mathematics, writing… All these things have served to further and spread innovation in our species in a directional arrow of evolution. And what that arrow points to is, in fact, of the greatest concern to Extropians: the reduction of entropy to the greatest possible point — metaphorically that is; by way of increasing extropy (definitions below).

Were our species to die out, it is not certain that any others would come into our place as intelligent, tool-using, environment-manipulating mammals with a capacity for language and empathy. It is all these traits that have made our civilization possible, and to be fair, a bit unstable. The Extropian has considered many of the existential risks we face and seeks, to the greatest extent possible, to gather, maintain, and make permanent the genetic, cultural, philosophical, and technological innovations that have emerged on our planet. And the best way to do this is to continue to build upon what we have done, to reach past our limits and imagine even greater accomplishments and greater enlightenment, and more freedom and equality for everyone.

The meme thus comes off sounding quite naive and idealistic, at times with a libertarian/anti-authoritarian streak, and perhaps with the feel of a cult. But if anything, this is a cult dedicated to the intentional evolution of our species, in the best ways possible. And, as we will see, we have already been modifying ourselves significantly since the beginning of civilization. Books are a medium of information transfer that brought about significant innovation. Tools are a part of our heritage that pass themselves on through usefulness alone. Medicine is surely a ‘hack’ for our natural, biological operating systems, so to speak. And who is to say that we should abandon any of the more recent knowledge sharing engines like the internet, even if it creates new problems while solving older ones. What else can we expect but to be confronted with new limits when we break down the old? And that is precisely what Extropianism prepares us to expect. Entropy is a worthy adversary and, ultimately, our species is in a race against time. So without further ado, I present:


THE EXTROPIAN PRINCIPLES — Version 3.0

A Transhumanist Declaration, ©1998. By Max More.

EXTROPYthe extent of a system’s intelligence, information, order, vitality, and capacity for improvement.
EXTROPIANSthose who seek to increase extropy.
EXTROPIANISMthe evolving transhumanist philosophy of extropy.

Extropianism is a transhumanist philosophy. The Extropian Principles define a specific version or “brand” of transhumanist thinking. Like humanists, transhumanists favor reason, progress, and values centered on our well being rather than on an external religious authority. Transhumanists take humanism further by challenging human limits by means of science and technology combined with critical and creative thinking. We challenge the inevitability of aging and death, and we seek continuing enhancements to our intellectual abilities, our physical capacities, and our emotional development. We see humanity as a transitory stage in the evolutionary development of intelligence. We advocate using science to accelerate our move from human to a transhuman or posthuman condition. As physicist Freeman Dyson has said: “Humanity looks to me like a magnificent beginning but not the final word.”

These Principles are not presented as absolute truths or universal values. The Principles codify and express those attitudes and approaches affirmed by those who describe themselves as “Extropian”. Extropian thinking offers a basic framework for thinking about the human condition. This document deliberately does not specify particular beliefs, technologies, or conclusions. These Principles merely define an evolving framework for approaching life in a rational, effective manner unencumbered by dogmas that cannot survive scientific or philosophical criticism. Like humanists we affirm an empowering, rational view of life, yet seek to avoid dogmatic beliefs of any kind. The Extropian philosophy embodies an inspiring and uplifting view of life while remaining open to revision according to science, reason, and the boundless search for improvement.

1. Perpetual Progress — Seeking more intelligence, wisdom, and effectiveness, an indefinite lifespan, and the removal of political, cultural, biological, and psychological limits to self-actualization and self-realization. Perpetually overcoming constraints on our progress and possibilities. Expanding into the universe and advancing without end.

2. Self-Transformation — Affirming continual moral, intellectual, and physical self-improvement, through critical and creative thinking, personal responsibility, and experimentation. Seeking biological and neurological augmentation along with emotional and psychological refinement.

3. Practical Optimism — Fueling action with positive expectations. Adopting a rational, action-based optimism, in place of both blind faith and stagnant pessimism.

4. Intelligent Technology — Applying science and technology creatively to transcend “natural” limits imposed by our biological heritage, culture, and environment. Seeing technology not as an end in itself but as an effective means towards the improvement of life.

5. Open Society — Supporting social orders that foster freedom of speech, freedom of action, and experimentation. Opposing authoritarian social control and favoring the rule of law and decentralization of power. Preferring bargaining over battling, and exchange over compulsion. Openness to improvement rather than a static utopia.

6. Self-Direction — Seeking independent thinking, individual freedom, personal responsibility, self-direction, self-esteem, and respect for others.

7. Rational Thinking — Favoring reason over blind faith and questioning over dogma. Remaining open to challenges to our beliefs and practices in pursuit of perpetual improvement. Welcoming criticism of our existing beliefs while being open to new ideas.

1. PERPETUAL PROGRESS

Extropians seek continual improvement in ourselves, our cultures, and our environments. We seek to improve ourselves physically, intellectually, and psychologically. We value the perpetual pursuit of knowledge and understanding. Extropians question traditional assertions that we should leave human nature fundamentally unchanged in order to conform to “God’s will” or to what is considered “natural”. Like our intellectual cousins, the humanists, we seek continued progress in all directions. We go beyond many humanists in proposed fundamental alterations in human nature in pursuit of these improvements. We question traditional, biological, genetic, and intellectual constraints on our progress and possibility.

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1
May

Let’s help germinate this seed

by adminadam in fiction, prose

An epic story about meeting god on a train.
Written by Harry Stottle @ fullmoon.nu

Talking to God

I met god the other day.

I know what you’re thinking. How the hell did you know it was god?

Well, I’ll explain as we go along, but basically he convinced me by having all, and I do mean ALL, the answers. Every question I flung at him he batted back with a plausible and satisfactory answer. In the end, it was easier to accept that he was god than otherwise.

Which is odd, because I’m still an atheist and we even agree on that!

It all started on the 8.20 back from Paddington. Got myself a nice window seat, no screaming brats or drunken hooligans within earshot. Not even a mobile phone in sight. Sat down, reading the paper and in he walks.

What did he look like?

Well not what you might have expected that’s for sure. He was about 30, wearing a pair of jeans and a “hobgoblin” tee shirt. Definitely casual. Looked like he could have been a social worker or perhaps a programmer like myself.

Anyone sitting here?’ he said.

‘Help yourself’ I replied.

Sits down, relaxes, I ignore and back to the correspondence on genetic foods entering the food chain…

Train pulls out and a few minutes later he speaks.

Can I ask you a question?

Fighting to restrain my left eyebrow I replied ‘Yes’ in a tone which was intended to convey that I might not mind one question, and possibly a supplementary, but I really wasn’t in the mood for a conversation. ..

Why don’t you believe in god?

The Bastard!

I love this kind of conversation and can rabbit on for hours about the nonsense of theist beliefs. But I have to be in the mood! It’s like when a jehova’s witness knocks on your door 20 minutes before you’re due to have a wisdom tooth pulled. Much as you’d really love to stay… You can’t even begin the fun. And I knew, if I gave my standard reply we’d still be arguing when we got to Cardiff. I just wasn’t in the mood. I needed to fend him off.

But then I thought ‘Odd! How is this perfect stranger so obviously confident – and correct – about my atheism?’ If I’d been driving my car, it wouldn’t have been such a mystery. I’ve got the Darwin fish on the back of mine – the antidote to that twee christian fish you see all over. So anyone spotting that and understanding it would have been in a position to guess my beliefs. But I was on a train and not even wearing my Darwin “Evolve” tshirt that day. And ‘The Independent’ isn’t a registered flag for card carrying atheists, so what, I wondered, had given the game away.

‘What makes you so certain that I don’t?’

Because’, he said, ‘ I am god – and you are not afraid of me

You’ll have to take my word for it of course, but there are ways you can deliver a line like that – most of which would render the speaker a candidate for an institution, or at least prozac. Some of which could be construed as mildly amusing.

Conveying it as “indifferent fact” is a difficult task but that’s exactly how it came across. Nothing in his tone or attitude struck me as even mildly out of place with that statement. He said it because he believed it and his rationality did not appear to be drug induced or the result of a mental breakdown.

‘And why should I believe that?’

Well’ he said, ‘why don’t you ask me a few questions. Anything you like, and see if the answers satisfy your sceptical mind?

This is going to be a short conversation after all, I thought.

‘Who am I?’

Stottle. Harry Stottle, born August 10 1947, Bristol, England. Father Paul, Mother Mary. Educated Duke of Yorks Royal Military School 1960 67, Sandhurst and Oxford, PhD in Exobiology, failed rock singer, full time trade union activist for 10 years, latterly self employed computer programmer, web author and aspiring philosopher. Married to Michelle, American citizen, two children by a previous marriage. You’re returning home after what seems to have been a successful meeting with an investor interested in your proposed product tracking anti-forgery software and protocol and you ate a full english breakfast at the hotel this morning except that, as usual, you asked them to hold the revolting english sausages and give you some extra bacon.

He paused

You’re not convinced. Hmmm… what would it take to convince you?

‘oh right! Your most secret password and its association’

A serious hacker might be able to obtain the password, but no one else and I mean

NO ONE

knows its association.

He did.

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30
Apr

One Step at a Time

by adminadam in home

99% do, 1% don’t.
Do now.
Just stretch one percent of the time.
Philosophy is a way out of anxiety.
Don’t just theorize, though.
You’ve got to act.
And perfect philosophy,
is like meditation
for the anxious mind.
Lower the blood pressure
by refining your philosophy,
but take it one step at a time.
Anything worth doing,
is worth the time it takes to do it.

4
Apr

Future Shock (Minus Three)

by adminadam in art, home, quotes

From Nick Lepard, November 2008 (website)

“In my most recent work I explore notions of singularity, concepts of time and patterns of change.

Today, modernity requires that each of us navigate a blizzard of information. How this maelstrom of data is interpreted and synthesized constructs an individual’s paradigm. However, the qualities of the data are subject to a Catch-22: while the data works to describe an individual’s paradigm, an individual’s paradigm likewise works to describe the data.

With so much accessible information, yet so little certainty, are our interpretations of the world more complex or confused, more varied or more refined? Is the course of progress more accessible, or more elusive?”

http://nicklepard.com/canvas/canvas_%208%20fire.html
Telefire, by Nick Lepard

27
Mar

Future Shock (Minus Two)

by adminadam in art, articles, home, music, videos

“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

The Ways in Which We Change, by Nick Lepard

FUTURE-WISE

As we saw in Minus One, the future can be a very shocking proposition when it is extrapolated far out enough. But we all have to deal with the day-to-day just like anyone else. This, I believe, is why stuff like the iPad and it’s raved successors won’t be progressively more exciting, but less — these things won’t noticeably change our lives while the pace of innovation is so high (not that the iPad is the best representation of innovation, of course).

NOW-WISE

I just hope we can hang on if things really do get fast, like the futurists believe will happen. Say, if we have a computer that can improve itself, jump to the next generation in a year, and keep pace. If one existed, and many attempts (and approximations) are underway, then the second generation computer could spawn a third in six months. Continue this trend and by the tenth generation (around two years from initial boot-up), the thing is up to one-new-generation a day and greater. Can we even prepare for this? (Is there a possible answer here, at the Singularity University?)

THE PROGRESSION OF THE GENERATIONS

  1. One year until generation two.
  2. Six months until generation three.
  3. Three months until generation four.
  4. 45 days
  5. 22 days until a great great grandchild is born.
  6. 11.3 days until generation seven.
  7. 5.6 days
  8. 2.8 days until generation nine.
  9. 1.4 days
  10. Now it’s only 17 hours until generation 11, and it’s been roughly two years.

BUT WHAT WILL IT MEAN?

Say the first generation from above is a human-level intelligence. Just humor me. If we could, let’s also assume a doubling time of one year initially. We get to 1000 times human capacity after around 623 days, or 1.7 years. We just can’t imagine what an intelligence of 1000 times the human capacity would do, nor can we easily grasp how swiftly it would continue to evolve.

This is the essence of the singularity — not even being able to guess at what’s next when we’ve got relentlessly evolving intelligences around. Pretty vaguely, this seems to be telling us this: In the future, we are nearly equally as likely to be shocked because of our ignorance as we are to be apathetic from seeing too much change in too short a span. Indeed, these are some strange times, and the future isn’t even here yet…

SO UNTIL THEN, I SAY, EVERY DAY IS EXACTLY THE SAME

Something I felt to be perfect for these curiously-lagging-times: