the singularity institute vs. weird things

The Singularity Institute has been reading Weird Things and they have some objections...

brain with glasses

You may remember my post on the businesses of evangelizing the concept of the technological Singularity in which humans will become immortal hybrids of man and machine. On its own, it’s a very good idea, upheld as a perfectly legitimate goal for medical professionals and tech experts. In the next few hundred years when the technology to radically extend lifespans can be built and reliably tested. Not something that will magically appear in the next few decades and should be preached for a fee or used to sell something verging on quack medicine at exorbitant prices. My stance is that technology isn’t a magical panacea, but a means to an end.

Well, one of the post’s readers happened to be Michael Vassar, the president of the Singularity Institute which hosts the Singularity Summit mentioned as an example of charging fees for futurology lectures. And he’s not exactly thrilled with what he read, though not for the reasons you may expect. In fact, he says that many of my criticisms of what Ray Kurzweil and Pete Diamandis preach are perfectly valid. However, he thinks I missed a few crucial points and he’d be more than happy to send me some detailed replies in the next few weeks.

It’s true that both of us are techies and both of us believe that technology can be leveraged to do great things, but we work into two different realms. Vassar’s realm is that of high brow theory and brainstorming. My focus tends to be practical implementation driven by a need to solve complex problems. Where he looks for a way to invent something new or push the limits of computers, I look for a way to direct that power into solving clients’ needs. So if you’ve been following my articles on the Technological Singularity and AI, you definitely don’t want to miss the upcoming nerd fight… err, I mean a series of debate posts on these concepts…

update: the Singularity debate round one, round two and round three.

# tech // ray kurzweil / technological singularity / transhumanism

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