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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This week I saw three pieces of news that greatly interested me (yes, I know that some of them are old news, but I only saw them this week).

At first, there's an editorial by the well-known physicist Freeman Dyson, about the end of the Darwinian era. I've been talking about this on the forums for a while, but nobody paid atention :p

This editorial, Darwinian Intelude , can be found at Technology Review. Just an excerpt:

Now, after some three billion years, the Darwinian era is over. The epoch of species competition came to an end about 10 thousand years ago when a single species, **** sapiens, began to dominate and reorganize the biosphere. Since that time, cultural evolution has replaced biological evolution as the driving force of change. Cultural evolution is not Darwinian. Cultures spread by horizontal transfer of ideas more than by genetic inheritance. Cultural evolution is running a thousand times faster than Darwinian evolution, taking us into a new era of cultural interdependence that we call globalization.
On the same vein, it seems like a Los Alamos scientist got $5 million to build an artificial life-form, able to reproduce and possibly evolve. Read the news here: Life Built to Order . And it'll not be a mere Frankenstein, built from other organisms' parts. It'll be a novel lifeform, built from scratch. I think we'll finally see a demonstration of Dawkins's "evolution of evolvability" concept.

And last, but not least, it seems like Peter Voss , from Adaptive AI Inc. will finally begin his efforts to build a true Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). He expects a team of up to 50 people, and 4 years of work. If he succeeds, the world will never be the same. In fact, life as we know it will end, for better or for worse. According to his News Page :

The Next Phase
I’m happy to report that the last three years’ efforts have propelled our project to a point where a new, bold initiative is warranted.

Having satisfied ourselves that we’ve cracked the key issues required for building a system with general intelligence, we are ready to move beyond our current exploratory (internal) proof-of-concept prototype, and to embark on the extremely ambitious task of actually building a fully functional, high-level AGI. We estimate that this will require a team of up to 50 people, and about four years.

In order to properly showcase our approach and technology to future strategic partners, we are dedicating the next several months to the development and construction of a demonstration system. We are currently working on its specification.
Yes, we're plunging headlong into the future, notwithstanding the conservatives.

Well, I expect to see the know-nothings that the media loves to contact popping up to say that a) artificial life is impossible OR b) artificial life forms will lack souls, therefore will be incomplete beings. Needless to say that both propositions are preposterous, but... whatever.
 

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Knowledge is the solution
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O_O.... simply incredible... what I expected to happen in 20 years may as well happen in less than 10!

For the first editorial, this may as well teach something to those that pose arguments which try to bind everything in human life down to everyday morals to Darwinian evolution.

The second one might as well negate non-evolutionary theories once and for all.

The third one may signify the forbringing of the singularity to our own lifespans :xomunch:

Thanks Boltzmann, you have made my day :bounce:
 

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Well, my jaw has hit the floor...*blinks*

The third piece is what I find truly amazing. No doubt that the future of human evolution is going to be greatly affected by the evolution of machines. I for one can't wait to see where this road leads us. :yippee:

Proto, Boltz, have either of you read Ray Kurzweil's The Age of Spiritual Machines? I know you'd both be into it. (Though I've only read the first couple of chapters.) Fascinating! ;)

My dear science geek minions; where would this forum be without you?
 

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Nu...
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Long live progress!

Can someone please tell me when a emulator for the AGI will run on my computer? I would really like to show it to my friends this weekend! :evil:
 

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Fascinating.. I absolutely love reading about topics like this! Boltz and Proto make NGemu a much more interesting place to come to nowadays.:) Long live the acquisition of knowledge and progress!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Proto said:
For the first editorial, this may as well teach something to those that pose arguments which try to bind everything in human life down to everyday morals to Darwinian evolution.
Yep, I agree. I'm always making the point that even if evolution shaped many of our moral instincts, we're not bound to them. We can do better than natural selection.

Proto said:
The second one might as well negate non-evolutionary theories once and for all.
Indeed, and also dispell all those puny metaphysical notions about a "vital force", "soul" or whatever it is that people can come up with.

Proto said:
The third one may signify the forbringing of the singularity to our own lifespans :xomunch:
I sincerely hope so. BTW, Peter Voss is a true Singularitarian. Take a look at his homepage and you'll see that he speaks about hard take-offs too (the Singularity taking a matter of days to happen, after the first superintelligence is created).

aerith099 said:
The third piece is what I find truly amazing. No doubt that the future of human evolution is going to be greatly affected by the evolution of machines. I for one can't wait to see where this road leads us. :yippee:
If the Singularitarians are correct, machine evolution will surpass human evolution by far, and we'll all be living in a non-biological substract, sooner or later. And I agree with you, it's truly amazing ;)

aerith099 said:
Proto, Boltz, have either of you read Ray Kurzweil's The Age of Spiritual Machines? I know you'd both be into it. (Though I've only read the first couple of chapters.) Fascinating! ;)
Yes, I've read almost everything by Kurweil. That guy is a genius.
I've read The Age of Intelligent Machines , The Age of Spiritual Machines (which is a great book, as you noted), I've recently bought, but not yet read Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever .

And, even more relevant to the topic, I'm eagerly awaiting his forthcoming book The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology . Too bad that this book will be available only in august.
 

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Great links Boltzmann! I love gobbling up all your links, they always are a great read.
 
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