Thursday, September 25, 2014

Review: Progress Toward the Singularity

This focuses on ways in which GAIs could interact with the material world, rather than GAI itself. In either domain I make no guarantee of currency; you will note that most of these links are 2-3 years old and have presumably been developed and found application since then.

1) Automated lip reading. It's not just HAL these days.

2) Remotely reading the position of people in a room based on how our bodies distort WiFi fields.

3) Smart sand.

4) Drones through your mail slot.

5) Computers that can spot microexpressions and lies better than humans, as well as microchanges generally (color and motion changes).

6) Stock trading programs doing things that we can't understand, faster than we could even if we did - termed by researchers in Nature a "new machine ecology" of software.

7) Generation of mathematical proofs that no human understands, but which can be shown mechanically must be correct. P = NP? If we can't understand it, then for human brains, NP doesn't even equal NP!

8) Reading your mind and knowing what you're looking at; they can reproduce images from movies as you're seeing them.

9) Forget chess. They can beat everybody at rock paper scissors too, because you're a lot more predictable than you know (but not than the computer knows). The best you can do is flip coins and come to a draw.

10) A fair amount of sports print journalism has been replaced by computer-written articles already.

For now, all these technologies are very much dependent on large amounts of money and attention from humans, and are in no way self-replicating. But we should expect that those places where the most utility is derived by humans are where we see powerful (read: expensive) new technology first put into place - like the stock market, and warfare. Ask Al Qaeda, who have been getting gradually exterminated by the HKs circling over Afghanistan for over a decade. (If we don't call the first truly autonomous drones HKs, that would represent a missed opportunity.)

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