The Singularity Summit drew a wide range of people from around the globe. There were technology companies hoping to spread brand recognition, quasi-spiritual sojourners looking for a new clue to the secret of immortality, and serious academics interested in cutting edge in artificial intelligence.
We asked them if they're looking forward to the Singularity's hypothesized robot takeover.
In addition to highlighting some of the people I met at the conference, I would also hope that you readers will take this opportunity yourselves to answer the questions I posed to the conference goers.
In the comment section, please feel free to share what excites you about the Singularity, what worries you about the coming man/machine merger, or any other opinions you might have about the ideas discussed in this, and previous, articles. I look forward to hearing what you all have to say.
Launch the gallery here, and see all of our coverage from the 2009 Singularity Summit here
I think everyone must realize that possibility of creating a human-like artificial intelligence in the future actually depends on whether God is really exists or not.
Because if God exists that would mean human soul is exist, so even if we copy a human brain perfectly into a computer simulation, it would not work because it would not have a soul.
So a serious attempt of copying human brain in the future, actually maybe the ultimate test for whether the God exists or not.
The only trouble I could see about that would be this: Are we able to prove the existance of our own souls? What is the definition of such? For that matter, are we able to prove or disprove a soul in other beings than ourselves? How about pets? Trees? Couches? The problem with attempting to define the soul is that we are trying to likewise define a god, or at least act under the impression that a god would act in ways that are identifiable to us. In that vein, regardless of whether we are able to produce thinking machines or not, we are not in any position to label it with or without a soul. The same goes even for humanity.
This has nothing to do with the soul. Or god.
The question of whether a human-level artificial "mind" can be created or not has nothing to do w/ existence of God or soul?
Just like evolution theory also has nothing to do w/ God? :-)
I think the assertion above that "If God exists that would mean human soul exists" is not really conclusive. If you are equating inherit benevolence with the existence of God (if the "code" of the universe skews towards compassion and altruism) that is an understandable assertion. I don't see a direct correlation between that and the existence of a "soul". Can anyone please clarify if I'm not understanding?
Existence of God and human soul is closely related because of this:
In most major religions existence of soul has foundational importance. They either directly say it or clearly imply it because of life after death beliefs and so on.
Unless of course, if you think maybe God exists but none of the religions on Earth is the true religion, then that is a separate issue. (A God that created the Universe but who does not care what is going on inside? No afterlife? No Judgment?)
We will have implants + such long before we create something that resembles human intelligence. I think it will go as far as specialized limb replacement (such as they could replace your arm with something completely dissimilar to an arm to suit a special function) before we get there.
The only way I can think of to disprove God is to find a way to wake the dead (or at least their brain) and see if the consciousness comes back.
Talking heads in a jar a-la "futurama", here I come.