Paul Allen: The Singularity Isn't Near


Sat, Oct 15th, 2011 21:00 by capnasty NEWS

According to futurists Vernor Vinge and Ray Kurzweil, the singularity is that point in time where machines will be faster and smarter than human beings and where it will be impossible to determine "how the human future might unfold after this point". Talks about transferring one's own consciousness into a computer are not uncommon.

However, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and AI scientist Mark Greaves don't think that the singularity will arrive at around 2045 as Kurzweil has famously calculated.

From the article in Technology Review:

This prediction seems to us quite far-fetched. Of course, we are aware that the history of science and technology is littered with people who confidently assert that some event can't happen, only to be later proven wrong -- often in spectacular fashion. We acknowledge that it is possible but highly unlikely that Kurzweil will eventually be vindicated. An adult brain is a finite thing, so its basic workings can ultimately be known through sustained human effort. But if the singularity is to arrive by 2045, it will take unforeseeable and fundamentally unpredictable breakthroughs, and not because the Law of Accelerating Returns made it the inevitable result of a specific exponential rate of progress.



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