Saturday, September 17, 2005
Accelerating Change 2005
KnowledgeBase: slides, pdfs, Q&A
John Smart. How many people have read The Age of Spiritual Machines? Half the hands go up. This is the only conference dedicated to a multidisciplinary look at accelerating technological change. We aim to move the dialogue beyond… Awareness, education, advocacy. Future Salons popping up all over.
370 people are here. World today is a network more than a hierarchy, and amazingly enough, this has come about in the last decade.
Today you’ll hear about the singularity, age of spiritual machines, Ray Kurzweil’s new book, think of ourselves as ambassadors to the future, Google OS?, AI, a new model of neural network, more connections in our brains than there are atoms in the universe, Terry Winograd on design, birds of a feather (this is a working conference).
Exponential. You hear people say “That’s exponential.” Exponential growth doesn’t last very long. Perhaps a catastrophic crash. Or the levelling off of saturation.
What if the singularity doesn’t happen? Could be a Russian roulette situation.
What will protect us from strong, predatory AI?
Soft technology, we can plan for, like we prepared for Kristina… (laughter). People intuitively think of the future as a straight-line projection of today. The Paradigm Shift rate is doubling every decade. Lots of logarithmic growth. Life at -1010. Six epochs of evolution: chem., DNA, brains, tech, tech+human intel, universe wakes up. Computer evolution similarly exponential. You must see the slides Ray's a firehose.
Informal learning note: Ray Kurzweil is easily one of the brightest people on the planet. Why then did he show us 88 powerpoint slides, almost all of them complicated graphs of exponential curves? In terms of audience comprehension, 3 or 4 slides would have been plenty. Even though I was sitting in the center of the first row, my brain seized up, and I slept through most of Ray's presentation.
The Evolution of AI Applications
“If it works, it isn’t considered AI.” (laughter) Pattern recognition, control, date interpretation, design, search, training, etc. Many ways of looking at AI.
Federated services on the web a la Kevin Kelly’s Wired article in August 05. Nanotech:matter::computing:information. Advanced molecular mfg will eventually provide personal computing devices with a billion Pentium class processors.
“What is the use of the ever-faster, ever-slicker, more nearly perfect implementation of rotten plans?” asks Stafford Beer.
Falling Water. Designed late, non-standard components, no continuous improvement. Residents lived with many bugs but were asked to take ownership of them by its authoritarian architect. Over 40 years,
Rules: Balance long and short term pragmatics. Combine new and mainstream AI tech for specific application solutions vs picking the “one best way.”
Main point of AI is for intelligence augmentation. Tools for this growing in power exponentially. Capability gap between computing capability and human capability. Foolish to bet your life on an iffy system; insane to bet the life of society at large. Forty years ago we deal with a dozen variables; now we can handle 10 million.
But systems are too complex for a personal to understand. Hence, we must cross the abstraction barrier. Property-sensitive abstractions. Scaling up and down, slicing…
Effort required for high assurance analysis. 80s: huge teams required. Now: takes an hour. We must support designer and user interaction at the right level of abstraction at the right time. Extremely powerful symbolic reasoning tools make this almost possible. We are accelerating >
AI in the middle. Machine learning. Knowledge engineering. AI in the middle.
Machine learning: don’t know how to do it.
Knowledge engineering: missing key stuff in 1991. costs $10K/page.
Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, UC Berkeley
Theoretical neuroscience seeks to understand intelligence by studying these:
- Psychology: behavior, perception/cognition, performance characteristics
- Neurobiology: neurons, neural response properties, signaling mechanisms, synaptic transmission
- Math/computer science: information, signal transformations, efficient representation
Reality is a hallucination, most of which comes from the brain and not the retina.
- Spatially invariant or specific
- Slow or fast changing
- Objects vs features/details
Chief of Engineering
“IPTV is better TV.” Broadband network for t.v., data, and telecomm. No room on the coax for a hundred channels of HDTV. Ditto satellite. Overall broadband capacity is growing fast and will dwarf traditional channels within five years; video bandwidth is declining.
Origins of tv. IP since ’70. Now many varieties. Live 8: phone-cams, commentary.
The Long Tail: Gilligan’s
University looking for mini-singularities. A new insight. Engagement in the world.
What is design?
- Professionals, e.g. interior designers.
- Set of skills learned in a common way, e.g. studios
- Methodology for working “Conversation with the materials” (Schoen), “Iterative plan-making” “Iterative user-based prototyping” “Integrative thinking”
“Enlightened trial and error is more effective than perfect intellect”
- Business (visibility)
- Human Values
Design spaces. Info posted on walls.
Eileen Clegg captures Kurzweil