All posts tagged: Singularity

Sci-Fi Author Vernor Vinge, Who First Wrote of the AI Singularity, Dead at 79

Sci-Fi Author Vernor Vinge, Who First Wrote of the AI Singularity, Dead at 79

On Wednesday, author David Brin announced that Vernor Vinge, sci-fi author, former professor, and father of the technological singularity concept, died from Parkinson’s disease at age 79 on March 20, 2024, in La Jolla, California. The announcement came in a Facebook tribute where Brin wrote about Vinge’s deep love for science and writing. “A titan in the literary genre that explores a limitless range of potential destinies, Vernor enthralled millions with tales of plausible tomorrows, made all the more vivid by his polymath masteries of language, drama, characters, and the implications of science,” wrote Brin in his post. As a sci-fi author, Vinge won Hugo Awards for his novels A Fire Upon the Deep (1993), A Deepness in the Sky (2000), and Rainbows End (2007). He also won Hugos for novellas Fast Times at Fairmont High (2002) and The Cookie Monster (2004). As Mike Glyer’s File 770 blog notes, Vinge’s novella True Names (1981) is frequency cited as the first presentation of an in-depth look at the concept of “cyberspace.” Vinge first coined the term …

Vernor Vinge, influential sci-fi author who warned of AI ‘Singularity,’ has died

Vernor Vinge, influential sci-fi author who warned of AI ‘Singularity,’ has died

Vernor Vinge, prolific science-fiction writer, professor, and one of the first prominent thinkers to conceptualize the concepts of a “Technological Singularity” and cyberspace, has died at the age of 79. News of his passing on March 20 was confirmed through a Facebook post from author and friend David Brin, citing complications from Parkinson’s Disease. “Vernor enthralled millions with tales of plausible tomorrows, made all the more vivid by his polymath masteries of language, drama, characters, and the implications of science,” Brin writes. The Hugo Award-winning author of sci-classics like A Fire Upon the Deep and Rainbow’s End, Vinge also taught mathematics and computer science at San Diego State University before retiring in 2000 to focus on his writing. In his famous 1983 op-ed, Vinge adapted the physics concept of a “singularity” to describe the moment in humanity’s technological progress marking “an intellectual transition as impenetrable as the knotted space-time at the center of a black hole” when “the world will pass far beyond our understanding.” The Singularity, Vinge hypothesized, would likely stem from the creation …

The Singularity — When We Merge With AI — Won’t Happen

The Singularity — When We Merge With AI — Won’t Happen

Erik J. Larson, who writes about AI here at Mind Matters News, spoke with EP podcast host Jesse Wright earlier this week about the famed/claimed Singularity, among other things. That’s when human and machine supposedly merge into a… Super Humachine (?). Inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil has been prophesying that for years. But philosopher and computer scientist Larson, author of The Myth of Artificial Intelligence (Harvard 2021), says… not so fast. The podcast below is nearly an hour long but it is handily divided into segments, a virtual Table of Contents. We’ve set it at “The Fallacy of the Singularity,” with selections from the transcript below. But you can click and enjoy the other parts at your convenience. 00:00 Intro 01:10 Misconceptions about AI Progress  11:48 Bias and Misinformation in AI Models 21:52 The Plateau of Progress & End of Moore’s Law 31:30 The Fallacy of the Singularity 47:27 Preparing for the Future Job Market Note: Larson blogs at Colligo, if you wish to follow his work. And now… AI Myths – Explained by AI …

2054, Part VI: Standoff at Arlington

2054, Part VI: Standoff at Arlington

18:46 April 15, 2054 (GMT‑5) Arlington National Cemetery That night in her apartment Julia Hunt ordered in sushi and watched the coverage of Slake’s botched press conference on her living room sofa. Days later, Slake’s panicked responses to the questions about Castro’s death continued to air, and they appeared even worse on the news. Hunt raised a piece of salmon sashimi between two chopsticks as she read the chyron for the next story: Castro Autopsy Leaked on Common Sense Confirms Foul Play and White House Lies. She dropped the fish onto her lap. News of the withheld autopsy exploded. On every channel the prime-time anchors flashed printed copies of the report to the camera. They read whole sections aloud, describing the dimensions of the marble-sized mass of cells inexplicably lodged in Castro’s aorta and the excerpted transcript of the autopsy itself, in which the chief internist concluded, “This can’t be the same heart.” Within the hour, Truthers flooded the streets in cities around the country. As Hunt scrolled the channels, a news crew in Lafayette …

2054, Part V: From Tokyo With Love

2054, Part V: From Tokyo With Love

Zhao Jin cast an appraising glance at Mohammad, who moved his food around on his plate and said, “He won’t be a senator for much longer.” “No,” Zhao Jin answered. “He won’t.” “He’ll be in the White House soon.” “It would seem so.” “He won’t take Lily Bao with him,” added Mohammad. “Would Kennedy have become president if instead of Jackie he’d married a German? The daughter of Rommel or Guderian? The wounds of America’s last war remain open, and Shriver is too much of a coward to risk his political career for her. Also, there’s something else.” “What’s that?” the elder James Mohammad asked impatiently. Zhao Jin volleyed his gaze between them, as if he were weighing whether to share this last bit of information. “The sequence of code on Common Sense. In your reports, you mention concerns that it was stolen from an Okinawa-based researcher you’ve funded, a Dr. Yamamoto.” “Yes,” said Mohammad. “That’s my concern.” “Before Lily Bao set off on her own, she worked for the Tandava Group. I assume you’re …

2054, Part IV: A Nation Divided

2054, Part IV: A Nation Divided

Wisecarver stepped across the threshold. “Good morning, Mr. President.” He gave a little nod. Beneath his arm he carried a single binder. “Good morning, Trent.” Smith gestured for Wisecarver to sit with him on the sofa while Hunt and Hendrickson sat opposite. As they settled in, Julia caught Wisecarver glancing at the half dozen other binders spread across the coffee table, as if gauging the competition. The president cleared his throat. “As you all know, Speaker Wisecarver believes a unity government, in which I’d select a vice president from his party, would be in the best interests of our country …” Julia felt her godfather shift in his seat, as if he couldn’t quite stomach the idea that Wisecarver’s interest in the matter had anything to do with the country as opposed to his own naked ambition. While the president spoke, Wisecarver looked around the room, his eyes running the walls. As Speaker, he’d been in the Oval Office plenty of times before as a guest of President Castro, but he seemed to be taking …

2054, Part III: The Singularity

2054, Part III: The Singularity

Lily didn’t want to approach B.T. She thought that might seem too aggressive; instead, she wanted him to notice her. At the roulette table, he had placed his chips on black, so she’d placed hers on red, and that had been enough. “Lily Bao,” he said, a smile barging its way onto his lips as he saw her from down the table. “Why am I not surprised it’s you who found me first?” Lily was still collecting the last of her winnings. “Can I buy you a drink?” B.T. leaned over, grabbed a pair of her chips, and tossed them as a gratuity to the dealer, who nodded in appreciation. B.T. then turned toward her, his one eyebrow raised, and said, “The drinks here are free, kiddo.” They crossed the casino to the restaurant, walking arm in arm beneath its ceiling painted with kitschy Italianate frescoes and studded with security cameras, dozens of black, watchful orbs. At B.T.’s request, the maître d’ agreed to open up a closed section in order to grant them a …

2054, Part II: Next Big Thing

2054, Part II: Next Big Thing

A bloody Sunday followed. In Tucson, a Border Patrol officer fired a rubber bullet that struck a Truther protester in the eye, killing her. When the news broke, the Homeland Security secretary resigned. But a single resignation wasn’t enough. Truther activists, organized into self-styled Truther brigades, ransacked a half-dozen federal buildings from Los Angeles to Boston in one frenzied afternoon. By Monday evening a crop of resignations, from the secretary of defense to the director of Health and Human Services, had arrived on Hendrickson’s desk. As chief of staff, Hendrickson had quietly requested these resignations. He delivered them to the new president. By the end of that week, it seemed the Truthers had achieved their goal of mass resignations within the administration and their protests subsided, but a sense of crisis remained. “Sir,” Hendrickson told the newly appointed president, “we’ve stopped the bleeding, but the patient is still on the table with a weak set of vitals.” 18:22 March 19, 2054 (GMT+1) Lagos Island, Lagos This investment could blow up in his face. James Mohammad …

2054, Part I: Death of a President

2054, Part I: Death of a President

“But do you understand what you did wrong?” She struggled to look him directly in the eye. Her gaze instead fell over his shoulder, where the news was streaming live on his computer screen. Hendrickson was familiar with this posture of avoidance. Since Julia’s adoption at 9 by his old friend Sarah Hunt, Hendrickson had been a mainstay, the person Sarah called when Julia broke curfew, mouthed off to a teacher, or, on one occasion, accused her adoptive mother of being the one responsible for her parents’ deaths two decades before, in San Diego, where they—along with thousands of other migrant workers—had vanished in a flash of nuclear light, leaving no trace. Hendrickson repeated his question. He wanted an assurance that Julia understood what she had done wrong. Except that Julia knew she’d done nothing wrong. Senator Nat Shriver was vice chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, or SSCI, which everyone in DC pronounced “sissy.” Shriver had a right to read the report. 12:16 March 12, 2054 (GMT‑5) The Ritz‑Carlton, Tysons Corner Lily …

The Singularity by Balsam Karam review – a brilliant and beautiful study of displacement | Fiction

At first glance this looks like a book that might have been put together by artificial intelligence to blend reliably successful elements. One of its subjects is the very timely topic of the plight of refugees; another is questions of motherhood, as featured in two of the shortlisted titles for last year’s International Booker prize. And it comes from Fitzcarraldo Editions, the coolest publisher in town. But as it turns out, The Singularity, the second novel (and first to be published in English) by Balsam Karam, a Swedish author of Iranian-Kurdish descent, is evidence of the unique genius of human creativity. No machine could deliver the surprises, the tonal shifts and the blend of empathy and irony that make it so satisfying. And it is, not incidentally, evidence that Fitzcarraldo is fashionable because it continues to pursue its own vision through work as singular as this. The story is set everywhere and nowhere, in an unnamed coastal city divided into zones rich and poor, “half obscured by skyscrapers, and half left to the desert”. The …