inthenoosphere
I see a strong parallel between the evolution of robot intelligence and the biological intelligence that preceded it. The largest nervous systems doubled in size about every fifteen million years since the Cambrian explosion 550 million years ago. Robot controllers double in complexity (processing power) every year or two. They are now barely at the lower range of vertebrate complexity, but should catch up with us within a half century.
Hans Moravec (via inthenoosphere)
I am not saying more or less technology – I am saying appropriate technology. Instead of technological excess – we should have technology that is balanced with nature. Instead of replacing nature with technology – we should balance it. Instead of replacing intelligence with artificial intelligence – we should use humanistic intelligence…
Steve Mann, on the importance of discernment.

Lets not let history say that:

“first they came for the AI,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t an AI.
Then they came for the cyborgs,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a cyborg.
Then they came for the transhumanists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a transhumanist.
Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

Gabriel Rothblatt,
from “Steve Mann Assaulted at French McDonald’s in world’s first “Cybernetic Hate Crime”

Kurtzweil AI:

"Amazingly realistic digital screen characters are finally here"

[I beg to differ.]

Meet Zoe: a digital talking head. She can express a range of human emotions on demand with “unprecedented realism” and could herald a new era of human-computer interaction …

Zoe, or her offspring, could be used as a visible version of Siri, as a personal assistant in smartphones, or to replace mobile phone texting with “face messaging” in which you “face-message” friends.

[What? Why?]

The lifelike face can display emotions such as happiness, anger, and fear, and changes its voice to suit any feeling the user wants it to simulate.

Dear, sweet Jesus. Watch the video. Not because it’s “unprecedentedly realistic” but because it’s actually really frightening. The part where she recites “Don’t forget mum’s birthday!” in an angry tone… *shudder*

Oh well. WIP, I suppose.

P.S.
According to Kurtzeil’s Law of Accelerating Returns, it may be possible to see such avatars mature in just two years. Once can only hope.

But is a Virtual Artist Interesting?

Yesterday at Google’s Creative Sandbox, Ed Ulbrich of { Digital Domain } talked about the process of bringing Tupac Shakur back to life as a hologram { Pepper’s Ghost }.

Initially, Digital Domain (here on in, “DD”) was approached by Dr. Dre with the idea of creating a “virtual artist”. The rapper-cum-entrepreneur was inspired by some of DD’s work for film, involving 3D human mapping/simulation.

A series of serendipitous events later, Dre’s spark became Tupac and performed at April 2012’s Coachella. The response was massive — “Tupac Hologram” soared on Google’s search trends. People were absolutely dumbfounded and excited by an age-old effect. Pepper’s Ghost was magical again.

Since then, DD hasn’t given up on the idea of developing a computer generated star. Ulbrich prompted the Sandbox audience to "Imagine a virtual artist — one who can perform at any time, anywhere, and doesn’t have to go to rehab!”

But, to be honest, I think we want our artists to go to rehab

Ulbrich himself analyzed why Tupac was interesting: he appeared real. It seemed, for a moment, as though he had to have been “brought back” because the body was his, the voice was his, and yet, Tupac had never done a Coachella concert before. This wasn’t prerecorded. How could he be interacting with the audience and his friends on stage? The mystery made “him” something to talk about.

So how can one expect audiences to be just as wooed by an artificial being? Something created just for performance, without the real back story and struggles of a human artist? Knowing that any story or personality present are implanted to incite customers into buying into this spectacle? The show alone can’t be enough — we’re not truly interested in Lady Gaga or Bieber for their talent. We’re there for the idiosyncrasies: to see how and why these humans made the decisions they did in convincing everyone, themselves even, of their image, and to see how they’ll progress. We “want [them] to go to rehab” because we want to see how a human reacts to those decisions — to fame. We’re there for the vulnerability, because we can all relate to that.

There is one extremely successful performer I can think of who has no story, no struggle, and no reaction: Japan’s { Hatsune Miku }. Miku is essentially a bit of software with a huge world-wide following. She’s even had live tours. She has no biography nor personality, but that happens to work for a cute anime girl: her fans create their owns stories, spin-offs, etc. She’s an open-source collaboration for some, and a personal fantasy for others. And luckily for her creators, the customers keep buying into it.

But can Miku’s formula be effective in the West, particularly for something more “human”? As stated, no personality is fine for someone who’s already imaginary, with no pretense of trying to be like us. We’re able to go along with the fiction, knowing it’s just that. Yet if Miku was made to look realistically human, we’d probably have to be lied to to be OK with it. (And how long can you keep that up? Pepper’s Ghosts and holograms only work in certain conditions.) She would be a creepy, empty shell with a pretty face and a nice singing voice. After 5 minutes, the audience for that is much more limited. How can one relate to, and thus be interested in, some”one” created to be famous and comparatively perfect? Someone who never fails because they don’t actually produce anything, are backed from the beginning, and even when a wrong move is made by their strategists, it doesn’t matter because the virtual star can have no real reaction to a failure. 

Despite these problems and doubts — due to a fascination with sci-fi and futurism, and because I have no qualms about { artificiality } — I’m all for this and can readily imagine this type of entertainer in our future. I just wonder what the right concoction will be. Will we have to leave them in the realm of the fantastic in order to avoid the Uncanny Valley, both aesthetically and in terms of personality? Or perhaps { creative AI } will be a solution…?

[Artificial Intelligence] may well be the most vital of all commodities, surpassing water, food, heat and light. Without it, we will certainly not survive as a species.

One of our problems is data - masses of it. A few hundred years of scientific inquiry and the invention of the data-generating and sharing mechanism that is the internet has left reams of crucial information unused and unanalysed.

AI is not about sentient robots, but machines that mimic our organic intelligence by adapting to, as well as recognising, patterns in data. AI is about making machines understand.
Jamie Carter / Peter Cochrane, { South China Morning Post }
WHY GENERAL ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE HAS FAILED AND HOW TO FIX IT.
Excerpts from an essay by David Deutsch:

It is uncontroversial that the human brain has capabilities that are, in some respects, far superior to those of all other known objects in the cosmos.
It is the only kind of object capable of understanding that the cosmos is even there, or why there are infinitely many prime numbers, or that apples fall because of the curvature of space-time, or that obeying its own inborn instincts can be morally wrong, or that it itself exists. Nor are its unique abilities confined to such cerebral matters.
The cold, physical fact is that it is the only kind of object that can propel itself into space and back without harm, or predict and prevent a meteor strike on itself, or cool objects to a billionth of a degree above absolute zero, or detect others of its kind across galactic distances.
But no brain on Earth is yet close to knowing what brains do in order to achieve any of that functionality.
The enterprise of achieving it artificially — the field of ‘artificial general intelligence’ or AGI — has made no progress whatever during the entire six decades of its existence.

What is needed is nothing less than a breakthrough in philosophy, a theory that explains how brains create explanations 
… and hence defines, in principle, without ever running them as programs, which algorithms possess that functionality and which do not.

… Despite this long record of failure, AGI must be possible. And that is because of a deep property of the laws of physics, namely the universality of computation.
This entails that everything that the laws of physics require a physical object to do can, in principle, be emulated in arbitrarily fine detail by some program on a general-purpose computer, provided it is given enough time and memory.

Emphases mine.Abridged version via Kurzweil AI.Full version at Aeon Magazine.

WHY GENERAL ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE HAS FAILED
AND HOW TO FIX IT
.

Excerpts from an essay by David Deutsch:

It is uncontroversial that the human brain has capabilities that are, in some respects, far superior to those of all other known objects in the cosmos.

It is the only kind of object capable of understanding that the cosmos is even there, or why there are infinitely many prime numbers, or that apples fall because of the curvature of space-time, or that obeying its own inborn instincts can be morally wrong, or that it itself exists. Nor are its unique abilities confined to such cerebral matters.

The cold, physical fact is that it is the only kind of object that can propel itself into space and back without harm, or predict and prevent a meteor strike on itself, or cool objects to a billionth of a degree above absolute zero, or detect others of its kind across galactic distances.

But no brain on Earth is yet close to knowing what brains do in order to achieve any of that functionality.

The enterprise of achieving it artificially — the field of ‘artificial general intelligence’ or AGI — has made no progress whatever during the entire six decades of its existence.

What is needed is nothing less than a breakthrough in philosophy, a theory that explains how brains create explanations

… and hence defines, in principle, without ever running them as programs, which algorithms possess that functionality and which do not.

Despite this long record of failure, AGI must be possible. And that is because of a deep property of the laws of physics, namely the universality of computation.

This entails that everything that the laws of physics require a physical object to do can, in principle, be emulated in arbitrarily fine detail by some program on a general-purpose computer, provided it is given enough time and memory.

Emphases mine.
Abridged version via Kurzweil AI.
Full version at Aeon Magazine.

Robot learns self-awarenessAugust 24, 2012

“Only humans can be self-aware.”
Another myth bites the dust. Yale roboticists have programmed Nico, a robot, to be able to recognize itself in a mirror.

via { KurzweilAI }
••••••
This is huge news.
It’s not only important because “robots will need to learn about themselves and how they affect the world around them — especially people,” as stated in the original article;
this has massive implications for the way we think of ourselves, of what we are, what we can do.
There’s an argument that often comes up among laymen at any scientific gathering: that humans are “special” because we have consciousness, we recognize ourselves, we have thoughts, Minds.
While that is amazing, for the scientifically literate person it’s more like this: what we know to be “the mind” emerges from a system of integrated parts — from “bits” of information, if you like. A lot of little pieces come together into a whole synergetically, and that system-of-parts comes to “know itself” via interaction with the larger system (environment, universe). It’s incredible, but it’s not magic. It makes sense for a thing to be self-aware to some extent, if it’s to function as a whole in a world at all.
Certainly a human is very complex, but again, the complexity is an emergent property.
An illustration: It’s like the images we see on our monitors. What looks to us to be a 17th century painting, our friend, or the comic above, is just a set of cleverly arranged 1’s, 0’s, and some physical equipment that, combined, creates something that looks like an image — not like its components. An even simpler example: a Pointillist painting up close vs. far away.
So, to build a robot with this functionality is… expected, really. We should expect that “unconscious” parts can become aware if they’re built to do so.
The technology may be in its infancy, but it’s a great representation of the above (systemic perception) in action.
••••••
{ memeengine }:

I like the photo, and the idea. But… I think recognizing one’s own physical self doesn’t have much to do with self-awareness. We could train REALLY simple systems to recognize any specific shape and name it “self”.

OS RE ME:

I should have made it more clear; of course I’m stretching it here, and consciousness =/= self-recognition. It’s a baby step. But I think it’s possible to do, eventually. Most essentially, I’m referencing the idea of abiogenesis, and artificial intelligence.
But, also, do you have an example of such trainable simple systems? Curious.
Thanks!

Robot learns self-awareness
August 24, 2012

“Only humans can be self-aware.”

Another myth bites the dust. Yale roboticists have programmed Nico, a robot, to be able to recognize itself in a mirror.

via { KurzweilAI }

••••••

This is huge news.

It’s not only important because “robots will need to learn about themselves and how they affect the world around them — especially people,” as stated in the original article;

this has massive implications for the way we think of ourselves, of what we are, what we can do.

There’s an argument that often comes up among laymen at any scientific gathering: that humans are “special” because we have consciousness, we recognize ourselves, we have thoughts, Minds.

While that is amazing, for the scientifically literate person it’s more like this: what we know to be “the mind” emerges from a system of integrated parts — from “bits” of information, if you like. A lot of little pieces come together into a whole synergetically, and that system-of-parts comes to “know itself” via interaction with the larger system (environment, universe). It’s incredible, but it’s not magic. It makes sense for a thing to be self-aware to some extent, if it’s to function as a whole in a world at all.

Certainly a human is very complex, but again, the complexity is an emergent property.

An illustration: It’s like the images we see on our monitors. What looks to us to be a 17th century painting, our friend, or the comic above, is just a set of cleverly arranged 1’s, 0’s, and some physical equipment that, combined, creates something that looks like an image — not like its components. An even simpler example: a Pointillist painting up close vs. far away.

So, to build a robot with this functionality is… expected, really. We should expect that “unconscious” parts can become aware if they’re built to do so.

The technology may be in its infancy, but it’s a great representation of the above (systemic perception) in action.

••••••

{ memeengine }:

I like the photo, and the idea. But… I think recognizing one’s own physical self doesn’t have much to do with self-awareness. We could train REALLY simple systems to recognize any specific shape and name it “self”.

OS RE ME:

I should have made it more clear; of course I’m stretching it here, and consciousness =/= self-recognition. It’s a baby step. But I think it’s possible to do, eventually. Most essentially, I’m referencing the idea of abiogenesis, and artificial intelligence.

But, also, do you have an example of such trainable simple systems? Curious.

Thanks!

wildcat2030

wildcat2030:

Ronald van Tienhoven - Techno Animism

Once upon a time animism ruled people’s beliefs: both organisms and objects were imbued with a conscience. Artist Ronald van Tienhoven states that as technology closes the gap between organisms and objects, a new form of techno-animism arises.

(by nextnature)

itsturtles

itsturtles:

olena:

see also: { Is God an Alien Mathematician? }

HUGO DE GARIS: I defined these two terms rather succinctly in the { kurzweilai.net essay } so I’ll just quote those definitions here.  Deism is “the belief that there is a ‘deity’ i.e. a creator of the universe, a grand designer, a cosmic architect, that conceived and built our universe.”  Cosmism is the “ideology in favor of humanity building artilects this century (despite the risk that advanced artilects may decide to wipe out humanity as a pest).” 

I think de Garis ignores a crucial point: there had to be an origin universe, a beginning somewhere. If we assume that artilects created the universe/s, then we must also assume there had to be an original ‘artilect.’ Who made the artilect? This goes unexplained. 

…Also why the assumption that future AI will destroy us like ants? If they are indeed more complex than us (and possibly sentient), then I think they would have a more complicated reason to kill us all than irritation.

••••••

OS:

The assumption about being destroyed by our creations is not necessarily de Garis’s so much as his [somewhat satirical?] response to a wide-spread fear that we see reflected/purveyed in { pop culture }.

For a Cosmist, it’s not really an issue — partially because we don’t buy into the whole Armageddon-by-cyborg-menace thing and partially because, upon comprehending the big picture of the Universe (even at the scale we know it now: from the quantum to the intergalactic cosmos or perhaps the multi-verse), it’s hard to care so much about Humans as they are in this moment. We’re open to changing the human, to becoming trans- and eventually post-human, even if it means this race as we know it ceases to exist. [Maybe that sounds scary & needs explaining, but it’s not something I want to go further into right now.]

To the point about the “artilect” — in some sense, yes, it’s unexplained. However, that term means to refer to a conscious something that would eventually come about, either from us or from another “IGUS” (information gathering and utilizing systems — Murray Gell-Mann). An artilect and the “first creator” (“God”) could be totally different, especially if the first creator was not so much an entity as a set of conditions (/laws).

Besides that, I disagree that “there had to be a beginning”. In so far as we’re able to understand, yes it seems that way, but a series of infinite loops is also possible — even if that thought gives us a very large headache. We don’t know about that (yet?).

That considered, it’s likely that de Garis is ignoring all that purposely, for the sake of entertaining/introducing a new thought without engaging in a (at this point) useless conversation about a genesis.

…we developed a Formal Theory of Fun and Creativity that formally explains science & art & music & humor, to the extent that we can begin to build artificial scientists and artists.

Jürgen Schmidhuber

{ When creative machines overtake man }
March 31, 2012

••••••

Schmidhuber’s { Formal Theory of Creativity }.

I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but can’t wait. It sounds like deep, murky, dangerous waters he’s treading into… full of horrifying art theories and theorists :(

And yet, { I think it’s an excellent pursuit }.

{ When creative machines overtake man }March 31, 2012 by Jürgen Schmidhuber

When I was a boy, I wanted to become a physicist like my hero Einstein until I realized as a teenager the much bigger impact of building a scientist smarter than myself (my colleagues claim that should be easy), letting him do the remaining work.
…
Let me show you this pattern of exponential acceleration of the most important events in human history, which started 40,000 years ago with the emergence of Homo Sapiens Sapiens from Africa.
[an excellent timeline that you should click on the link to read about, but a bit long to re-post]
…
Now you say: OK, maybe computers will be faster and better pattern recognizers, but they will never be creative! But that’s too pessimistic. In my group at the Swiss AI Lab IDSIA, we developed a Formal Theory of Fun and Creativity that formally explains science & art & music & humor, to the extent that we can begin to build artificial scientists and artists. …

••••••
Do read on — it’s a really good piece: interesting, funny, & vastly informative.
Also watch Jürgen Schmidhuber’s lecture about { The Algorithmic Principe Behind Curiosity and Creativity }.

{ When creative machines overtake man }
March 31, 2012 by Jürgen Schmidhuber

When I was a boy, I wanted to become a physicist like my hero Einstein until I realized as a teenager the much bigger impact of building a scientist smarter than myself (my colleagues claim that should be easy), letting him do the remaining work.

Let me show you this pattern of exponential acceleration of the most important events in human history, which started 40,000 years ago with the emergence of Homo Sapiens Sapiens from Africa.

[an excellent timeline that you should click on the link to read about, but a bit long to re-post]

Now you say: OK, maybe computers will be faster and better pattern recognizers, but they will never be creative! But that’s too pessimistic. In my group at the Swiss AI Lab IDSIA, we developed a Formal Theory of Fun and Creativity that formally explains science & art & music & humor, to the extent that we can begin to build artificial scientists and artists. …

••••••

Do read on — it’s a really good piece: interesting, funny, & vastly informative.

Also watch Jürgen Schmidhuber’s lecture about { The Algorithmic Principe Behind Curiosity and Creativity }.

If you’re going to tell me that this is a “New Aesthetic” or “the first artform of the internet and … in some way the future” which, { someone is }, you can kindly fuck off.
I would have believed the above clothing to be sort of avant-garde in 1989 [if I wasn’t busy popping out of the womb], maybe even cool in 1999… but now? It’s retro, kitschy, nostalgic… And animated gifs are a medium, sure. But an art-form? Come now. Animated gifs are the { stereoscope } of our age — a sort of parlor trick.

For someone who agrees with the following [which I do, as well]:

"Every hep shop seems to be full of tweeds and leather and carefully authentic bits of restrained artisinal fashion. I think most of Shoreditch would be wondering around in a leather apron if it could. With pipe and beard and rickets. Every new coffee shop and organic foodery seems to be the same. Wood, brushed metal, bits of knackered toys on shelves. And blackboards. Everywhere there’s blackboards."— Russel Davies


"—as well as a real sense that there were new and extraordinary things and experiences in the world, like the ability to see through satellites, which we should wonder at and explore, but instead reduce to the mundane, like GPS driving directions…” — James Bridle, aforementioned agree-er

…how is it possible to peddle pixels? [Or { glass futures } for that matter.]
{ There are so many amazing things happening }. REAL, wonderful things. Finally, some little clues about understanding ourselves, our universe, our space-time-place… ideas that have the power to redefine our perception of what is, if we latch on to them. Information that can fuel our creative imaginations and { inspire us to create our future }, if we care to try understand it directly, thereby forming our own ideas/objects/etc. from the source rather than via the middleman. It’s not going to happen by being super-cool-80’s-reminiscing-guy-wearing-pixels-and-ray-bans.
</aggro>

If you’re going to tell me that this is a “New Aesthetic” or “the first artform of the internet and … in some way the future” which, { someone is }, you can kindly fuck off.

I would have believed the above clothing to be sort of avant-garde in 1989 [if I wasn’t busy popping out of the womb], maybe even cool in 1999… but now? It’s retro, kitschy, nostalgic… And animated gifs are a medium, sure. But an art-form? Come now. Animated gifs are the { stereoscope } of our age — a sort of parlor trick.


For someone who agrees with the following [which I do, as well]:

"Every hep shop seems to be full of tweeds and leather and carefully authentic bits of restrained artisinal fashion. I think most of Shoreditch would be wondering around in a leather apron if it could. With pipe and beard and rickets. Every new coffee shop and organic foodery seems to be the same. Wood, brushed metal, bits of knackered toys on shelves. And blackboards. Everywhere there’s blackboards."
— Russel Davies

"—as well as a real sense that there were new and extraordinary things and experiences in the world, like the ability to see through satellites, which we should wonder at and explore, but instead reduce to the mundane, like GPS driving directions…”
— James Bridle, aforementioned agree-er

how is it possible to peddle pixels? [Or { glass futures } for that matter.]

{ There are so many amazing things happening }. REAL, wonderful things. Finally, some little clues about understanding ourselves, our universe, our space-time-place… ideas that have the power to redefine our perception of what is, if we latch on to them. Information that can fuel our creative imaginations and { inspire us to create our future }, if we care to try understand it directly, thereby forming our own ideas/objects/etc. from the source rather than via the middleman. It’s not going to happen by being super-cool-80’s-reminiscing-guy-wearing-pixels-and-ray-bans.

</aggro>

wildcat2030
Intelligence (I) is nature’s AI. Thus, if AI were impossible, I would be impossible, too. Since I am possible and I is possible, so is AI, period. The artificial/natural distinction is an arbitrary one. Nature evolved bacteria, plants, animals, humans, social systems, and also technology. The artificial belongs to nature. The emergence of artificial brains implies not us making them so much as nature doing it yet again, just like nature evolved eyes at least tens of times independently again and again. “Artificial” nanotechnological brains exist for millions of years already; nature made them; they are called “brains”; and we may indeed tomorrow find how to copy mayor steps of this in the laboratory without understanding a single neuron, thus ending up with something very close to a human brain and its shortcomings.

highly recommended read

Robopocalypse Now

(via wildcat2030)