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23 October 2011


Steve Frisch

Hey George, thanks for posting this. I plan to read it tomorrow. I re-read parts of The Singularity is Near while I have been traveling and I have to say Kurzweil is one of the most interesting writers and futurists of our time.

Russ Steele

Steven, that is something we can agree on, "Kurzweil is one of the most interesting writers and futurists of our time."

Bobo Bolinski

He is also a real pain to be around.

Russ Steele

Bobo Bolinski is a comic book character:


His link to to the Berkeley BEST Project web page. Therefore, it is my assessment that Bobo is an internet troll and should be ignored or removed.

RL Crabb

Are you saying cartoon characters are not real? I beg to differ. Maybe one of these days the Supreme Court will recognize us as genuine beings. Or, I could incorporate. It worked for Mickey Mouse.

George Rebane

Don't know about other cartoon characters BobRL, but you are definitely real whether incorporated or not. Nevertheless, you raise a very interesting point. Culturally, there are many American cartoon characters that are very real to many of us as 'persons' (avatars?) with coherent and continuous personalities, philosophies of life, and a continuous existence that we imagine goes on between our sampling of those lives when we read the 'funnies'. And you cartoonists, as do literary authors, provide us with those other 'people' that broaden and enrich our own lives. Keep 'em coming.

Todd Juvinall

I like Bob's cartoons but they do tend to be pretty cyncal.

I prefer Superman, especially the ones before the PC world got a hold of the man of steel. Now he does the dishes!

Steve Frisch

George I had a chance to read both articles between epic walking tours in Beijing and found them fascinating. Having read Kurzweil's book The Singularity is Near, I can certainly see his critique of Allen's critique; Allen sees to have not read the book ancd be responding to Kurzzweil 1.0.

I do find this issue of the complexity brake versus the Law of Accelerating Returns fascinating though. I know next to nothing about the brain chemistry of human cognitive function, and both articles left me wanting to learn more. However, it does seem that everytime we posit a slowing of scientific understanding in modern society we find some application of technology that allows us to overcome the barrier, whether its 3-dimensional chips, molecular level chips, or some blend of biological and artificial intelligence addressing mimicking human cognitive function, or nanotechnology addressing cancer.

At the end of the day the issue I think you and I can agree on here is that we are spenndig an inordinate amount of treasure training our people to take the previous hill and not enough on the unknown space ahead.

George Rebane

SteveF - Agreed with your preliminaries, but am not sure what all you include that resides on the "previous hill". The technical curricula now available in the leading research universities is difficult to gainsay, they pretty well have it nailed re what we see coming down the pike. However, colleges and universities are filling their non-technical curricula with subjects that 1) many of which don't belong at the university level, and 2) are university level fields for which we need an order or two of magnitude fewer graduates than we are now pumping out. All of these people will wind up occupying streets, working for government in wealth consuming jobs doing God know what, or getting a real job in the private sector that draws little/nothing from what they ran up a big debt to study in college.

In sum we must always be reminded that in these pre-Singularity years, machines will be displacing more and more humans in the workplace. The only change from that direction is through the dictates of an autocratic state that creates a uniform level of poverty through protectionism and the suppression of individual liberties. I think that is the solution being tried (Agenda 21) and offered as our future by the leading lights of the Left.

Since I see no alternative to the redistribution of wealth - but not how it is envisioned by the Left today - I would love to join a good-spirited conversation on feasible alternatives of how this could be done without tanking our Quality of Life. Europe is demonstrating that it has run out of ideas, OPM, and has no answer. I have offered a starting point in the Non-profit Service Corporation (q.v.). So how do we return to the road leading to a better tomorrow that has always been the guiding star in the American narrative?

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