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Paul Allen: Humans Will Be Smarter Than Machines For Awhile

In an editorial for TechnologyReview.com, Portland Trail Blazers owner and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen joins with computer scientist Mark Greaves to write that human beings are likely to remain smarter than machines for the foreseeable future. ------------------------------- Futurists like Vernor Vinge and Ray Kurzweil have argued that the world is rapidly approaching a tipping point, where the accelerating pace of smarter and smarter machines will soon outrun all human capabilities. They call this tipping point the singularity, because they believe it is impossible to predict how the human future might unfold after this point. Once these machines exist, Kurzweil and Vinge claim, they'll possess a superhuman intelligence that is so incomprehensible to us that we cannot even rationally guess how our life experiences would be altered. Vinge asks us to ponder the role of humans in a world where machines are as much smarter than us as we are smarter than our pet dogs and cats. Kurzweil, who is a bit more optimistic, envisions a future in which developments in medical nanotechnology will allow us to download a copy of our individual brains into these superhuman machines, leave our bodies behind, and, in a sense, live forever. It's heady stuff. While we suppose this kind of singularity might one day occur, we don't think it is near. In fact, we think it will be a very long time coming. ------------------------------- To boil this down: The robot invasion is coming eventually but don't hold your breath. -- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

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