Worth a Look: Singularity Summit & Building a Brain

Worth A Look

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UPDATE of 20 August 2010.

While most of PZ Myers’ comments (in his blog post entitled “Ray Kurzweil does not understand the brain” posted on Pharyngula on August 17, 2010) do not deserve a response, I do want to set the record straight, as he completely mischaracterizes my thesis.

For starters, I said that we would be able to reverse-engineer the brain sufficiently to understand its basic principles of operation within two decades, not one decade, as Myers reports.

Phi Beta Iota: We remain skeptical but also appreciative of the endeavor proposed by Ray Kurzweil.  His rant, and the critique that inspired it, both merit reflection.  For now, we stick with Jim Bamford’s take on Technology versus the Human Brain.

The Mind and How To Build One

August 12, 2010 by Ray Kurzweil

At the Singularity Summit in San Francisco at 11 AM on Saturday August 14, Ray Kurzweil will present an overview of “arguably the most important project in the history of the human-machine civilization”: to model and reverse-engineer the brain, with the goal of creating intelligent machines to address the grand challenges of humanity. He prepared the following statement on his talk at the conference.

Phi Beta Iota: This is arrogance squared–the same kind of arrogance that assumed we could savage the Earth for two centuries without needing to understanding the system of systems or true costs of our misbehavior.  As much as we respect–and need– the Singularity gang, if only to provide stimulating diversity, what we should be focusing on right now is a mix of connecting and educating every one of the five billion poor at the same time that we revitalize the educational system of the one billion rich.

See Also:

Review: The Singularity Is Near–When Humans Transcend Biology (Hardcover)

Review: Radical Evolution–The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies — and What It Means to Be Human (Hardcover)

Review: On the Meaning of Life

Review: Philosophy and the Social Problem–The Annotated Edition

Review: The Greatest Minds and Ideas of All Time

Review: The Lessons of History

Review: The Story of Civilization [Volumes 1 to 11] (Hardcover Set 1963-1975)

and the Book Lists.