The Singularity is coming..... how shall we react? It's a tremendously thought provoking topic and with an overlay of it's impact on Global Financial Analysis and the Global Financial Markets.... it may well prove
a fertile Agora of both the intellectual aspects as well as the Financial implications and ramifications of
this new Age and undertaking launched on our 241 American Birthday.
The agora (/'æg?r?/; Ancient Greek: ????? Agorá) was a central public space in ancient Greek city-states. The literal meaning of the word is "gathering place" or "assembly". The agora was the center of athletic, artistic, spiritual and political life of the city. The Ancient Agora of Athens was the best-known example.
( I am thinking that this thread head shall under, numerous revisions as we gain clarity from the technology innovations which will continue to provide continuing greater insights as to how we get from here to there,
and also as the key companies involved ... NVDA is my initial Dark Horse as a main player in this evolution .... However, you shall see from the first post that I make that NVDA, as well positioned as it: is likely fully valued for the peak earnings of the GPU cycle of 2019 ( which is really as far out as we can reasonably see)
In talking with Glenn Petersen and a few of the other heavy technology and heavy intellectual lifters and seers on SI over the past couple of Months it's come to my attention that SI has threads that discuss,
1) A I and Machine Learning--- which is still building out the Deep Leaning and Inferencing that is NVDA
( a portion of their portfolio of businesses)
2) Robotics , Drones and Glenn commenting that he has been beefing up the Autonomous vehicle aspect
of the thread.
3) SI have threads that address developments in Biotech, Longevity, Life extension and related medical topics
4) Glenn since June 4th has done a great job of rolling out a thread on a Unified Basic Universal Income.
5) The massive engagement with Space 2.0 or 3.0 that SpaceEx, Richard Branson and many others are all going on. The US Government ha just in the past day or so reconvened a US Space council which last meet in 1993, but is desperately needed as many governmental oversight and a court of dispute resolution when it comes who owns what levels of space the higher we move above the world...
and the concept of Asteroid mining ...while several years in the future is every bit as wild west as these
850 Cryptocurrencies, which are lacking basic protocols of standardization and really should have some
level of oversight by someone!
6) We have several threads dealing some aspects of the interdisciplinary study that is occurring in all of these fields.... It seems that no one has yet to attempt... what may be as supreme act of Hubris in trying to create a Grand Unified Theory that interlaces and attempts to develop a cohesive narrative of how all of these technologies and are coming together and More importantly... where shall they be taking us.... over the coming 1, 3, 5 10 years and beyond ( and in all honesty even looking out past 3 years is full of so much conjecture and alternate realities and alternate possibilities.
7) These 850+ Cryptocurrencies are another manifestation of the exponential launching of these many elaborate and diverse disruptive technologies.. There are several companies that are at Ground Zero
of the intersection of all of this .... and several are the usual suspects, the GOOGL's, FB, MSFT, AAPL, BIDU, BABA, AMD, a series of names.... one of the companies that is as the vortex of much of this is NVDA and be the initial company that has maneuvered itself into High end Gaming...from their legacy, business...which feeds into Virtual reality, Data storage Centers and Cloud Computing companies that are all currently using NVDA GPU's
in their Clouds... Autonomous driving where NVDA's GPU's withe their visualization and triangulation capabilities are helping to rapidly advance this game changing initiative.
8) the Kuda Programming Language, the architecture that it lays upon and the ability of to engage in
"Deep Learning has opened up a potential competitive edge to NVDA the past year or so.
"The key is to see why the GPU market separated from the CPU and turned into such a huge phenomenon. It is all about thread-counts and parallel processing.
The CPU and the GPU are both processing units. At its most basic level though, the CPU is a master of serial complexity. It is optimized to have a small number of “threads” at any given time, with performance in these threads at an extremely high-level to take care of all the different programs, websites and other things you may have open on your machine. It is focused on low latency and is the central “brain”.
The GPU on the other hand is optimized to perform a very large number of relatively basic steps in parallel. It is focused on high throughput. This is mostly vector shading and polygons - input a vertex to the graphics pipeline and then reassemble it into triangles.
To avoid overstepping my own competence level, it is the difference between ability and rote memorization. GPUs in that sense are teaching for the test…"
(this part is some of the thoughts from my first post here on this nascent thread)
The sheer horsepower with which a GPU can do menial operational labor is astounding though! These are the trillions of floating-point operations per second known as "flops".
In graphics processing terms, the more tflops, the more polygons the GPU can draw all over the screen. But as the GPU moves beyond graphics to take on general-purpose computation, it has added significance.
This is due to the nature of vector arithmetic; and it is the "arbitrary code" mentioned earlier. The applications of big data and artificial intelligence discussed above all rely on intense mathematical operations such as matrix multiplication, the Fourier transform, etc. That is the nature of deep-learning.
The value-add in being able to construct computational frameworks though has all been at the software layer. These are frameworks such as Torch, Theano, & Caffe. But in order to use the frameworks, arbitrary data will need some form of standardization - hence an API - and the application interface layer in this case was CUDA. Many of these popular frameworks were based around code for Nvidia GPUs.
This is how CUDA became the engine of deep learning. It brought niche frameworks over to the mainstream, and it is why Nvidia is leaning on it extremely hard. It is the same walled-garden type of approach that Intel(NASDAQ: INTC) takes on x86, Microsoft on Windows, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) with iOS, etc.
It is a risky strategy though, and it is why I go so far as to say CUDA is the difference between a generational growth stock and a bubble.
The Future is Decidedly ASIC ( and we will look at what GOOGL is building from
the ground up)
The problem is these applications are no longer niche. They are huge, and of enormous consequence to some of the largest technology companies in the world.
The core numerical frameworks these companies are working with were built around CUDA, but most are open-source.
What I am hoping is that when Gleen , FUBHO, SAM,Bob Furman, Jack Straw, kidl, Savant, Sr, K, SI RON, The OX, Eric L richardred, Gottfried etc. are posting articles on the various SI threads that are dealing with many different but connected aspects of this 800 ton Elephant, they can also post a second post on this thread and we can collectively endeavor to try to assess how the parallel, overlapping and in some cases leapfrogging technologies are getting us from the here and now to the promised land of the future. This collectively impacts the build-out of the technology and equally important... that Valuations of the companies involved.
Hopefully we can also develop a deep discount list of some buy levels for these companies to take advantage of serious market sell offs which always have occurred periodically in the past and will continue to do so as we move forward.
The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology is a 2005 non-fiction book about artificial intelligence and the future of humanity by inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil.
The book builds on the ideas introduced in Kurzweil's previous books, The Age of Intelligent Machines (1990) and The Age of Spiritual Machines (1999). This time, however, Kurzweil embraces the term the Singularity, which was popularized by Vernor Vinge in his 1993 essay "The Coming Technological Singularity" more than a decade earlier. 
Kurzweil describes his law of accelerating returns which predicts an exponential increase in technologies like computers, genetics, nanotechnology, robotics and artificial intelligence. Once the Singularity has been reached, Kurzweil says that machine intelligence will be infinitely more powerful than all human intelligence combined. Afterwards he predicts intelligence will radiate outward from the planet until it saturates the universe.
(I do have to say that these predictions were eloquently made in the mid 1970's by Robert Anton Wilson and Dr. Timothy Leary... and they even got some of the key dates right... such as when the acceleration into this age occurred.... right on schedule.... On Dec 21, 2012... when the Mayan calandar, it appears to have quite accurately forecast us moving into this "new Age" when AI, Machine Learning, Deep Learning, and a number of these other technologies have coalesced when the hardware, software and conceptualization of much of this exponential growth really started to come into focus.
Exponential growth[ edit]Kurzweil characterizes evolution throughout all time as progressing through six epochs, each one building on the one before. He says the four epochs which have occurred so far are Physics and Chemistry, Biology and DNA, Brains, and Technology. Kurzweil predicts the Singularity will coincide with the next epoch, The Merger of Human Technology with Human Intelligence. After the Singularity he says the final epoch will occur, The Universe Wakes Up. 
Kurzweil explains that evolutionary progress is exponential because of positive feedback; the results of one stage are used to create the next stage. Exponential growth is deceptive, nearly flat at first until it hits what Kurzweil calls "the knee in the curve" then rises almost vertically.  In fact Kurzweil believes evolutionary progress is super-exponential because more resources are deployed to the winning process. As an example of super-exponential growth Kurzweil cites the computer chip business. The overall budget for the whole industry increases over time, since the fruits of exponential growth make it an attractive investment; meanwhile the additional budget fuels more innovation which makes the industry grow even faster, effectively an example of "double" exponential growth. 
Kurzweil says evolutionary progress looks smooth, but that really it is divided into paradigms, specific methods of solving problems. Each paradigm starts with slow growth, builds to rapid growth, and then levels off. As one paradigm levels off, pressure builds to find or develop a new paradigm. So what looks like a single smooth curve is really series of smaller S curves.  For example Kurzweil notes that when vacuum tubes stopped getting faster, cheaper transistors became popular and continued the overall exponential growth. 
Kurzweil calls this exponential growth the law of accelerating returns, and he believes it applies to many human-created technologies such as computer memory, transistors, microprocessors, DNA sequencing, magnetic storage, the number of Internet hosts, Internet traffic, decrease in device size, and nanotech citations and patents.  Kurzweil cites two historical examples of exponential growth: the Human Genome Project and the growth of the Internet. Kurzweil claims the whole world economy is in fact growing exponentially, although short term booms and busts tend to hide this trend. 
Computational capacity[ edit] Moore's Law predicts the capacity of integrated circuits grows exponentially, but not indefinitely. Kurzweil feels the increase in the capacity of integrated circuits will probably slow by the year 2020.  He feels confident that a new paradigm will debut at that point to carry on the exponential growth predicted by his law of accelerating returns. Kurzweil describes four paradigms of computing that came before integrated circuits: electromechanical, relay, vacuum tube, and transistors.  What technology will follow integrated circuits, to serve as the sixth paradigm, is unknown, but Kurzweil believes nanotubes are the most likely alternative among a number of possibilities:nanotubes and nanotube circuitry, molecular computing, self-assembly in nanotube circuits, biological systems emulating circuit assembly, computing with DNA, spintronics(computing with the spin of electrons), computing with light, and quantum computing. 
Since Kurzweil believes computational capacity will continue to grow exponentially long after Moore's Law ends it will eventually rival the raw computing power of the human brain. Kurzweil looks at several different estimates of how much computational capacity is in the brain and settles on 1016 calculations per second and 1013 bits of memory. He writes that $1,000 will buy computer power equal to a single brain "by around 2020"  while by 2045, the onset of the Singularity, he says same amount of money will buy one billion times more power than all human brains combined today.  Kurzweil admits the exponential trend in increased computing power will hit a limit eventually, but he calculates that limit to be trillions of times beyond what is necessary for the Singularity. 
The brain[ edit]
Exponential Growth of Computing
Kurzweil notes that computational capacity alone will not create artificial intelligence. He asserts that the best way to build machine intelligence is to first understand human intelligence. The first step is to image the brain, to peer inside it. Kurzweil claims imaging technologies such as PET and fMRI are increasing exponentially in resolution  while he predicts even greater detail will be obtained during the 2020s when it becomes possible to scan the brain from the inside using nanobots.  Once the physical structure and connectivity information are known, Kurzweil says researchers will have to produce functional models of sub-cellular components and synapses all the way up to whole brain regions.  The human brain is "a complex hierarchy of complex systems, but it does not represent a level of complexity beyond what we are already capable of handling". 
Beyond reverse engineering the brain in order to understand and emulate it, Kurzweil introduces the idea of "uploading" a specific brain with every mental process intact, to be instantiated on a "suitably powerful computational substrate". He writes that general modeling requires 1016 calculations per second and 1013 bits of memory, but then explains uploading requires additional detail, perhaps as many as 1019 cps and 1018 bits. Kurzweil says the technology to do this will be available by 2040.  Rather than an instantaneous scan and conversion to digital form, Kurzweil feels humans will most likely experience gradual conversion as portions of their brain are augmented with neural implants, increasing their proportion of non-biological intelligence slowly over time. 
Kurzweil believes there is "no objective test that can conclusively determine" the presence of consciousness.  Therefore he says nonbiological intelligences will claim to have consciousness and "the full range of emotional and spiritual experiences that humans claim to have";  he feels such claims will generally be accepted.
Genetics, nanotechnology and robotics (AI)[ edit]Kurzweil says revolutions in genetics, nanotechnology and robotics will usher in the beginning of the Singularity.  Kurzweil feels with sufficient genetic technology it should be possible to maintain the body indefinitely, reversing aging while curing cancer, heart disease and other illnesses.  Much of this will be possible thanks to nanotechnology, the second revolution, which entails the molecule by molecule construction of tools which themselves can "rebuild the physical world".  Finally, the revolution in robotics will really be the development of strong AI, defined as machines which have human-level intelligence or greater.  This development will be the most important of the century, "comparable in importance to the development of biology itself". 
Kurzweil concedes that every technology carries with it the risk of misuse or abuse, from viruses and nanobots to out-of-control AI machines. He believes the only countermeasure is to invest in defensive technologies, for example by allowing new genetics and medical treatments, monitoring for dangerous pathogens, and creating limited moratoriums on certain technologies. As for artificial intelligence Kurzweil feels the best defense is to increase the "values of liberty, tolerance, and respect for knowledge and diversity" in society, because "the nonbiological intelligence will be embedded in our society and will reflect our values". 
The Singularity[ edit]
Main article: Technological singularity
Countdown to the Singularity
Kurzweil touches on the history of the Singularity concept, tracing it back to John von Neumann in the 1950s and I. J. Good in the 1960s. He compares his Singularity to that of a mathematical or astrophysical singularity. While his ideas of a Singularity is not actually infinite, he says it looks that way from any limited perspective. –
During the Singularity, Kurzweil predicts that "human life will be irreversibly transformed"  and that humans will transcend the "limitations of our biological bodies and brain".  He looks beyond the Singularity to say that "the intelligence that will emerge will continue to represent the human civilization." Further, he feels that "future machines will be human, even if they are not biological". 
Kurzweil claims once nonbiological intelligence predominates the nature of human life will be radically altered:  there will be radical changes in how humans learn, work, play, and wage war.  Kurzweil envisions nanobots which allow people to eat whatever they want while remaining thin and fit, provide copious energy, fight off infections or cancer, replace organs and augment their brains. Eventually people's bodies will contain so much augmentation they'll be able to alter their "physical manifestation at will". 
Kurzweil says the law of accelerating returns suggests that once a civilization develops primitive mechanical technologies, it is only a few centuries before they achieve everything outlined in the book, at which point it will start expanding outward, saturating the universe with intelligence. Since people have found no evidence of other civilizations, Kurzweil believes humans are likely alone in the universe. Thus Kurzweil concludes it is humanity's destiny to do the saturating, enlisting all matter and energy in the process.  
As for individual identities during these radical changes, Kurzweil suggests people think of themselves as an evolving pattern rather than a specific collection of molecules. Kurzweil says evolution moves towards "greater complexity, greater elegance, greater knowledge, greater intelligence, greater beauty, greater creativity, and greater levels of subtle attributes such as love".  He says that these attributes, in the limit, are generally used to describe God. That means, he continues, that evolution is moving towards a conception of God and that the transition away from biological roots is in fact a spiritual undertaking. 
Main article: Predictions made by Ray Kurzweil
Kurzweil does not include an actual written timeline of the past and future, as he did in The Age of Intelligent Machines and The Age of Spiritual Machines, however he still makes many specific predictions. Kurzweil writes that by 2010 a supercomputer will have the computational capacity to emulate human intelligence  and "by around 2020" this same capacity will be available "for one thousand dollars".  After that milestone he expects human brain scanning to contribute to an effective model of human intelligence "by the mid-2020s".  These two elements will culminate in computers that can pass the Turing test by 2029.  By the early 2030s the amount of non-biological computation will exceed the "capacity of all living biological human intelligence".  Finally the exponential growth in computing capacity will lead to the Singularity. Kurzweil spells out the date very clearly: "I set the date for the Singularity—representing a profound and disruptive transformation in human capability—as 2045". 
Reception[ edit]Analysis[ edit]A common criticism of the book relates to the "exponential growth fallacy". As an example, in 1969, man landed on the moon. Extrapolating exponential growth from there one would expect huge lunar bases and manned missions to distant planets. Instead, exploration stalled or even regressed after that. Paul Davies writes "the key point about exponential growth is that it never lasts"  often due to resource constraints.
Theodore Modis says "nothing in nature follows a pure exponential" and suggests the logistic function is a better fit for "a real growth process". The logistic function looks like an exponential at first but then tapers off and flattens completely. For example world population and the United States's oil production both appeared to be rising exponentially, but both have leveled off because they were logistic. Kurzweil says "the knee in the curve" is the time when the exponential trend is going to explode, while Modis claims if the process is logistic when you hit the "knee" the quantity you are measuring is only going to increase by a factor of 100 more. 
While some critics complain that the law of accelerating returns is not a law of nature  others question the religious motivations or implications of Kurzweil's Singularity. The buildup towards the Singularity is compared with Judeo-Christian end-of-time scenarios. Beam calls it "a Buck Rogers vision of the hypothetical Christian Rapture".  John Gray says "the Singularity echoes apocalyptic myths in which history is about to be interrupted by a world-transforming event". 
The radical nature of Kurzweil's predictions is often discussed. Anthony Doerr says that before you "dismiss it as techno-zeal" consider that "every day the line between what is human and what is not quite human blurs a bit more". He lists technology of the day, in 2006, like computers that land supersonic airplanes or in vitro fertility treatments and asks whether brain implants that access the internet or robots in our blood really are that unbelievable. 
In regard to reverse engineering the brain, neuroscientist David J. Linden writes that "Kurzweil is conflating biological data collection with biological insight". He feels that data collection might be growing exponentially, but insight is increasing only linearly. For example the speed and cost of sequencing genomes is also improving exponentially, but our understanding of genetics is growing very slowly. As for nanobots Linden believes the spaces available in the brain for navigation are simply too small. He acknowledges that someday we will fully understand the brain, just not on Kurzweil's timetable. 
Reviews[ edit] Paul Davies wrote in Nature that The Singularity is Near is a "breathless romp across the outer reaches of technological possibility" while warning that the "exhilarating speculation is great fun to read, but needs to be taken with a huge dose of salt." 
Anthony Doerr in The Boston Globe wrote "Kurzweil's book is surprisingly elaborate, smart, and persuasive. He writes clean methodical sentences, includes humorous dialogues with characters in the future and past, and uses graphs that are almost always accessible."  while his colleague Alex Beam points out that "Singularitarians have been greeted with hooting skepticism"  Janet Maslin in The New York Times wrote "The Singularity is Near is startling in scope and bravado", but says "much of his thinking tends to be pie in the sky". She observes that he's more focused on optimistic outcomes rather than the risks. 
Film adaptations[ edit]In 2006, Barry Ptolemy and his production company Ptolemaic Productions licensed the rights to The Singularity Is Near from Kurzweil. Inspired by the book, Ptolemy directed and produced the film Transcendent Man, which went on to bring more attention to the book.
Kurzweil has also directed his own adaptation, called The Singularity is Near, which mixes documentary with a science-fiction story involving his robotic avatar Ramona's transformation into an artificial general intelligence. It was screened at the World Film Festival, the Woodstock Film Festival, the Warsaw International FilmFest, the San Antonio Film Festival in 2010 and the San Francisco Indie Film Festival in 2011. The movie was released generally on July 20, 2012.  It is available on DVD or digital download  and a trailer is available. 
The 2014 film Lucy is roughly based upon the predictions made by Kurzweil about what the year 2045 will look like, including the immortality of man.