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Live Science Wrote:The line between living organisms and machines has just become a whole lot blurrier. European researchers have developed "neuro-chips" in which living brain cells and silicon circuits are coupled together.
WmLambert Wrote:
Live Science Wrote:The line between living organisms and machines has just become a whole lot blurrier. European researchers have developed "neuro-chips" in which living brain cells and silicon circuits are coupled together.
My goodness! My goodness! My goodness!

This is both scary and promising.
Now wait for Al Gore to implant one with an Internet hookup....
He already did. He is the father of brain chips.
WmLambert Wrote:He already did. He is the father of brain chips.
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
It is only a matter of time before that IC chip is inserted within the body, anywhere actually, and hooked up to the neural, optic, and auditory cells. There, the body can hear, see(as in head's up Display), and calculate, all within the mind.

Need to make a call? Just mentally call them and talk to them without anyone being able to hear. Need to make a conplex computation? Just do it mentally, and have the results appear within your field of vision.

This is Great News! It greatly facilitates the Individual and personal power, at the expense of the State.
John L Wrote:It is only a matter of time before that IC chip is inserted within the body, anywhere actually, and hooked up to the neural, optic, and auditory cells.
Doubt it: tooooo mechanistic. The experiment is useful for gaining knowledge, but the scaling up to mass production is not (and probably never will be) even close. However, if one is interested in such projections, take a look at singularity and similar google hits. According to this, for example, we are only short 13 years away from .... whatever wonderful. :lol: Shock
ag, all the great Science Fiction writers envision technologies far ahead of the rest of the world... yet they were far behind the actual technological curve. Asimov wrote about huge computers with religious acolytes needed to interpret their results, and he even wrote about personal hand-held computers, although they were at least 200 years off.

The reality is hurtling at us much faster than your post allows. As Nannite technology focuses on solutions to neuro-dystrophic illnesses, why should we assume they will be unsuccessful or not create undreampt-of spin-offs?
WmLambert Wrote:ag, all the great Science Fiction writers envision technologies far ahead of the rest of the world... yet they were far behind the actual technological curve. Asimov wrote about huge computers with religious acolytes needed to interpret their results, and he even wrote about personal hand-held computers, although they were at least 200 years off.

The reality is hurtling at us much faster than your post allows. As Nannite technology focuses on solutions to neuro-dystrophic illnesses, why should we assume they will be unsuccessful or not create undreampt-of spin-offs?
Some would call me "superstitious," but these type advancements along with cloning, growing body parts, etc. ALWAYS make me think of "lying wonders" written about in the bible. I'm not condemning these discoveries, just feeling very uncomfortable about where our technology is leading us moral-wise .............and prophesy-wise.

Edited to correct spelling.
Quote:The reality is hurtling at us much faster than your post allows.
Huh? I do no think my post offers any estimation of how fast "the reality hurtling at us". :lol:
Quote:As Nannite technology focuses on solutions to neuro-dystrophic illnesses, why should we assume they will be unsuccessful or not create undreampt-of spin-offs?
As I said: too mechanistic. There is a reason why we do not fly by flapping our wings. That doesn't mean that we do not fly. :lol: :-k
ag Wrote:As I said: too mechanistic. There is a reason why we do not fly by flapping our wings. That doesn't mean that we do not fly. :lol: :-k

But what does that have to do with the price of eggs in China?
ag wrote: "There is a reason why we do not fly by flapping our wings."

Yes and no. We could if we really wanted to, but bypassed the need. It isn't a delimiting requirement which keeps us from flying. Birds fly by flapping wings, so we learned the scientific application of lift, drag, and thrust by studying them. At the time, we were unable to minimize drag to mimic hollow bird bones or create enough thrust to create the lift we needed to overcome the drag by flapping - so we improvised: first with lighter than air balloons, and then by rigid-wing gliders and more recently with powerful engines and propulsion that dwarfs the power we might get just from flapping. With today's technology, we could easily build ornithopters like the ones described in Frank Herbert's Dune, but we more or less skipped the need because technology moved faster than just mimicking Nature.

Your links to Verner Vinge's apocalyptic visions (Whoa! I almost got V for Vendetta-ish there for a moment.) are very apt - but misses its own point. Technology hurtles at us quickly - but brings with it solutions to problems we never dreamed of until they are needed and assimilated. It was said that Erasmus was the last Human being who had learned all of Man's accumulated knowledge... that after him, the exponential rise of science eclipsed Mankind's ability to process it. Yet we survived.

Mechanistic is a non-starter, a pejorative label for a benign aspect. The Universe has consistent laws that we can learn to create wonders. There is nothing we can't design and accomplish. We are rapidly approaching the cure for old-age and immortality beckons. We have already begun the migration off our lonely little planet and into the vastness of the Universe. Only goodness and light shall be upon us. Prophesying limits is just starting at shadows of what may never be.

You need a good dose of Schmaltz Bobo's Uplift Thread.
WM Wrote:...the exponential rise of science eclipsed Mankind's ability to process it.
1. How do you know that the rise is exp?
2. No process in nature fit the exp for too long. Yes, the air pressure in punctured tire fits the exp. initially. Yes, specie expanding into new niche fits the exp. initially. Yes, almost any explosion fits the exp. as well. And yes, the exp. is beautifully simple and elegant function. It just do not describe (and/or explain) any natural process after few moments from the process start.
Quote: Yet we survived.
Precisely because we do not follow the exp. :lol: There are certain things that called different names within different fields of study, like various equilibriums in natural sciences, product saturation and substitution in economics, etc. that make a naive (tech. term) exp. fit unusable. If the process eventually breaks down, it is much better described by some power law. If the process does not break down it (usually) is some kind of S-curve (or the series of S-curves).
Quote:Only goodness and light shall be upon us.
Very good. Now, where is my beautiful shirt, so I can all dress up and march in this parade? :lol:
Quote:Prophesying limits is just starting at shadows of what may never be.
One can call it "prophesysing", and one can call it different names. Like, for example, trying to find a better fit than the exp. in order to see more accurately?
:idea:
Regardless of what some may think, the era of melding computer technology, nanotechnology, and genetic engineering to humans, are 'unstoppable' forces that are going to transform the human species.

We ARE going to marry ourselves to this technology and it will be to our benefit. If you(third person) choose to deny it, that is fine. Only please step aside and allow the rest of us to continue moving forward.

I will give us about 25 more years before most of this happens, and it will revolutionize civilization as we know it. By then the IT camel will have gotten it's entire head under the tent, with more coming down the pike.
John, please consider the scales of complexity: presently doable (N)eural (N)et might have few mil. "neurons". Real NNs (aka biological "brains") have few orders of magnitude more. PLUS real neurons are much more complex than their contemporary models and the experiment your link describes is designed to reduce. PLUS there are quite few (many of them still unknown) feed-back (both + and - ) loops that allow the net to control activities (and life/death) of individual neurons.
There were few years ago (do not rem. where I saw it, sorry) some attempts to estimate the pace of development that seem to indicate possible "cusp" or "peak" sometimes around mid-century (they use power laws to do this, exp.s do not have any inflection points). If such projections are valid, than you might have your "non-biological evolution" starting point. Or "biological evolution" ending point. Or "biological" as well as "non-biological" ending point. Or "B" and "Non-B" switchover point. Or universal wellfare point, when everyone lives off food-stamps, drinks beer, having "good time" (whatever that means), do not stresses ones brain, and all supporting work is done by self-replicating, self-correcting machines in the background. :lol: As you see, there are a lot of choices, but I am sceptical that whatever choice one makes will have serious effect on the location and/or severity of disruption such a "peak" would bring. :lol:
ag, I agree with much of what you say - and perhaps the exponential curve that currently fits the rise of science and technology will not last forever. I mentioned that Erasmus was considered to be the last great thinker to have understood all of Mankind's technology. That is also probably hyperbole, because I don't know how one can ever be sure there wasn't some new technology that he hadn't encountered somewhere. The point of awarding him this sobriquet was not done by historians and philosophers to glorify him, but to note the upwardly trending curve of technology, and how from his point on - no one could ever hope to be expert in many dissimilar fields. At contemporaneous times, no one can much hope to be expert in even one small subdivison of one field without technological help - which is the key point.

We know that technology is currently exponential because it builds on what came before, and what came before is exponential. The only way this slope decreases is if Mankind drops the ball and stops using and trying to harness new technologies. If aliens attack, or an asteroid hits, or some biological killer threatens Humanity, then I can see a loss of known technology, but as Man climbs back into the saddle, the simple technology will be new again, and that exponential curve will recreate itself.

What you need to know about exponential curves are that they begin as a flat line and slowly increase. I think it is not much more than subsistence living until this slope hits the square root of greater-than-one, and then the rocket takes off. The least umpteen generations of computers have been designed by other computers. We use technology to assist us to harness technology. I predict it won't be a quarter century before bionics are in use, like John L predicts - but a much shorter time. The example I used of SF authors lagging behind reality in prophesying computers is relevant here as well. Like computers, I foresee bionic math chips first, and then memory upgrades. Both spinoffs from neuro-dystrophic research using nannites to bridge blocked neurons.

Bionic bluetooth will be impossible to tell apart from ESP.
WmLambert Wrote:At contemporaneous times, no one can much hope to be expert in even one small subdivison of one field without technological help - which is the key point.
By famous induction pretty soon there will be a point when the expert will be the one who knows everything about nothing. Don't you think that at that moment there might be at least a small hick-up in your exp.? :lol:
Quote:We know that technology is currently exponential because it builds on what came before, and what came before is exponential. The only way this slope decreases is if Mankind drops the ball and stops using and trying to harness new technologies. If aliens attack, or an asteroid hits, or some biological killer threatens Humanity, then I can see a loss of known technology, but as Man climbs back into the saddle, the simple technology will be new again, and that exponential curve will recreate itself.
Sorry, no. If you look at the entire history of technological development you will see that on a rough scale (from few decades to centuries) all types of growth curves (exp., power laws, sigmoids, even arctg) fit. If you look at finer scale there are deviations. And these deviations became more pronounced at the technological replacement points (rather epochs). The beginning of 20-th century is a good example. If you try to estimate (using past data for both parameters recovery and validation) how accurate exp. extrapolations are you will find that they are much worse than both power laws and sigmoids as well. This means that series of sigmoids (for example) with parameters tuned to a particular epoch would describe the data much better. When new technology starts to replace the old one at a particular point and the replacement proceeds with a particular velocity, you will not be able to distinguish a combination of two overlapping sigmoids from the exp. However, if there is a delay or advance, and/or different adaptation velocity within data, there is deviation from the exp. The sigmoid however, when established (at about 10% of, say, market penetration) remains extremely stable: its parameters do not change from the moment there is ~10% of technological substitution till about 90% when technological saturation begins (how many particular gadgets one can own?). Such good quality usually means that the model does capture something essential to the phenomena it designed to describe and predict. You cannot say the same about exp. See, for example, here
Quote:What you need to know about exponential curves are that they begin as a flat line and slowly increase.
This is true for all growth curves and does not make an exp. special. Its math. properties do make it somewhat unique, but that doesn't mean it should be used for long-scale fits or (especially) extrapolations.
Quote:I predict it won't be a quarter century before bionics are in use, like John L predicts - but a much shorter time. The example I used of SF authors lagging behind reality in prophesying computers is relevant here as well. Like computers, I foresee bionic math chips first, and then memory upgrades. Both spinoffs from neuro-dystrophic research using nannites to bridge blocked neurons.

Bionic bluetooth will be impossible to tell apart from ESP.
May be, may be not. Let's live and see. :-({|=
The Fisher-Pry rule seems to apply here. It is basically that new technology develops slowly until saturation reaches 20%, then exponential growth is expected.

According to a now defunct website:
Quote:Fisher-Pry is no wild hypothesis: it is impressively exact, and is well-verified in many cases, including soap and steelmaking. It has been generalized by Cesare Marchetti, [ag's link] of the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis in Austria, to the case of many competing technologies: specifically, to energy sources such as wood, coal, oil, gas and nuclear. Plugging current data into his equations, he was able to "predict" their market shares back to the beginning of this century. Right through a host of wars and a major depression - With good accuracy - In Marchetti's model, the crucial factor determining the rate of growth is how much more profitable one technology is than another.

So what? So if we peer real hard, we can see ideas as a kind of technology: they embody knowledge, lead to action, and some are better for you than others. Better ideas can make your thinking and action more efficient by conserving your leisure, just as a superior technology can save you money. So there is good reason to expect better ideas to replace worse according to Fisher-Pry. So there is good reason to expect exponential growth in the 'market share' of superior ideas, no matter how unpopular they are at first.

This is a simple idea - no need to make it as complex as Marchetti defines it. Like I said: New technologies build on old technologies in both quantity and sophistication. Of course there are leveling out points within the continuum of technology, but other new technologies arise to compensate, which keeps the overall betterment of technology increasing upward on an exponential slope. You do realize that X^1.0001 is still exponential? To counter this, technology would need to be reduced with a compensating logarithmic slope, and I have not seen that defined anywhere.
WmLambert Wrote:This is a simple idea - no need to make it as complex as Marchetti defines it.
Of course, not. Unless one wants to make quantitative extrapolations that do not deviate from future reality too much. Remeber the Club of Rome extrapolations (in 60th)? They missed the target a little and the shortages they've predicted turned out more like a glut and visa versa, but what such small potatoes between friends? Or some predictions at the height of the Appolo program about bases on the Moon any time now? Or wise sage Elrich? Or ...you can continue the list, if you wish. S1

And no, X^1.0001 is not an exponential. It is the power law with a very small power. The 1.0001^X is exponential.
Is it? An exponent is the power p in an expression of the form a^p. The process of performing the operation of raising a base to a given power is known as exponentiation. In my post I said x ^1.0001 was exponential to point out the fact that an exponential curve is not always steep.

I understand the process, and use it in Disney-style animation, where a rostrum camera is raised above the artwork in even increments, but the apparent increase in view is not linear. (If each inch lower on the tower increases the area photographed on the platen by one inch, a 24-inch wide field is decreased to a 23-inch wide field, appearing to increase in size by 24/23 or 104%. At the same rate of camera travel, when the camera is farther along in its track and much closer to the platen, the same amount of tower lowering changes the image from a 2-inch wide field to a 1-inch field, appearing to increase in size by 2/1 or 200%. This means the further you go the faster it looks.

The steady march of time is analagous to the the incremental increase in the apparent field size. Since the viewing field contains all the known technologies - and not just little isolated ones that reach fruition and stop, but then is used in some way to bolster other technologies - the increase is exponential.

To counter the ever-steepening slope of apparent image size, one most slow the tower increments on a logarithmic curve. This will then allow the apparent image size to look as if it is constant, and an animator can then hook up a new piece of artwork which is 24 times the original in detail, start over again at the 24 field, and there would be no apparent change of speed.

Since time is fairly constant, technology built on itself is exponential by definition. It is too much non-provable detail to speak of each technology having an epoch or culminating point. Taken as a whole technology is one gestalt.

But this is philosophical in nature more than mathematical. If you conjur up the fictional psychohistory of Hari Selden, Asimov's originator of the Second Foundation, his basic law was that only in Universe-wide numbers do the averages work out to be germane. Anything less than close-to-infinite numbers will have exceptions (Selden exemplified this by figuring in the Mule's complications.)

I think when considering technology in the fashion we are - that philosophy actually serves us better than pure math. It's like when Uri Geller, the magician, claimed to have ESP and telekinetic powers. He was able to fool mathematicians and scientists, but other magicians and psychologists saw around his little tricks and uncovered what the straight-line thinkers couldn't see. He actually toured the world claiming that Stanford Labs accredited him with official certification of real magic - but neglected to mention that after the labs finished their work, magicians and psychologist then took apart his testing results and showed the scientists what they missed, whereupon the embarrased techs withdrew their accreditation.

It is too easy to claim we know enough to make certain judgments - far better to be more open and search for the color on the other side of the house on the hill before claiming we know what color it is just by looking from the valley.

Alao true is the fact that an asteroid or other calamity will set us back a bit. No denying that - but in the end a new technological growth may appear, possibly on a far different slope.
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