ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

"How to Create a Mind" vs "Singularity is Near"

Updated on January 16, 2016

How to Create a Mind

I've been a fan of Ray Kurzweil's writing for a few years now. My first read was on my Note 2, "The Singularity Is Near." It was, perhaps appropriately, the first e-book I had ever read, and it flowed extremely well in that format. However, it took me several months to read. For one, there was just a great deal of material presented, and many different new points of view (new to me, at least) explained, with examples abound. For another thing, I wanted the reading to last longer.

Obviously, "The Singularity is Near" is a fan favorite for articulating the concept of a technological singularity, the expansion of technological acceleration, etc to the layperson. But I think that "How to Create a Mind" may well have one-upped it in a few different ways. First of all, it's nowhere near as long as "Singularity", with very nearly as much information presented in lay terms. That is to say, you can get the gist of the concepts underlying the "Law of Accelerating Returns" (LOAR, as Ray calls it), along with exponential growth vs linear growth. Second, one of the main focuses of "Singularity" is what is now being called popularly "transcendence", and this is broken down in some detail in "How to Create a Mind", with emphasis given to where we are today (with the BRAIN initiative and the "Human Brain Project", fMRI scanning, and the current state of surgery) and where we're headed tomorrow.

"Papa Ray" on the Singularity

Vote

Will brain uploading ever occur?

See results

Exponential acceleration

The crux of the whole Singularity concept is "accelerating returns" (Kurzweil's terminology), or the concept that each innovation builds upon the previous one in order to facilitate further innovation. A great example of this comes straight from the computer industry itself: semiconductors are built with ever-increasing numbers of transistors on each chip, becoming thus smaller and smaller and cheaper and cheaper. However, there comes a limit to which humans can make a chip more efficiently. Enter CAD (Computer Aided Design). Computers are now capable of fitting far more transistors onto a single chip than human beings could ever design by themselves, and we wouldn't have CAD without the semiconductor advances themselves. The next generation of (wholly computer designed) chips will be able to design another, more advanced generation of computer chips, and so on.

Eventually, the Singularity story goes, the computers will be able to design the entire next generation of computers far more efficiently than any human, and oversee building them, and so on. As this process becomes ever more rapid, the Singularity occurs- a moment beyond which we simply cannot predict what will happen, nor understand what's going on without some kind of aid from the computers (such as brain augmentation, which is a main topic in "How to Create a Mind").

Moore's Law, the fifth paradigm

Source

The Singularity is near(ish)

I personally do believe that a technological singularity may well take place within my lifetime, but even if it doesn't occur precisely the way Kurzweil imagines it might, it certainly does pay to start having the conversation about what may be possible in the years to come. Being more prepared for any eventuality will allow us to take precautions against the inevitable brain hacking to come, and could potentially allow those of us in the know to help influence the outcome, making the technology ever more affordable and accessible to the masses of humanity. That's certainly a goal of mine.

It's time to begin discussions on what may happen when, for instance, we begin storing more and more memories in "the cloud." Hacking stories are only going to be more and more prevalent, as our very memories themselves are being stored, along with the phone numbers, emails, addresses, photos, and videos from our past that are already stored there. While there are already obvious risks with storing our information out there, people are obviously willing to trade the convenience and backup security for the risk of hacking and giving up control to others. How long will it take until we are thinking via the cloud as well, and what risks will be present at that point?

Source

In conclusion

If you're a fan of so-called transhumanism (and I dislike this word every bit as much as Kurzweil does), you'll love reading this book. If you have a friend who would like to find out more, this would make a great gift. Kurzweil breaks down the incredibly complex concepts of consciousness uploading, living in "the cloud", transcendence, and the technological singularity, into simple terms even the ordinary layman can understand. He writes with clarity and simplicity, following Einstein's famous axiom: make it as simple as possible, but no simpler. The end result is an extremely eloquent and elegant description of what's ahead for humanity. I, for one, couldn't be more excited.

Guestbook

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • TimArends profile image

      Timothy Arends 

      3 years ago from Chicago Region

      I purchased a signed hardcover copy of How To Create A Mind, along with a matching t shirt, but I still like The Singularity Is Near better because of the breadth of knowledge it covers. However, How To Create A Mind is definitely a good book too!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)