Steve Morris

It’s Future Day: Happy Tenth Millennium!

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The Ancient Greeks had a word for the largest number that they could conceive of. It was the myriad and it meant literally ten thousand. Coincidentally, that’s roughly the age of human civilization. So today, on Future Day I’m celebrating civilization’s first myriad. Ten thousand years ago was the beginning of the Neolithic period, sometimes called the Anthropocene period – the era in which humans would begin to exert a permanent and profound influence over their environment. Prior to this, the fate of the planet was […]

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Why The Future Will Be Funnier Than You Think

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What do you think the future will be like? It might be a shiny utopia where human suffering no longer exists and we are free to live meaningful, creative lives limited only by the power of our imaginations: Why did the post-human superintelligence cross the road? I can’t say. You wouldn’t comprehend the answer. Or things might take a horrible turn for the worse: Knock, knock! Who’s there? Armageddon! Armageddon who? Armageddon out of here! No one knows. But I bet that the future will be […]

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Mind Uploading and Identity

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Like many of you here, I saw the recent interview on Singularityweblog with Dr Natasha Vita-More about her idea of the Whole Body Prosthetic. The article raises many interesting questions, not least what it would mean to have an uploaded mind and a physical body, whether natural or prosthetic. In this article I want to explore some of these ideas, in particular what identity means for an uploaded mind. Identity and continuity The idea of uploading a mind to a supercomputer is commonplace in singularity discussions. […]

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You and I, Robot

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Isaac Asimov in his novel I, Robot, famously proposed the three laws of robotics: 1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. 2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. 3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws. But I don’t think this is a […]

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A Mathematical Proof of the Singularity

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The author, inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil has written about the technological singularity, a time when he predicts things will change so rapidly that he likens it to a mathematical singularity. In particular, he postulates the invention of an artificial intelligence capable of re-designing itself, which will inevitably lead to ever-faster progress. To back up his theory, Kurzweil likes to show exponential curves representing the ever-faster development of computer processor performance, the price of transistors, DNA sequencing costs and such like. But just how mathematically rigorous is […]

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Are we on the brink of catastrophe?

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Choose your favourite catastrophe – climate change, asteroid strike, killer pandemic, nuclear war, malevolent artificial intelligence, a black hole created in the Large Hadron Collider, etc, etc. There are so many potential threats to our existence, one of them is bound to happen, right? Well, no. The thing is, humans have always lived on the brink of catastrophe. Ice ages, famines, supervolcanoes, the Black Death, world wars, HIV/AIDS. Any one of these could have destroyed civilisation or even humanity. Why didn’t they? It can’t have been […]

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Is Science The New Latin?!

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So the Pope (@Pontifex) is tweeting in Latin. And apparently without any hint of self-mocking irony. It hardly feels like a progressive move. One of the big problems of Christianity in the Middle Ages was that most copies of the Bible were written in Latin. Although Biblical texts underpinned the prevailing belief system, only a tiny elite of educated people was able to read those texts. If you can’t access the source of your knowledge of the world, you can’t question it and you become enslaved […]

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