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Video Interview with Vernor Vinge at Los Con 39

Recently while at Los Con, I was privileged to do an interview with science fiction icon Vernor Vinge, who’s ideas has done much to further serious discourse around Machine Intelligence.
Vernor Vinge is well known Hugo Award-winning novels and novellas A Fire Upon the Deep (1992), A Deepness in the Sky (1999), Rainbows End (2006), Fast Times at Fairmont High (2002) and The Cookie Monster (2004), as well as for his 1984 novel The Peace War. Vernor Vinge is celebrated for his groundbreaking 1993 essay on the idea of the “Singularity,” called “The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era.” – in which he argues that the creation of superhuman artificial intelligence will mark the point at which “the human era will be ended,” such that no current models of reality are sufficient to predict beyond it. – http://mindstalk.net/vinge/vinge-sing.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tngUabHOea0

Vinge is an emeritus professor of mathematics at San Diego State University and considered one of the worlds greatest science fiction writers: a five-time winner of the Hugo Award, science fiction’s most prestigious honor! Vinge’s stories explore themes including deep space, the future, and the singularity, a term he famously coined for the future emergence of a greater-than-human intelligence brought about by the advance of technology.

This interview covers topics ranging from the Technological Singularity itself, how the concept came to Vernor, the metaphor implied by the Singularity, Evolution, Humans as goal setting creatures, similarities between the rise of artificial intelligence and the rise of humans within the animal kingdom, definitions of the Singularity, biasing the odds of a beneficial Singularity, strategic forecasting, scenario planning, narratives, education, future studies, how possibility shapes the future, utopias and dystopias, what do we want from the future?, missed opportunities to achieve great things in the past and what may we be missing out on if we don’t make the right choices today.

Vinge is an emeritus professor of mathematics at San Diego State University and considered one of the worlds greatest science fiction writers: a five-time winner of the Hugo Award, science fiction’s most prestigious honor! Vinge’s stories explore themes including deep space, the future, and the singularity, a term he famously coined for the future emergence of a greater-than-human intelligence brought about by the advance of technology.

Interview conducted at Los Con 39 – http://loscon.org/391/ #loscon
November 23 — 25, 2012 — LAX Marriott Hotel — Los Angeles, California

Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended.
—”The Coming Technological Singularity” by Vernor Vinge, 1993

Vernor Vinge’s ‘First Word’ on the Singularity – Omni 1983

An article in the January 1983 edition of OMNI Magazine titled ‘First Word’ by Vernor Vinge introduced the idea that the ever-accelerating evolution of computer intelligence itself might soon produce ‘a kind of singularity’.

This was Vernor’s first in-print fling at the Singularity. For context, Vinge’s novella ‘True Names’ (which addresses the concept of a technological singularity) was published in 1981 preceding Gibson’s ‘Neuromancer’.

Vinge suggests that inevitable technological singularities in intelligent civilizations represented the most logical explanation for the “vast silence” in space, commonly known as the Fermi’s Paradox (Enrico Fermi 1950).

“We are caterpillars, soon to be butterflies, and when we look to the stars, we take the vast silence of other races transformed.”

“We will soon create intelligences greater than our own.
When this happens, human history will have reached a kind of singularity, an intellectual transition as impenetrable as the knotted space-time at the center of a black hole, and the world will pass far beyond our understanding.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zMAiGcDHG8

 


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