I don't get excited about the singularity the way some on Science 2.0 do (and certainly elsewhere) though I admire the optimism. So when I got an email from a publicity person at PBS about NewsHour Science Correspondent Miles O’Brien’s report on the upcoming match between Jeopardy masters Brad Runner, Ken Jennings and the super computer Watson I had to wonder if this would lead to more claims about an upcoming singularity and exponential leaps in artificial intelligence.
While many in America were happy about the collapse of the Mubarak government, they were likely happy for the wrong reasons. Optimists, it is said, are people who do not learn from experience and the toppling of a dictator in Egypt looks a lot more like Iran in 1979 than it does America in 1776.
But regardless of the irrational optimism of many in the political spectrum, plenty of scientists are going to be happy that protesters have now turned their sights on Zawi Hawass,
a man who could only have gotten his job in a dictatorship and wielded his position just like one.
Online dating is mainstream big business, we all see television commercials for any number of sites catering to any number of interests - but do they work?
Nothing says science like Valentine's Day and we are positively littered with articles on neuroscience, chemistry and social aspects of romance. Really, we cover it all.
Not sure who to date? Garth Sundem answers it in The Valentine's Day Man-O-Meter
. Be sure to take it as gospel because he never just makes stuff up. If you need even more help than that, here is his Ultimate Valentine's Day Toolkit.
Last year I attended a singularity conference and Ray Kurzweil's avatar predicted it was 25 years away. Well, it's been 25 years away for a long time. It's a nice, safe number, close enough that no one gives up and stops buying books (global warming will happen in 100 years, for example) and not so close anyone looks silly (Al Gore saying in 2006 that we were doomed in 10 years, for example) it if doesn't happen.
In 1993, for example, Vernor Vinge said "Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended."
In the ongoing concern about future generations not being as intelligent as prior ones, due to computers, video games and what not (in my day it was calculators that would lead to brain rot) the many examples of creative people doing things we never would have thought of are lost.
I can't go to the pharmacy cold medicine aisle and buy Drixoral these days - I instead have to go the pharmacist and sign some document to get it and I finally, owing to the need to buy some every three years or so, asked the pharmacist why. Turns out young people had discovered that they could make crystal meth or something from it. Amazing. I would never have thought of that, and I am usually the smartest guy in any room I enter. I just used it to cure sniffles.