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Is Kurzweil considered a quack (crackpot) by the scientific community?

  1. Apr 2, 2010 #1
    Is Kurzweil considered a quack (crackpot) by the scientific community?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 2, 2010 #2

    Char. Limit

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    Gold Member

    Re: Singularity

    I ran a Topeka search on Kurzweil and Crackpot and got 9,600 entries, most of which seemed to be supportive, if that helps...

    EDIT: However, none of those entries seem to be from scientific sources, so you'll have to ask someone who's not a high-school student. So I can't help you I guess.
  4. Apr 7, 2010 #3
    Re: Singularity

    Kurzweil's approach is essentially unscientific and so far as I can tell makes no proclamation otherwise, so it should be out of bounds of scientific scrutiny. This doesn't mean Kurzweil is wrong, on an intuitive level it makes sense, but nevertheless the idea does not constitute of scientific methods so it is illogical to attribute scientific quackery to that which is not intended to be scientific.

    Kurzweil is a popular target for laymen but largely unacknowledged, positively or negatively, by the scientific community. Whatever opinion there is in the scientific community is largely divided with no apparent consensus. Computer sciences are far more likely to see his ideas in a positive light than biological sciences, for example.
  5. Apr 7, 2010 #4
    Re: Singularity

    The singularity was coined by Verner Vinge who is a Science Fiction author (note fiction), Kurtweil further expands that concept but it isn't his idea alone. Kurtweil does have solid technology he has championed that isn't smoke and mirrors like voice recognition software among other things. He is a broad sweeping futurist and so we won't know until the future.
    Sometimes I check out.

    I don't see how any sociological or broadsweeping futurist predictions by anyone about human culture could be considered Scientific. I find Kurtweil's ideas intriguing though.

    About singularity and technology increasing exponential: Reading the parent websight to this forum it seems like daily there are new insights to better production of and faster components for computers every day; the problem though is that you need people to put it all together and make something really sophisticated and I don't know if this is happening or if these insights are just being filed away to collect dust.

    EDIT: A good example is that new 6-core processer being touted by Intel right now... oooh six processors in one chip big f-ing deal! Doesn't it seem as if Intel could make a 24 core or a 100core etc? Why go so slow? I remember a youtube where an intel employee held up a 50 core chip. I realize there are defects when trying to make something so complicated but 6-core isn't even double from the last one! They just appear to me to have a narrow vision and bottleneck themselves on purpose for marketing. I think Moores law could easily hold for a long time from now but I don't trust manufacturers to go that fast ; they seem to not want to skip the intermediary advances so they can market all of it. They only do enough to remain competitive instead of changing the game itself.
    And don't get me started on Windows software.

    I am starting to get frustrated with the articles on Physics.org which say things like "New method increases Quantum Computers processing speed by 100" "New material so and so will allow faster computers" "CNT-anything-anything at all!" Yes I get it CNT is pure magic it can do anything... but I want to see the damn applications working now!

    How many more years till people use these improvements? Do they just sit there filed away forever as trivia?
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2010
  6. Apr 7, 2010 #5
    Re: Singularity


    I discovered something new today :)
  7. Apr 7, 2010 #6
    Re: Singularity

  8. Apr 7, 2010 #7
    Re: Singularity

    CNT Carbon Nanotubes and Graphene.

    My point is .. where is my CNT product at Best Buy? They've been around for a long time. This makes me a Tech.Sing skeptic.

    Was there really such a huge gap in time for the discovery of plastics and seeing them in the marketplace last century?

    CNT =This stuff.

    It floats because it can be lighter than air but far stronger than steel.

    It's an exciting demonstration especially when there are other clips with buzzwords like "Artificial Muscle Filament"
    But its last year.. old news. I want to see products which use this stuff now so I doubt singularity because it predicts an exponential curve for these advances. I may see great discoveries all the time mentioned on websights like this one in labs but I will truly be impressed when I see the advances brought to the market.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2010
  9. Apr 7, 2010 #8
    Re: Singularity

    Then how do YOU view Moore's law?
  10. Apr 7, 2010 #9
    Re: Singularity

    The problem in the physics community is that snobbery sometimes limits the flow of ideas. George Gamow was a respected scientist, but many of his groundbreaking ideas originated in the form of "jokes" or "casual musings".

    Anyway, I think Kurzweil's predictions have some reasoning behind them, but it mostly seems like he's afraid to die. Humanity has made "significant progress" between the years of 2000 and 2010. I doubt humanity's progression will appear to be stagnant between 2010 and 2030, or even between 2010 and 2020.
  11. Apr 7, 2010 #10


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    Gold Member

    Re: Singularity

    He has hyped to the max for decades. But the general idea of a singularity has many enthusiatic supporters within science.

    There are journals, associations and conferences exploring the idea that evolution is naturally and inevitably accelerating.

    See for example one I've been involved with - http://evodevouniverse.com/wiki/Project

    However I personally am a sceptic rather than a believer. I don't agree that technology is even close to replicating biology. And I also feel that the second law of thermodynamics will win out long before we get close to the science fiction scenarios being painted.

    Did anyone mention Tipler's Omega Point or de Chardin's Noosphere? There is a lineage of speculation here.
  12. Apr 7, 2010 #11
    Re: Singularity

    Progress in computer performance, in the general sense, not necessarily though moore's law, is undoubtedly most essential to future capability.
  13. Apr 7, 2010 #12
    Re: Singularity

    But what is to doubt in progress in technology, in the general sense?
  14. Apr 7, 2010 #13
    Re: Singularity

    I'm not sure what you mean. I can't speculate on the unknown. Some trends in technology are fairly obvious and predictable, others less so.
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