This weekend there was an interesting conference in New York on the concept of singularity. I did not attend the conference, but read some reports on it. The whole idea of singularity, where the power of computer intelligence is heading up or even overtaking our own intelligence, is something I think is surely a trend that can emerge. In a way it is here already as conversational tools like Twitter will take a stronger role to connect all parts of the ecosystem we live in.
On the popsci-blog Stuart Fox concluded his visit to the summit with
Kurzweil’s presentation left me with no doubt that he was on to something. But he, and everyone else who spoke at the conference, also left me with a strong belief that no knows what that something is, or when it will really be here.
I will not go into the far views ahead, but keep with the things that are emerging now. We see of course collective intelligence in a raw way in services like Twitter and Google. We don’t need to know everything, we can always find someone else that knows.
But it gets more interesting when two layers are added. We see that more and more metadata will be added to the conversations pieces. To begin with location. Geolocation in itself is not that smart and interesting metadata, but it will become more interesting if the hotspot is connected. With services live Foursquare we see that locations will be connected to their purpose. It tells me something of I see that someone is in a church or in a club. Connect it with other available data on the event and you can deduce taste.
Add to that the analyses of moods out of the tweets and you get real rich information. Experiments are known already of course, for instance the MIT research that can predict if your are gay based on your Facebook friends.
A second layer is when for instance Twitter will not only be a conversational tool for people, it will the provider for impulses generated by real objects. We see already a lot of services that have remote control options via tweeting, but the other way around will be there. Silly example is the plant that tweets when it needs water. This will happen a lot more, where tweeting becomes a protocol for connected products, leaving trails in the cloud that can and will be used to create a smarter context.
Back to the singularity thoughts. Will Artificial Intelligence overtake us as intelligent beings? I do not know, and I don’t know if this is the important question. In the end our intelligence is not only defined by the number of connections we can make ourselves but also by our context who triggers and enhance our development.
We will start to use singularity as extension of our own consciousness, we will become smarter ourselves and divide tasks in seeing and understanding. Augmented reality as it is meant to be.