Feeds

BBC abandons science

And falls into singularity-shaped hole

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Errors began to tumble out faster than we could record them (using our unaugmented v1.0 brains). The program couldn't decide what was meant by "mind" and what was meant by "brain" - so it used the terms interchangeably.

Humans have a concept of the mind that's about 4,000 years old (although about 3,900 years younger in the West) and it's generally understood to encompasses alot more than mere circuitry, such as experience and values. By making the dishonest, rhetorical leap from "mind equals brain", to "brain equals mechanical, determistic computer", lots of speculation followed. But the program makers needed to create this short-circuit, because they couldn't have made "Human 2.0" at all without it. Or at least it would have been very different.

Swayed by the easy seductions of the cult, the program makers made transferring consciousness look as simple as swiping a supermarket loyalty card - which merely demonstrated how little they valued the human mind, or, for that matter, the rational processes that permit us to create machanics.

Some errors were minor, but telling.

A black-and-white photograph of Intel's Gordon Moore - presumably intended to suggest he was dead, although Gordon is still very much alive - accompanied a claim that "computers were doubling in power every year". But Moore claimed nothing of the sort - he merely observed that the number of transistors on a given surface area was doubling every 18 months. The obvious reason why computers don't "double in power", except in theory, even every 18 months, wasn't mentioned.

Our software is getting worse rather faster than our computers are getting more powerful - which means the much-vaunted "singularity" is receding, rather than approaching. It's getting further away. With software getting dumber, the whole program seemed to support Jaron Lanier's observation about the Turing Test - "we make ourselves stupid in order to make the computer software seem smart."

The corollary had already been demonstrated. Our understanding of the "mind" is so universal and profoundly valued, you have to be fantastically clever (or an Anglo-American philosopher) to make it disappear.

No matter, the BBC told us, we'd be as good as there. We'd soon we'd able to, "download thoughts, store memories, [and] interface with machines."

Creepy child, courtesy of BBC's Horizon

Having made mind and brain interchangeable, the program makers could use other deceits. Maps of neural activity from a monkey playing a game showed, we were told, that computers could "read thoughts".

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
Relive the death of Earth over and over again in Extinction Game
Apocalypse now, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that ...
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.