Gems from "The Singularity is Near"

I’m currently reading The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology by Ray Kurzweil. It contains an optimistic perspective on the outcome of the ever-increasing rate of technological progress. Here are some gems I discovered wile reading.

Pure randomness becomes predictable in its pure lack of predictability.

The chaos provides the variability to permit an evolutionary process to discover more powerful and efficient solutions.

Innovation is multiplicative, not additive.

Move the smallest bit upwards in level of intelligence, and some problems will suddenly move from “impossible” to “obvious.” Move a substantial degree upwards, and all of them will become obvious.

There are no hard problems, only problems that are hard to a certain level of intelligence.

That our intelligence is just above the threshold necessary to understand itself results from our native ability, combined with the tools of our own making, to envision, refine, extend, and alter abstract—and increasingly subtle—models of our own observations.

The key to the scalability of human intelligence is our ability to build models of reality in our mind. These models can be recursive, meaning that one model can include other models, which can include yet finer models, without limit.

Operations of thought are like cavalry charges in a battle—they are strictly limited in number, they require fresh horses, and must only be made at decisive moments.Alfred North Whitehead

The basic learning paradigm used by the brain is an evolutionary one: the patterns of connections that are most successful in making sense of the world and contributing to recognitions and decisions survive.