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Thread: "Smart Matter"

  1. #1 "Smart Matter" 
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Here is Ray Kurzweil's prediction about the ultimate fate of the universe:
    http://www.kurzweilai.net/articles/a...ml?printable=1
    (ctrl + f "smart matter")

    How exactly does matter in the universe turn into a 'calculating machine' or 'smart matter'? How is this supposed to reverse entropy? Doesn't 'smart matter' still require energy to function? I'm so confused.

    Can somebody please tell me if what Ray Kurzweil is saying is plausible, or if he is just crazy, or that we really can't tell until we try it?


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  3. #2  
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    5,305
    First off, he's taking the exponential improvement of computer memory chips and processors, to claim technology progress in general is exponential. And he figures the rate of technological change must soon reach blinding speed, a singularity where we all merge brains with godlike super-nano-computers and soar up into the heavens converting all matter we touch to exponentially accelerating supercomputing nano-goodness. Kaboom.

    IMHO history disproves Kurzweil's projection. If he had lived a century ago, he would have seen fantastic revolutions in transportation: trains, flying machines, automobiles, ocean liners, even preparations for space travel. He would have predicted that, at such exponential rate of progress, everyday traffic must casually breach sound barrier within a few decades. Jules Verne published Around the World in Eighty Days 135 years ago (when it was a good bet) and yet today overseas travel is still a costly novelty.

    Kurzweil is saying that if we can just recycle the world into tiny computers (smart matter), then it must obey the recent trend of computers, and multiply throughout the universe... since his graphs demand such quantitative growth.

    About entropy. He's saying that life opposes entropy. And I think he's right. I do guess the ultimate part life plays in the universe is to combat entropy, even if it means big-banging sections (oops?) from time to time. I reckon that takes billions of years of evolution and expansion "in the field" though, not the singularity-in-your-lifetime blip Kurzweil wants.


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