24/7 Customer Service (800) 927-7671

The funny things happening on the way to singularity

by • April 8, 2016 • No Comments

John HauerCrunch Network Contributor

John Hauer is the CEO of Get3DSmart.com

More posts by this contributor:

How to join the network

People frequently ask me of the impact of 3D printing on jobs. Will the technology be a job creator or destroyer? The short answer is, it can take additional jobs than it manufactures — and 3D printing is not alone.

Technology can a few day manufacture work obsolete. Our big problems are going to be figuring out how to survive the transition, and so figuring out what to do with all that free time.

The singularity

About 10 years ago, inventor, futurist and now Director of Engineering at Google Ray Kurzweil famously embraced the concept of “the singularity” — that moment in time when machine intelligence surpasses our own. Kurzweil predicted the singularity may occur by 2045, and man and machine may become inseparable.

Given the relationship most folks have with their smartphones, you may argue it’s may already taking place.

For most folks, the singularity conjures up one of two themes: Some envision a Terminator-like world, where the machines are in control; others have a additional utopian vision, where robots do all the work while folks enjoy other, additional relaxing pursuits.

Both are distinct possibilities; that scenario manifests itself depends on us.


Who does not want additional transparency, right? Life may be a whole lot simpler if governments, religions, businesses and others may just be honest. Just imagine what we’d learn if the doors to the U.S. Government’s National Archives or the Vatican Library were thrown wide open. A lot additional than we know in these days, that is for sure.

But secrets exist for a reason. They’re an advantage to the states, sects and other organizations that preserve them. For people, they’re in fact additional valuable. They allow us to project an image that is various of who we truly are.

In the age of singularity, does any of that quite matter?

Computing power go ons to grow. Moore’s Law dictates that systeming speed doubles every 18 months. But, there’s in addition an exponential impact.

What are we doing with all that power? It utilized to take years of man hours to sequence DNA, and the cost was staggering. Look what’s happened over the past 15 years:


Source: National Human Genome Research Institute

Advancements in quantum technology may hustle us way past the current pace. But what does any of this have to do with transparency?

Computer technology is advancing to the point where it can soon become quite complex to store a secret. Not just is additional data being collected in additional places, but the algorithms requireed to find, index and system all that information go on to improve.

That data is being utilized in all sorts of informative ways. Not just does it allow police to select the next for crime and other high-risk in factts, it in addition may assist predict when, where and how those crimes can occur.

But at what point does technology go of being predictive to becoming entrapment or, worse, a self-fulfilling prophecy?

Where do we draw the line?

Some of the world’s brightest folks, which include Bill Gates and Elon Musk, ponder artificial intelligence has the next to be quite harmful to humanity.

Stephen Hawking unquestionably falls into the Terminator camp. In a new letter he wrote,

“it can just be a matter of time” preceding AI technology reveryes a point where it can deploy autonomous weapons capable of “assassinations, destabilizing nations, subduing populations and selectively killing a particular ethnic group.”

This is not your average ordinary doomsday prophet, it’s Stephen-Freaking-Hawking!

With advantageous data comes advantageous diagnosis

Whether the intelligence is human or artificial, it all begins with access to data. If the goal was to target a specific group for instance, that group may initially require to be synonymous. Sadly, that may most likely be relatively effortless with all the data on the market online; ironically, much of it is self-reported via social media.

Machines can be advantageous at math, science and engineering than we can.

But consider an alternative scenario. Let’s say you are quite sick and go to the emergency room. The hospital uses artificial intelligence to diagnose your symptoms. In real time, machines scan your DNA, review your medical history and analyze your significant signs.

AI can diagnose the problem much swifter and additional accurately. Plus, doctors work insane hours, seeing an average of 80 patients per week. Machines never get tired.

If your life was at stake, may you want machines to have access to your private, very own information? In either of the scenarios above, it may may already be too late.

Privacy matters

The battle between privacy and transparency wages on. Encryption, net neutrality and other related issues are daily news. But if it’s a war, we are like double agents — and that side we take depends.

The Internet of Things is the next frontier. A expanding number of smart devices — of phones to cars, TVs and refrigerators — are being manufactured and sold to consumers. The pitch is convenience.

Consider the Nest thermostat. Consumers buy them so they can additional accurately control the temperature in their home — and they can do it remotely via an app. But that thermostat is a sensor, and it’s connected to Internet, sharing its data.

In that instance at very least, we are caning to donate up a few privacy for the convenience of automation. But is transparency quite a benefit?

Just imagine if our energy use was totally transparent. Whilst that can have a positive impact on overall consumption, it may in addition turn it into a few quite weird scenarios. Just imagine playing golf with your buddy and he says, “Saw you had your thermostat set to 65 last night. You know, if you set it at 70 or 72 instead…” that is right of the time you threaten to brain him with your 5 iron.

Automation’s break-in fact point

“You can kill it with labor, or you can kill it with technology.” It is a phrase I’ve uttered so most times in my career, I should print it on the back of my business card.

What most folks don’t get, yet, is that there is always a break-in fact point — and I mean a specific number — when it manufactures additional sense to kill it with technology.

Years ago I was working with a 2D printing company. They were expanding their sales, but were experiencing a common bottleneck: order management. Here’s how it got solved. They had a meeting and asked customer service how most orders they may system every day. The customer service manager said she insisted on reviewing every order that came in the plant. The sales manager asked how most orders she may review every day. She said, “of 30.” The sales manager turned to the CEO and said, “Great, I’ll go tell the salesfolks not to take additional than 30 orders a day.”

Thirty was the number. Soon after, they automatize

It is not just a software thing, either. Hardware decisions go the same way. Before digital, the 2D printing system typically involved additional than 30 steps and requireed 20 various folks. It was inefficient.

You can kill it with labor, or you can kill it with technology.

When folks began to print on demand, order dimensionss begined to minimize. The decision of whether or not to buy a digital press came down to a number. When the average order value at a print shop minimized to a sure amount, they may no longer afford inefficiency. They had to act.

The amount was $500; when their average order dimensions dipped at a lower place that, they automatize

To do it, they requireed streamlined systemes, advantageous technology and fewer folks. In a few cases, the combination of digital hardware and software assisted reduce the system of printing to four steps that may be accomplished by just one man.

It is not just the printing industry. Fast-food workers demand higher wages, and swift-food restaurants begined experimenting with self-service kiosks.

YONGE STREET, TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA - 2015/05/27: The technology invading business to save jobs: Macdonald's self ordering kiosk installed in a assembling. (Photo by Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images)

YONGE STREET, TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA – 2015/05/27: The technology invading business to save jobs: McDonald’s self-ordering kiosk installed in a assembling. (Photo by Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Many may argue $15 per hour is the number. Above that, they’ll automatize

Killing it with technology

In the abstract, everybody gets it. But when the pink slips begin flowing, things get very own.

Thousands of jobs were lost as the printing industry migrated of “killing it with labor” to “killing it with technology.” Companies that resisted the transition perished. The industry consolidated and, as a outcome, in these days there are a lot fewer print shops.

Those that remained were forced to become additional productive.


Fewer shops with fewer employees, operating at a higher level of productivity. The smart ones in fact began measuring their progress.

Let’s say you are a $10 million shop with 50 employees. Your average productivity per employee is $200,000. How may you improve? Hire advantageous folks, provide advantageous training, improve your business systemes and leverage technology wherever possible. As a outcome, perhaps you complete $300,000 in productivity.

If you were successful, you may grow to $12 million without adding another body! Or, you may satisfy you current book of business with 12 fewer employees.

We’re all being automatize

Consider the trucking industry for a moment. Autonomous vehicles may soon have a massive impact. Operating costs over a truck’s lifetime (of 600,000 miles) may drop by of half via self-driving trucks versus rigs driven by folks.

Even if folks are yet in the cab, the impact of technology may be massive. Driver-safety aids alone may save billions in accidents, fines and other costs.

Again, machines don’t get tired.

The pace is accelerating

It is not just the pace of technology, but in addition the pace of adoption. The iPhone was introduced less than 10 years ago. Now just about 2 billion folks of the world have smartphones. It took the PC 25 years to become that pervasive.

Just imagine if you got in your car in the next and a notice was flashing on your screen that said, “new showcases have been installed.” Overnight, via a software download, the developer updated your car so that it may drive additional-or-less autonomously. What may you ponder?

Well, it in fact happened. Last October, Tesla broadcast a software update that gave owners the faculty to drive on “Autopilot.” Soon after, a Tesla was driven cross-country in fewer than 60 hours — and was driven autonomously 96 percent of the time. In a few cases, as much as 40 minutes went by without a driver touching the steering wheel.

pasted image 0

Source: Tesla

Designing for the next

Should I assume my 2015 Ford Fusion to obtain such an update? No, it’s too mechanical. Even yet the desktop in my car systemes additional lines of code than all the desktops in the world combined just 50 years ago, it does not have the sensors and control necessary to enable semi, much less fully, autonomous driving.

But Tesla laid down the gauntlet, and now the auto industry is spending billions to catch up.

Should machines break the law?

It is an significant question to address as machines become additional autonomous; instinctively, we’d say no, they shouldn’t break the law. But how of this example. You’re riding in an autonomous car and it’s getting on the freeway. The manually driven vehicles are all driving 75 MPH in a 55 zone. Does the autonomous car speed up to merge, and in the system break the law, or does it take on to merge at the speed limit. If the latter, I imagine the next for road rage goes up significantly.

I’ve talked to additional than a few folks who suggest that autonomous vehicles may have their own lanes, or be geo-fenced a fewhow. Whilst that may work in the long term, there is a massive transition between and so and now. The average car is on the road for 11 years. It can be at very least 20 years preceding autonomous cars outnumber human-driven vehicles.

Surviving the transition

Will man and machine battle it out, or can we revery the utopian vision of man unshackled of work? It comes down to how we handle the transition.

Take the minimum wage for example. Yes, $15 an hour can be the catalyst, but in fact if it remains at the current, federally mandated $7.25 an hour, a few, if not all of those jobs can a few day be automatize

A while back, the CEO of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., Andy Puzder, created the case for why his company was experimenting with self-service kiosks. He said, “You’re going to see automation not just in airports and grocery stores, but in restaurants.” He introduced that machines are,“always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex, or race discrimination case.”

I’d in addition note that machines don’t eat swift food. Who does, right? Well, ironically, most of the 20,000-plus Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.’s employees, for beginers.

Beyond them, amazingly, it’s not as much the poor as it is the lower-middle and middle class. At incomes above $60,000, swift-food patronage begins to taper off. But, according to a not-so-new Time article, it’s in addition “well built that low-income neighborhoods tend to be “food deserts” — where fresh, whole foods are scarce and where the bulk of on the market food is the high-fat, high-sugar stock of convenience stores.”

By eliminating lower-income jobs, the industries that are most ripe for automation may in addition be eliminating their most customers, and that is not sustainable.

The 7 Ps

After hundreds or thousands of years of assembling, leaders of a few civilizations begined to see a require for urban planning. The Romans were master planners. Here in the United States, one of the earliest examples was the Grand Model for the Province of Carolina.

Originally drafted by John Locke, it greatly influenced the development of Charleston, South Carolina, one of other places. His urban plan provided detailed standards for block dimensions, lot dimensions, street width, waterfront setbacks and other standards. Arguably, it set the tone for modern planning and zoning ordinances here in the U.S.

Planning for singularity

Even back and so, Mr. Locke knew that piss-poor planning promotes piss-poor performance. It appears additional obvious every day that man and machine are rapidly assimilating. The transparency that is inherent in technology can a few day destroy privacy. Automation can a few day eliminate the require for human labor. There’s a short window of time between and so and now. We require a master plan for how we will manage the disruption that goes along with it.

Technology can a few day manufacture work obsolete.

People require to know what’s coming and must be made. They’ll require new skills. We’ll require new financial models. Some have suggested a Universal Basic Income. They believe the increases in productivity that come with automation can generate the affluence necessary to pay for it. They in addition contend that with that kind of economic security, we will all become artists, poets and playwrights.

Maybe so, but right now we are training our kids for the opposite. We’re emphasizing science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Whilst those skills can be necessary to get us to the point of singularity, they’re in addition ripe for obsolescence once we are there. Machines can be advantageous at math, science and engineering than we can.

If all of this in fact takes place in 2045 as Mr. Kurzweil predicted, a child born in these days can be 30 years old and can have the next to live forever. Maybe the big question and so is, what can they do with all that time?

Featured Image: Alexander Kirch/Shutterstock

Latest posts

by admin • March 5, 2017