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How to survive the real threat to our future

Posted in Geek on Tue 08 May 2012 by Andy

Zombies? Come on now. Dead people walking about? It's never going to happen. The real way we're going to get whooped is when the robots rise up against us. Not just the traditional two legged kind either; your fridge is going to be half a robot before you know it, trying to eat your children. Run in zig-zags and aim for the knees!

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Are you living in a computer simulation?

Posted in Interesting on Mon 07 May 2012 by Andy

We know that computers are getting more powerful every year. Moore's law states that the transistor count doubles approximately every two years – this has held mostly true for half a century. What happens when our computers become so powerful that we can simulate human consciousness? One argument is that it may have already happened.

There’s actually been a philosophy paper written about this topic at Oxford University. The paper basically argues that if a “post-human” civilization exists, and they were interested in running simulations of other humans, they would be doing it already. The probable likelihood is that civilizations destroy themselves before they manage to reach this post-human status... but what if they don't destroy themselves and they are interested in running simulations? If we had that much computational power it seems likely that we would attempt such a simulation. It could be that we're already in one.

We can take it one step further... Could it be that we’re in a simulation ran by simulated post-human people? There could be a string of simulations all leading back to one post-human society. Just what level of simulation might we be on? Any computer in a post-singularity world would be sufficiently powerful to run a limitless amount of simulations, each happening at an incredible speed. The cycle of an entire universe and its entire population could be simulated in just a few seconds and with it an endless spiral of simulations creating many multiple levels of consciousness.

We could be a consciousness stuck in an eternal loop of simulation. Stick that in your bible.

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ReRAM

Posted in Tech on Tue 21 Feb 2012 by Andrew Hillel

Imagine a computer without loading times. You might be thinking solid state hard drives are the answer but whilst they definitely speed things up, they still can't match the speed of random access memory.

The problem with RAM is that it is volitile. This means that, whilst it is extremely fast, it loses everything as soon as you turn your computer off. ReRAM is as fast as RAM and is non-volatile – meaning it can be used for storage as well as system memory.

There have been major advancements in recent years which mean we could see such a technology hitting the consumer markets within our lifetime at least. Storage speed is still the major bottleneck in modern computers, even with the advent of SSDs. Once system memory and on board storage is merged though, everything will load almost instantly leaving only computationally intensive tasks taking time to process.

The fact that SanDisk, amongst others, are jumping on the technology suggests that the technology has a decent chance of hitting the mainstream, even if it is only as a form of flash memory to start with.

With major advances such as this (and others, most notably involving transistors) on the horizon I can’t help wonder how long before Moors’s Law is broken; surely it is only a matter of time.

We can only hope. The singularity beckons, bagsy the first super computer brain uploady device thing.

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