There is in fact a lot of activity going on in a rock
How Smart Is a Rock? To appreciate the feasibility of computing with no energy and no heat, consider the computation that takes place in an ordinary rock. Although it may appear that nothing much is going on inside a rock, the approximately 1025 (ten trillion trillion) atoms in a kilogram of matter are actually extremely active. Despite the apparent solidity of the object, the atoms are all in motion, sharing electrons back and forth, changing particle spins, and generating rapidly moving electromagnetic fields. All of this activity represents computation, even if not very meaningfully organized. We’ve already shown that atoms can store information at a density of greater than one bit per atom, such as in computing systems built from nuclear magnetic-resonance devices. University of Oklahoma researchers stored 1,024 bits in the magnetic interactions of the protons of a single molecule containing nineteen hydrogen atoms.51 Thus, the state of the rock at any one moment represents at least 1027 bits of memory.
We are still the masters of our fate. Rational thinking, even assisted by any conceivable electronic computors, cannot predict the future. All it can do is to map out the probability space as it appears at the present and which will be different tomorrow when one of the infinity of possible states will have materialized. Technological and social inventions are broadening this probability space all the time; it is now incomparably larger than it was before the industrial revolution—for good or for evil.
The future cannot be predicted, but futures can be invented.
It was man’s ability to invent which has made human society what it is. The mental processes of inventions are still mysterious. They are rational but not logical, that is to say, not deductive.
Let an ultraintelligent machine be defined as a machine that can far surpass all the intellectual activities of any man however clever. Since the design of machines is one of these intellectual activities, an ultraintelligent machine could design even better machines; there would then unquestionably be an ‘intelligence explosion’, and the intelligence of man would be left far behind. Thus the first ultraintelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make, provided that the machine is docile enough to tell us how to keep it under control.
Social media has given everyone a virtual megaphone to broadcast every thought, along with the means to filter out any contrary view [...] The result is a creeping sense of isolation and emptiness, which leads people to swipe, tap, and click all the more. Digital distraction keeps the mind occupied but does little to nurture it, much less cultivate depth of feeling, which requires the resonance of another’s voice within our very bones and psyches.
Moravec's paradox is the observation by artificial intelligence and robotics researchers that, contrary to traditional assumptions, reasoning (which is high-level in humans) requires very little ...
Almost always the men who achieve these fundamental inventions of a new paradigm have been either very young or very new to the field whose paradigm they change. And perhaps that point need not have been made explicit, for obviously these are the men who, being little committed by prior practice to the traditional rules of normal science, are particularly likely to see that those rules no longer define a playable game and to conceive another set that can replace them.