introduction to singularity edition of JCS

Journal of Consciousness Studies 19 (1-2):7-15 (2012)
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This special interactive interdisciplinary issue of JCS on the singularity and the future relationship of humanity and AI is the first of two issues centered on David Chalmers’ 2010 JCS article ‘The Singularity, a Philosophical Analysis’. These issues include more than 20 solicited commentaries to which Chalmers responds. To quote Chalmers: "One might think that the singularity would be of great interest to Academic philosophers, cognitive scientists, and artificial intelligence researchers. In practice, this has not been the case. Good was an eminent academic, but his article was largely unappreciated at the time. The subsequent discussion of the singularity has largely taken place in non-academic circles, including Internet forums, popular media and books, and workshops organized by the independent Singularity Institute. Perhaps the highly speculative flavour of the singularity idea has been responsible for academic resistance to it. I think this resistance is a shame, as the singularity idea is clearly an important one. The argument for a singularity is one that we should take seriously. And the questions surrounding the singularity are of enormous practical and philosophical concern". It is fair to say that Chalmers is the first to provide a detailed comprehensive philosophical analysis of the idea of the singularity that brings into focus not only questions about the nature of intelligence and the prospects for an intelligence explosion but also important philosophical questions about consciousness, identity and the relationship between facts and values.
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