Published 13 March, 2015; last updated 10 December, 2020
The Singularity Isn’t Near is an article in MIT Technology Review by Paul Allen which argues that a singularity brought about by super-human-level AI will not arrive by 2045 (as is predicted by Kurzweil).
We will not have human-level AI by 2045:
1. To reach human-level AI, we need software as well as hardware.
2. To get this software, we need one of the following:
3. A detailed scientific understanding of the brain is unlikely by 2045:
4. ‘Duplicating’ brains is unlikely by 2045:
5. Creation of something equivalent to a brain from scratch is unlikely by 2045:
The controversial parts of this argument appear to be the parallel claims that progress is insufficiently fast (or accelerating) to reach an adequate understanding of the brain or of artificial intelligence algorithms by 2045. Allen’s argument does not present enough support to evaluate them from this alone. Others with at least as much expertise disagree with these claims, so they appear to be open questions.
To evaluate them, it appears we would need more comparable measures of accomplishments and rates of progress in brain science and AI. With only the qualitative style of Allen’s claims, it is hard to know whether progress being slow, and needing to go far, implies that it won’t get to a specific place by a specific date.