ramez naam

ramez naam


intro’d to Ramez via Nikola – The Future Isn’t Set In Stone (2014):

15 min – the word singularity comes from – divide by zero – on graph.. vertical asymptote.. we use it to describe a black hole… where current math formulae break down..

verner vinges view was – an intelligent explosion… n+1 ai .. smarter than humans… n+1 could create n+2 ai… improving on shorter/shorter cycle times…. support for this idea is severely lacking…  ie: is intel.. and yet not reaching tack off velocity

i don’t have problem w/greater than human ai or uploading ai.. but ai twice as smart as human can’t create human 3 times… because what led to it… was tons of experts and chip improvers and et al… ie: it might get a job at google.. as chip designer as part of the team… but that’s it..

19 min – computing power goes up exponentially.. but difficulty does as well..

21 min – 1\ many problems show diminishing returns or problems themselves are super linear 2\ design of next generation minds is 10s of 1000s minds worth of work 3\ how hard to get to next gen ai… a) humans coming up with design for ai – we still have no clue.. still 20 yrs away for 60 yrs.. can do things human mind can’t .. but can’t do things human mind can.. we don’t know what we’re missing.. people most optimistic.. not active researchers in ai..& researchers in ai – are saying not computing we’re missing but theoretical breakthroughs b) uploading minds

23 min – all economic incentive is around narrow ai.. almost none for a truly self aware system..is every version a death..

25 min – if event singularity.. i think it was about 100 000 yrs ago.. when symbolic ness came to be..

27 min – we can’t predict future.. but much better at game theory, economics.. so i’d say we’ve pushed back the horizon of singularity

28 min – on emergent ai

29 min – we could evolve better and better computer code.. our minds are result of darwinian processes – so believe we could evolve creatures in software that are intelligent – it would take a long long time.. a way to bypass.. the we don’t know how to do it.. but highly expensive and unethical.. et al

31 min – why do we have intelligence..? because this structure isn’t random… so no way will have intelligence like us.. the reason we have it is because billions went thru this fitness test before us

33 min – mind uploading as most likely… but i don’t see as singularity.. rather simulate it in hardware..

ie: henry markham’s project et al – one funded by ibm.. one funded by eu… serious projects…

36 min – the big limit in neuroscience .. can’t monitor enough neurons

38 min – brain is much more complex than we think.. (lots of ie’s) .. so i think we’re underestimating..

40 min – on feedback ness lacking… by many orders of magnitude

41 min – a neuron is a machine that has billions of moving parts inside of it.. so not going to model it with current systems

46 min – big brother – tech has made it more possible than ever..  in 60s we had a rougue fbi.. hoover to bug king.. situation now is 10 000 times worse.. than when had to physically plant bugs

49 min – what gives me most hope – whistle blowing is asymmetric warfare… ie: one guy (snowden) to bring out all these secrets

51 min – tech unemployment a very real risk.. in past.. machines that have erased jobs have created more.. (book) the race between education and automation – keep increasing skills of humans.. to fill niches..

53 min – how to take people and retrain.. ie: 5 mill in u.s. all the drivers… our ed system is not good at.. getting skills that gets them to a job better than waiting tables..


55 min – mind blown moments.. jason silva videos..

56 min – the future isn’t set in stone.. the policies we choose… matter tremendously


jun 2015 – capitalism is not the enemy of climate


Bringing billions of people out of poverty, feeding a growing planet and stewarding water resources while reducing greenhouse gas emissions “may well be the largest challenge that humanity has ever faced”, Naam says. “The problems are vast. They’re very substantial. They will not solve themselves on their own. But if we make a concerted effort, they are not insurmountable.

What’s to be done? When Naam talks about innovation, he’s not talking simply about new technology. Innovative business models and policy are vital. “Technology innovation is often facilitated or bootstrapped by policy innovation, and it’s driven along by business-model innovation,” he says.

All require strong business leadership from big companies and startups alike, he says. Naam argues that capitalism isn’t the enemy of climate, as Naomi Klein has written; to the contrary, well-regulated markets will drive climate solutions.



Policy is the toughest nut to crack, Naam says. Solar would not be thriving without government subsidies in the US and, even more so, in Germany. To drive clean-energy innovation faster and further, Naam, like a growing number of business leaders and economists across the political spectrum, advocates a carbon tax.


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Ramez Naam was born in Cairo, Egypt, and came to the US at the age of 3.  He’s a computer scientist, futurist, and award-winning author.

Ramez spent 13 years at Microsoft, where he led teams developing early versions of Microsoft Outlook, Internet Explorer, and the Bing search engine.  His career has focused on bringing advanced collaboration, communication, and information retrieval capabilities to roughly one billion people around the world, and took him to the role of Partner and Director of Program Management within Microsoft, with deep experience leading teams working on cutting edge technologies such as machine learning, search, massive scale services, and artificial intelligence.

Between stints at Microsoft, Ramez founded and ran Apex NanoTechnologies, the world’s first company devoted entirely to software tools to accelerate molecular design.  He holds 19 patents related to search engines, information retrieval, web browsing, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.

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Ramez Naam is a professional technologist and science fiction writer. He was involved in the development of widely used software products such as Microsoft Internet Explorer and Microsoft Outlook. His last role at Microsoft was as a Partner Group Program Manager in Search Relevance for Live Search.

He was the CEO of Apex Nanotechnologies, a company involved in developing nanotechnology research software before returning to Microsoft.

Naam currently holds a seat on the advisory board of the Acceleration Studies Foundation, is a member of the World Future Society, a Senior Associate of theForesight Institute, and a fellow of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies.

He is the author of More Than Human: Embracing the promise of biological enhancement, which reviews new technologies and makes a case for embracing human enhancement, showing readers how new technologies are powerful new tools in humanity’s quest to improve ourselves, our offspring and our world.