Oct 12

Singularity in Basketball?

By caseyholdahl
Team owner Paul Allen and Mark Grieves, Vulcan's director of knowledge systems, have published an article in Technology Review disputing the argument of Raymond Kurzweil that "the Singularity," which, as I understand it, is the point where computers become smarter than humans, is only 35 or so years away. According to some, the Singularity would result in humanity being "completely and irreversibly transformed." All of the knowledge currently confined to our brains could be transferred to computers, resulting in some kind of everlasting digital existence, or something. Allen and Grieve' rebuttal arguing that the Singularity is a long, long ways off is an interesting read and one that the layperson (I'm including myself in that description) should be able to grasp.

Here's my question to you: what impact would the Singularity have on basketball? Do you think there will ever be a point where general managers and coaches are replaced by artificial intelligence? NBA teams, at least the smart ones, are already using analytics to help shape decisions, specifically when it comes to personnel, but will there be a time when AI is the decision? Could a computer coach in real-time? Would you even be interested in watching HAL 9000 call out plays? Could a computer motivate human players? And would there still be a reason go on message boards and blogs calling out coaches and front office staff on their decisions if computers were calling the shots? I have my doubts.

One thing I do know after seeing the commercial for Real Steel about 100 times is that I have no interest in watching machines replacing human athletes when it comes to sports. Sport will always be left to those of us comprised of flesh and blood, at least until our cyborg overlords say otherwise.


  1. No way; It is still garbage in and garbage out. the computer can only tell what it has been fed.

    by Hg on 10/12/2011 4:10 PM
  2. That's the thing about the Singularity HG: when it happens, the computers won't need humans for that information. The computer, or more better stated, artificial intelligence, will be able to learn and come to its own conclusion. Or at least that's how I understand it.

    by caseyholdahl on 10/12/2011 4:12 PM
  3. That be true, Casey, but In the beginning there was man and he had to inform the computers and it can only learn from past scenarios. I have some info I would like to feed it with the NBA. I can see all kinds of corruption thAt could take place.

    But in 25 or 30 years with me being 70. I may never find out.

    by Hg on 10/12/2011 4:29 PM
  4. Well, if I had first pick in the 2250 draft, I would certainly take Johnny 5 then trade a Radio Shack gift card for the #2 pick and go with about dynasty!

    by DHawes22 on 10/13/2011 9:28 AM
  5. Computers today are limited by the human mind. Singularity is the tipping point where computers exceed our absolute capabilities as a society. One of the themes is "recursive self improvement", aka smarter machines building smarter machines to build smarter machines. It would excelerate. All i'm saying is that our last concern would be basketball..

    by gregm5s7 on 10/13/2011 9:49 AM
  6. I think basketball will be even MORE important once The Singularity arrives. We're going to need something to keep our attention after slaving away in the sulfur mines.

    by caseyholdahl on 10/13/2011 9:52 AM
  7. Casey: If you eliminate the human from the executive decisions in BB, wouldn't you have to also replace the humans as players because they to error and a computer can't therefore imperfection would destroy it.

    With all that, will we be watching video BB. 2K2 or whatever they decide to name it?

    by Hg on 10/13/2011 9:57 AM
  8. I thought about that HG, and it's certainly a possibility. But I think players would be the last thing to go. And I'm not sure that humans would be interested in watching machines compete against each other. Lots of people like NASCAR, not so many RC car racing.

    by caseyholdahl on 10/13/2011 10:25 AM
  9. Casey:
    I would definitely hate to see it come to that. Sure do it if they can, but leave the BB to human error. that is where the fun is. Just think if Greg hadn't missed a free throw. or one of Rudy's threes would have went in. That is the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

    OTOH, would computers take the greed out of politics? would a Computer President be able to balance the budget with taking away from politicians as well as u and me. Oops this is BB not politics.

    by Hg on 10/13/2011 11:51 AM
  10. Which people? I think computers are much smarter then most people already!

    by mbmurr1 on 10/15/2011 8:10 PM
  11. @mbmurr1:

    computers are just a piece of machinery with no smarts other then what people put into them. If you take out the mother board that was programmed by humans then you would get absolutely no response from a computer.

    computers are only responding to the billions of things programmed into it.

    by Hg on 10/16/2011 1:58 AM
  1. Leave a comment

Blog Contributors

Most Commented

The most commented posts in the past month

Blog Archives