The Omega Point
For some reason, the words Omega Point came into my mind today.
Now don't run off, even if you are a technophobe
or for that matter, any kind of phobe.
According to Wikipedia, the Omega Point is a term used by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin to describe the aim towards which consciousness evolves. He believed that evolution was a process converging toward a final unity. He also believed that everything was alive and that is was all one. According to Chardin, the planet is in a transformative process, metamorphosing from the biosphere into the noosphere.
This term is also used by Tulane University professor of mathematics and physics Frank J. Tipler to describe a hypothetical cosmological scenario in the far future of the Universe. The basis of this concept is now flawed because the foundation of the idea involves a big crunch, and that can't happen in an accelerating universe.
So, I am not thinking of the Tipler Omega Point.
I am thinking about Teilhard's Omega Point.
Here is an edited excerpt from the Encyclopedia Britannica about Teilhard's Omega Point.
Teilhard held that evolution was a process converging toward a final unity called the Omega Point. He attempted to show that what is of permanent value in traditional philosophical thought can be maintained and even integrated with a modern scientific outlook if one accepts that the tendencies of material things are directed, either wholly or in part, beyond the things themselves toward the production of higher, more complex, more perfectly unified beings.
Teilhard regarded basic trends in matter – gravitation, inertia, electromagnetism, and so on – as being ordered toward the production of progressively more complex types of aggregation.
This process leads to the increasingly complex entities of atoms, molecules, cells, and organisms, until finally the human body evolves, with a nervous system sufficiently sophisticated to permit rational reflection, self-awareness, and moral responsibility.
Another great advance in Teilhard's scheme of evolution is the socialization of mankind. This is not the triumph of herd instinct but a cultural convergence of humanity toward a single society.
According to Teilhard, evolution has gone about as far as it can to perfect human beings physically: its next step will be social.
Teilhard saw such evolution already in progress; through technology, urbanization, and modern communications, more and more links are being established between different peoples’ politics, economics, and habits of thought in an apparently geometric progression.
Theologically, Teilhard saw the process of organic evolution as a sequence of progressive syntheses whose ultimate convergence point is that of God. When humanity and the material world have reached their final state of evolution and exhausted all potential for further development, a new convergence between them and the supernatural order would be initiated by the Parousia, or Second Coming of Christ."
Somehow this Omega Point and the Singularity of Vernor Vinge seem like cousins to me.
Maybe it's just the Reeses peanut butter candy accident, where the chocolate and the peanut butter get mixed, but consider these edited thoughts from the abstract of Vinge's famous paper.
"Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended.
I argue in this paper that we are on the edge of change comparable to the rise of human life on Earth. The precise cause of this change is the imminent creation by technology of entities with greater than human intelligence.
There are several means by which science may achieve this breakthrough:
There may be developed computers that are "awake" and superhumanly intelligent.
Large computer networks (and their associated users) may "wake up" as a superhumanly intelligent entity.
Computer/human interfaces may become so intimate that users may reasonably be considered superhumanly intelligent.
Biological science may provide means to improve natural human intellect."
Teilhard had no means to imagine the internet.
For that matter, even Vinge could not imagine the internet we have today when his famous paper was written just 12 years ago.
Both of these thinkers, years apart in age and with wildly different educational backgrounds, are seeing the same thing.
And so should we.
As bad and stupid as everything is right now,
We can envision a time where most of the things that we "think",
are simply going to go up in smoke.
Nations will dissolve or will become as important as cities.
Computer networks and their users will band and grow together
to create new super intelligent organisms.
Whether these super intelligent networks are democratic
is up to us.
And I guess that that is why
I'm thinking Omega Point.
What it is About
* alpha and omega courtesy youngpreston