Saturday, December 18, 2004

The Singularity

The concept of a technological singularity as it is known today is largely credited to Dr. Vernor Vinge, a mathematician, computer scientist, and science fiction author who is best known for his Hugo award-winning novel, A Fire Upon the Deep, and for his 1993 essay "The Technological Singularity", in which he argues that exponential growth in technology will reach a point beyond which we cannot even speculate about the consequences.

Vinge's essay contains the following frequently-quoted statement:

"Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly thereafter, the human era will be ended."

The Singularity is seen not only as the end of human civilization, but as the birth of a new one. In his essay, Vinge asks why the human era should end, and argues that humans will likely be transformed in the process of the Singularity to a higher form of intelligent existence. After the creation of a superhuman intelligence, according to Vinge, people will necessarily be a lower lifeform in comparison to it.

If technology can transform the human lifeform, it will surely change the nature of our social contracts.

If the Singularity is real then the following scenario is totally plausible:

In the near future, individuals and corporations will become super beings as the rest of us slowly but surely become "lessers". Thus, the need for cybercoops which can compete on this new playing field is not just a good idea, it will be a necessity.

We will need the very best communicators and the best, most democratic unifying agency we can find just to keep from becoming slaves. The geographic state will not be able to help us. We will need a cyber state.

Imagine going through you day knowing that you have the best cell phone, PDA, and On Star Personal Service imaginable. It is your personal security guard, your personal secretary, your family transportation agent, and your financial manager. You talk and see anywhere and anyone in the world effortlessly. You walk through geographic borders with ease and with confidence.

You are capable of competing with the big guys.

Because you have joined with others to form a new human organism.

You have joined with People of Conscience and People of Vision.

We are not afraid.

On this date, in 1865, the 13 th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was adopted, and slavery was abolished.

Let's not go back.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am always amazed at the things I learn on this blog.
I check in on almost a daily basis now as if it is Kos, or Eschaton, or Talking Points Memo.

4:18 PM  
Blogger oZ said...

I check out Eschaton, Kos, and Talking Points out everyday myself. They are part of this new community that is now just a few years old. While they focus on politics and the national scene, I think more blogs like this will emerge and become more common as the philophical structure of the cybercommunity begins to develop. This is just the beginning.

4:37 PM  
Blogger John Hamre said...

A friend of mine and I started to toy with writing a sci-fi novel not too long ago. It was more for our own entertainment than for the prospect of seriously publishing anything. Neither of us have the writing savvy to make it happen for real.
In this “book”, automation and artificial intelligent machines had advanced to the point where the technologies produced were developed faster than people could come up ideas to use this technology.
In this era, successful human “think tanks” were the last strictly human endeavor left in our World. These human think tanks were charged with doing nothing all day but examine the various technology innovations that had been developed and, by using good old fashioned human imagination, find uses for this technology to help better mankind. To be a member of an elite think tank was the highest honor and most highly compensated job on the planet.

I really enjoy your blog and I’ll be adding it to my daily blog roll.


2:08 PM  
Blogger oZ said...

J D, thanks for your comment.

10:44 AM  

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