Sunday, January 01, 2006

The Singularity

It has been pointed out to me that what I am discussing when I refer to Pre-Futurism should probably be filed under the same heading as what other people are calling the Singularity. From Ray Kurzweil:

What, then, is the Singularity? It's a future period during which the pace of technological change will be so rapid, its impact so deep, that human life will be irreversibly transformed.

... this epoch will transform the concepts that we rely on to give meaning to our lives, from our business models, to the cycle of human life, including death itself.

Understanding the Singularity will alter our perspective on the significance of our past and the ramifications for our future.

The Singularity will allow us to transcend the limitations of our biological bodies and brains. We will gain power over our fates. Our mortatlity will be in our own hands. We will be able to live as long as we want. We will fully understand human thinkng and will vastly extend and expand its reach.

The Singularity will represent the culmination of the merger of our biological thinking and existence with our technology , resulting in a world that is still human but that transcends our biological roots. There will be no distinction, post Singularity, between human and machine, or between physical and virtual reality.

If you wonder what will remain unequivocally human in such a world, it's simply this quality: ours is the species that inherently seeks to extend its physical and mental reach beyond current limitations.

Questions to ponder: Is the definition of humaness that we are the animal which seeks to extend our reach beyond current limitations? What is the distinction between such effort, and a bald power grab?

Is it possible that humaness is better defined by its ability to make moral distinctions? Is not the work of humanity to raise itself above its animal nature?

Is Mr. Kurzweil a Utopian? If not, then why? And what is he, if not a Utopian?

Are Utopians necessarily dangerous? Or, is it possible that given technological tools of The Singularity that humans may finally be able to build a Utopia?