The Great Race: Singularity vs. Technologiocal Tyranny

We are in one final race for our humanity, one began eons ago when we picked up a rock or branch to use as a tool. Will the Singularity occur first and free our species to continue on our path of humble aggression or will technological tyranny reign? One will undoubtedly prevail and the other forgotten in the winds of change. No, this is not some wild new conspiracy theory but a perspective the world seems to ignore. We are set on this path of technological existentialism and are currently coming up to some very big doors; we must recall the lessons learned by Madame Curie and proceed, not cautiously but carefully and fully. We either win a great victory over life or fall victim to direct control of our being that will be fundamentally impossible to rebel for hundreds if not thousands of years. There are no re-do’s in this one.

The last technology we unleashed, we had to learn the hard way, ignoring our mistakes repeatedly, we had to see just how powerful this technology really was — and not in some remote test. We wanted to see the blood so that the world knew our power. It wasn't until Hiroshima and Nagasaki that the potency of this technology was understood — more accurately, felt. Human curiosity had an effect on that decision that day no matter the politics, ethics or pride proclaimed. Like any child around fire we have to touch it to believe.

We have heard the same warning about AI, artificial intelligence, the moment it becomes active the human race limited its days. This is not a poor attempt at indicting the entire technological outlook but a call to step it up, increase our efforts as if our future depended on it. It does.

For those that follow it, the year 2035 is now the latest estimation for the Singularity. For clarity, the Singularity is when artificial intelligence will exceed human intellectual capacity and control, thus radically changing or even ending civilization in an event called the Singularity. In other words, when technology advances to the point of developing an artificial intelligence superior to our own and computers become too smart for us to control. The term “Singularity” is a bit more than official explanations from timid Wikipedia editors elaborate, at least. To most geeks it is most definitely more.

The “Singularity” is when we are able to replace our limited-lifespan biological bodies with shiny new models right off the factory floor. That is where the term “singular” comes from, the joining of biological intelligence with artificial intelligence into one being. The Bruce Willis movie Surrogates is somewhat a representation of what the Singular future might look like — but Singularity is more accurately thought of as a permanent body replacement, not necessarily a typical body, either.

The future -presuming all goes well and there is no Terminator-style revolt — humanity will live on for ages in our new, long term vehicles (bodies), thousand year life-spans. And when they finally wear out we just jack in and download to a new model — actually why wait till it wears out? The wealthy will be able to get the latest iBody and keep on the cutting edge while others complain the price is too high. Technology advances, marketing the latest 2053’s as the must-have models, new and improved, out pacing last year’s model, for those that can afford it. At first we’ll be glad to go Singular but after a few centuries we’ll want something better. A typical future where things all change but stay the same.

If only things were as simple as they sounded. There’s a gap in there that got glossed over.

The same brilliant minds laboring away at advancing technology for extending life, overcoming the limitations of physical handicaps and mental handicaps as well are also working on the technology that would allow another, like a government, take control of your mind and exercise complete control then erase the memory of it happening. Nearly the entire host of technology that will give us longevity will also give away this control over us. The worst part of this is we would never know it.

Hey, straight, paranoid, Sci-Fi style but this is real. Don’t go sending the straight jacket for me yet.

It doesn't take a techie to see the possibilities at hand from the research currently in focus. This is not some dramatic Luddite perspective or an impassioned plea for limitation. None exist. Technology has its own limitations, we need not impose more and can not enforce any.

The technology needed for the Singularity to occur, where humanity will be able to upload her/his consciousness into a computer, is advancing faster than predicted only a decade earlier. The recognized authority, Dr. R. Kurzweil, originally estimated the date for the Singularity to be 2045 but in the few years since he published his world-shaking book, he has had to update his estimates to 2035. “Transcendence” the movie, shows the world a childish but frightening perspective of the Singularity, joining mind and machine. The archplot of that movie was fear rather than technology, winning favor of most working in that research today. Besides, a runaway super brain is a worn out plot line.

The Singularity of joining human consciousness and an artificial construct — a computer — would require a means of connecting to the human brain and being able to communicate directly to the mind (the brain being the physical construct that houses the mind). Once this is accomplished, the human consciousness will be able to upload into the computer, given enough memory and creating a means of communication. There is much more to it than that, I’m sure.

We don’t need to achieve Singularity to accomplish the most beneficial aspects of this burgeoning technology, just the brain/computer connection. And that’s the focus of much of today’s tech. We would be able to learn an entire discipline in days or weeks. Upload a textbook into our brain in minutes, teach our children to be doctorates before puberty. Brain damaged individuals would have neurological implants that work better than the old brain. There are so many possibilities here, make someone smarter, record their entire life and be able to

replay any part, re-live the greatest moments of life as if they were real. Having painful, debilitating memories erased, curing PTSD and more, oh boy!

The dark side of this technology is that it could also re-write anything in that mind via the connection, even erase the neurons that record/remember the connection itself — or more. Think of the most frightening SciFi mind control movie and take away the happy ending because once its in, it won’t be stopped, voted out, rebelled against or even known. The world would just slowly become a better place with everyone content in their place until those with the control get bored. Then it’s anybody’s guess as to that ending but it won’t be a happy one, probably not an ending either.

Timid individuals might take this article as an excuse to call for limitations on technological research. That would be counterintuitive. The technology to write / erase memory in the brain, to re-direct its engram, its path of neuron activity when thinking and more is going to happen whether we want it to or not.

If anything, it needs to be open to the pubic for anything wrong exposed to the light of day, withers and eventually dies. Technological existentialism has no conscience, that’s where we come in. Awareness is our best defense, in knowing we overcome. (I refused to use the quote now famous from the CIA floor, “Ye shall know the truth and ye shall be free” one of the greatest displays of irony in our nation’s history).

So, if the years start passing by, the Singularity becomes some thing from the past you can barely remember and life is all sweet and roses the whole world over — oh, well.


Originally published at myfilelive.com.

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