12 March 2013

The Societal Singularity

The word Singularity is to technology as the word Utopia is to society. Additionally, society and technology are inseparable. An absolute Utopia will never exist, likewise the Singularity is not an end, it's simply a new plateau. Once we reach the Singularity the world will be profoundly different, we'll be at whole new level of existence. Issues of health, poverty, politics, etcetera will be gone but we'll face a whole new set of challenges.

Exponential technological growth is a fundamental aspect of the singularity. It's difficult for people to imagine that it's even possible to achieve the Singularity nevermind that we're within a couple of decades of achieving it. The compounded rate of technological advances means that a relatively modest progression of 10% translates to half of the required time and effort to fully achieve it.

Many people seem to think that artificial intelligence is the underlying goal of the Singularity. As far as i understand it, the Singularity is simply about advancing technology which will predictably result in some sort of artificial intelligence along the way rather than having AI as a driving goal.

Intelligence itself is easy, common cellphones already far outpace human capacity to process large amounts of information. The artificial intelligence Ray Kurzweil speaks of is not the artificial intelligence that Honda for instance, are talking about. Honda are simply trying to simulate sentience but Kurzweil, as i understand it, is referring to real conciousness that exists outside of the biological vehicles in which it exists today.



Advances in psychology suggest that conciousness is simply harmonic waves of basic subconscious information processing. What we perceive as a single conscious mind is actually millions of basic instinctive processes working in unity.

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The Internet is the latticework of an artificial brain. Decentralised, open source software will eventually spark artificial conciousness into it through harmonious trends and memes. Social networking and the Internet are the basis of the artificial intelligence that will bring about the Singularity.

Diaspora seemed like it may be the beginnings of the required singular decentralised network but it seems to have all but died out now, too soon for it perhaps. The proprietary social networks are hampered by the fact that they are not open to democratic contribution. Another problem with centralised networks is that the real benefit to society; big data, is locked behind closed doors.

Like i've said many times before; we will eventually live in a technologically advanced Utopian society, we don't need to actively strive to get there, it'll happen naturally. We just need to keep fighting for internet freedoms, intellectual property freedoms and access to information.

The democratisation of technology is key, open source and 3D printing (decentralised manufacturing) need to become commonplace. This is why information policy is the most important area of political discussion right now.