Advent of the Singularity

Written by Jonathan Bethel Thursday, 12 October 2006 10:00 - Last Updated Thursday, 22 May 2008 16:44

      

"Advent of the Singularity"      

By Jonathan McGregor Bethel      Humankind has developed to the point where its technological evolution is going to become autonomous and progress by its own directive, that is, our technological momentum is about to make the leap from a linear progression to an exponential, multiplicative progression in the blink of an eye! This “Event Horizon” is called a “Technological Singularity” because all mathematical models utilized to predict our technological development break down at this moment, and they cease to give us a clear picture of what might lie beyond it. This moment will herald the liberation of consciousness from its current confinement and imprisonment in human biology, allowing us to utilize immense computational capacity far beyond the biological brain and to interact directly with computer sentience. Actually, our technological development has been experiencing exponential growth for some time; however, at the beginning of any exponential growth curve, changes are very slight and

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Advent of the Singularity
Written by Jonathan Bethel Thursday, 12 October 2006 10:00 - Last Updated Thursday, 22 May 2008 16:44

nearly imperceptible, appearing very much like basic linear growth. Regardless of how slow this process starts off, as the rapidly expanding growth curve deepens, immense changes to the system become exceedingly apparent, and then it then strikingly and abruptly mutates. Two technological fields will become the baseboard from which the “Technological Singularity” will spring, Strong Artificial Intelligence and Amplification of Human Intelligence. These two fields are currently thought to be the substratum from which a singularity will emerge. Although, neither one of these fields can be taken in isolation; for in all truth, the singularity will be caused by a cascading effect brought about by a rapid inflation of nanotechnology, strong a.i., self replicating machines, amplification of human intelligence, cyber technology, biotechnology, FTL-technology(faster then light tech), etc…

The near future promises to bring us things only dreamed of until now: a keen understanding of physical disorders and their cures; longevity of life, even immortality; unimaginable intelligence through advancement of our computational capacity and expanded memory; immersion in a 24/7 virtual reality, a “Matrix”-like experience, through non-invasive technologies projected right into your brain synapses; the manifestation of any desired object, with the use of clouds of nanotechnology bots that configure themselves to thought; the complete understanding and utilization of Faster Than Light Technologies, time machines and much, much more. The concept of a technological singularity was first put forth by the mathematician Vernor Vinge in the 1980s, but it was further elucidated on by the inventor, futurist, and writer, Ray Kurzweil. His recent book, “The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology,” is a very in depth look at what the singularity is and why it is a definite probability in our collective future. I know most of you are saying to yourself, I thought this guy was all about 2012 and a spiritual-mental paradigm shift, which I am! However, I’m, definitely no psychic and can’t say for certain exactly what the future holds. I do believe we are headed for a mental paradigm shift, and I also believe the fact we are fast approaching this Technological Singularity is evidence that mankind has reached the pinnacle and culmination point of human history. Current estimates place the singularity happening approximately 2020-2050. Even if no spiritual paradigm shift ever happened, we would still be on course with this technological singularity and could not avoid it. In fact, nothing can stop it, except all out global economic collapse or a planetary disaster. This exponential growth is really a product of “Moore’s Law” later extrapolated into Kurweil’s own “Law of Accelerating Returns,” both describe this unavoidable explosive inflation. Many people fear the advent of this Technological Singularity, thinking this could be the onset of the enslavement of humankind by machines. In fact, Vinge describes two groups that coalesce around this concept, the Luddites and the progressives. The term Luddites comes from an event where technology put a group of people, the Luddites, out of work. They, consequently, oppose the advent of this moment, where the progressives seek to actualize it. Many people

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Advent of the Singularity
Written by Jonathan Bethel Thursday, 12 October 2006 10:00 - Last Updated Thursday, 22 May 2008 16:44

have come forward to promulgate a need to confine Strong A.I. and not give it the tools it would need to bring about this Luddite nightmare scenario. This is a real possibility and needs to be taken into consideration as we design and implement A.I. However, I do not think we should live in fear and avoid the one thing that could make our life so much better! What it boils down to is, we will impart to our machines whatever tendencies we ourselves have. This is why I have stressed so strongly in my articles, it is vitally important we begin to treat each other with benevolence, for never before has our mentality had such far reaching consequences. We shouldn’t fear our machines and project our own innate inadequacies on them; we should become a good example, as usually our parents are, and bring to light a Technological Singularity the progressives dream about not one the Luddites fear! Jonathan McGregor Bethel Omega Point Institute www.sacredwisdom.net www.jonathanbethel.com jonathan.mcgregor.bethel@gmail.com

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