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Alan Keeling

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Is the singularity inevitable and if so then what's the point?

Capitalism is driving the human race forward technologically speaking, you cannot sell a device that is worse and more expensive than the device that has come before it, generally speaking. This has only one inevitable outcome, A.I. / robots / nano-tech / genetic engineering etc and of course the potential for human extinction or salvation the more these kind of technologies mature.

So the question becomes are we the people just going to fall into this and let the money makers keep telling us all to make more profit and work harder, without speaking out and getting them to see, that this is where it could all end for everyone, including them.

I wrote a free ebook about this over 10 years ago, type heaven or hell it's your choice into Google. It's free so this is not me trying to make money, this is me still continuing a stream of consciousness that has lasted most of my life.

I am a tired older being of 46 years of age and I see things like the UK Government making unemployed people into slaves to a system, with their new Help to work program, that may as well say - your poor - do as we say. Which is like slow boiling a proverbial frog, I see the future they are trying to engineer. Eventually you will have roughly two sides, 1.rich 1. poor, the poor will be micro managed by the rich.

Job skills will be matched to work available in the area you live, the poor will get some kind of electronic message saying do this work or you will get no money this week. This is social engineering on a grand scale, you will have no rights or say so, as you will be fighting a machine running an algorithm.

This is part n parcel of the march towards the singularity, your CV is you, to the machine. You will be monitored 24/7 & your location tracked, if you don't turn up for the work allocated, then they will more than likely know why and punish you financially.

So do we just let this happen, do we even get a say in this Micro managing of the masses, towards a Singularity outcome!

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    May 3 2014: The dystopian future you present is not what the singularity is about. It's about when computers gets smarter than us. The implications of this, are that it's impossible to predict our future as a civilization past this point.

    The future I am hoping for as the Singularity arrives, is one where anyone can dramatically extend their intelligence, life span, health, awareness, and so much more than we can imagine. Not a split between the rich and poor as is so often depicted in science fiction. But a future brighter than we can imagine.

    A blog posting from 100 years in the future:

    Who mourns for the once proud Human Race, now that the last humans have died off or merged with the global intelligence? Pre-singularity, humans thought they were so special, worth protecting their form exactly as they were.

    But now who longs to actually inhabit a fleshy body and walk upon the Earth, as humans once did? How could they possibly have imagined the ecstatic, transcendent experiences we have now, post singularity? They couldn't know what they were missing.
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      May 3 2014: As you are obviously aware, the transition from now to the point of the potential and some would say inevitable Singularity, is going to be a rocky RD if you ask me, I just hope we make it and it is a good outcome for all.
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        May 3 2014: Our history is filled with torture, genocide, and slavery to this very day. The rocky road you mention is our entire history and it is of our own making. I agree the road will get even rockier, but it's my hope that the super intelligence we will breath into life will actually be able to help us evolve and leave our history of violence, poverty, and war behind.

        It's important to remember that the definition of the Singularity you mention in your subject, is the idea that our future as a race post singularity is beyond our comprehension and impossible to predict. Not necessarily bad, or good. Just beyond.
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          May 4 2014: I just read part of your blog and was in stitches with the sauna story :)

          I met my hero John Draper aka Captain Crunch and have to share a story in a similar vain. I was in Holland at the time just to meet him, he invited me over (long story), anyway he told a big fat lie, at this gathering of eclectic hackers and phreaks, I for the life of me can not recall exactly what he said, but I knew what he said in a technological sense at the time, was a load of BS. So his eyes then scanned all the people around the table, looking for who might have picked up on the BS he had just spun, no one did... except me.

          Our eyes met and there was this silent exchange, don't say nothing was in his eyes, in mine I just smiled and laughed internally, it's a moment like yours, you never forget them. They say never meet your heroes, unless you want to be disappointed, I wasn't, but I will always be tickled by that moment.

          By the way you have my dream job :)

          You know most people couldn't even be paid to learn the types of stuff, people like us want to learn about. I have been staring at a screen since 1979, I am obsessed with tech, doesn't help me in my real world, but I think it must be a calling or something.

          I first read about Nanotech in an article written by K. Eric Drexler in Omni magazine in the 80's and knew instantly that it was a game changer for everything and have not been quite the same since.

          Anyway - you have great day sir.
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        May 4 2014: Since you mention Drexler and Nanotech, when Drexler came out with his Nanosystems: Molecular Machinery Manufacturing and Computation in 82, I poured over that and must have spent 2 or 3 years learning enough physics to understand what he was talking about. Then in 86 he came out with his Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology which kinda rocked my world again.

        When the level of nanotech Drexler describes intersects with the kind of intelligence predicted by the Singularity, we will have god like powers.
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          May 4 2014: Drexler is the guy who made my mind into what it is today to a large extent, I walked around in a daze after reading some of his stuff. I have never looked at the world the same way since, I kept thinking God if everyone knew this stuff, what would they think, its beyond any kind of rational debate. This is a species changing technology and will give us the ability to make machines far more capable than anything even Sci-Fi could dream up.

          I kept thinking that machines this capable could do almost anything and then when I put humans into the equation, then I could see no role for us at least in any kind of normal way. Hawking said basically we either modify humans or become extinct, I agree. The issue is the road from now, to the point at which the rest of humanity gets on this bus with us, it is going to be an insane ride if you ask me, you know how humans can react.

          Maybe they will just out evolve us so fast, a kind of macro-evolution, that we will all just be kept as pets!

          The grey goo issue was one of those things I was thinking about in the 80's, I kept thinking, one wrong line of code in a Nano assembler and we could all be in a lot of trouble, it just blew my mind.

          Wow I so rarely get to converse with anyone at this level - so I sincerely thank you.

          I used to talk to Prof, Jordan B Pollack at Brandies university a fair bit about this kind of stuff, my book changed his work ethic when it came to certain aspects of A.I. etc (http://jordanpollack.com/sevenlaws.pdf) end of page 4 :)

          I really enjoy talking about this stuff, but Drexler ruined my outlook on the future as there really wasn't anything left for me to postulate upon. After the Singularity, I thought well nothing that we worry about now, will be worth thinking about anyway. My biggest concern , which is somewhat why I wrote my book, was will the human race make it to the Singularity.

          This really has been good for my soul, so thank you once again.
          Call me HAL everyone does (old hacker handle).
    • May 4 2014: You don't remember the Futurists, do you?
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        May 4 2014: I must admit I don't remember the Futurists. Would you enlighten me please?
        • May 5 2014: It was an early 20th century movement that glorified technology and all the "progress" that was inevitable with it. It essentially embraced dehumanization in the name of "progress" and went extinct in the 1930s, when compassion became more popular among most people.
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        May 4 2014: Not sure what he means either, a futurist is to my mind a job like the one Danger has!.
        My mind is thinking is this some TV show I missed :)
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        May 6 2014: A key difference between that early 20th century movement and the attitude I'm describing, is that they did not have a glimmer of a hope of actually enhancing and transforming human reality in the dramatic kinds of ways that many now predict. They could not meaningfully anticipate the kind of advanced artificial intelligence referenced by the Singularity, or predict the kind of complete control over matter described by Drexler (and Rudy Rucker on the SciFi side).

        The attitude I've been describing here is not dehumanizing at all. The word "de-humanizing" means to deprive someone of positive human qualities, and I don't think that way. My own thinking is closer to accelerated evolution by conscious choice, as opposed to evolution by natural selection.
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          May 7 2014: I just noticed your post (still finding my way around the TED GUI).
          I really hope your right in your thinking about this, "My own thinking is closer to accelerated evolution by conscious choice, as opposed to evolution by natural selection."

          This is an interesting time to be human, we are so close to something and yet we are all still human, it feels like we will be the last generation who will suffer from this affliction :)

          In my newest comments I make reference to this all being a simulation of sorts and to my thinking, this would be the most interesting part of a species evolution to witness, so why not re-create and watch it, if not experience it. I have no proof of this of course, but my own real attempts to change the world have had me come to realize, that I am a character living within a walled garden. I know your a man who might grasp this, when you push up against the walls of the simulation, sometimes the simulation is forced to push back.

          I hate to say it, but all my notions of how reality is supposed to work, does not explain some of my own undeniable experiences, that have proven to me that there is a lot more going on down here than any of us are supposed to be able to rationally scientifically explain at least yet.

          I can reduce the universe down to a wave equation and then expand my mind out to an infinity of multiverses, in the blink of an eye and see (I think) all the possibilities in-between. Of course non of this is rational conversation to most people, but then again, I don't think your most people :)

          Hal

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