Diagnosis Correct - Prognosis Seriously Flawed.
by Peter Kinnon
There is now little doubt that an event of the kind described as a "Singularity" (I prefer the term "phase transition") will be soon upon us.
A vindication of the views held by some of us for more than half a century and an implication of Gordon Moore's quantitative prognostication which has held remarkably true over that time.
Verner Vinge's prescient comments regarding the evolution of embedded system "dust motes" such that reality will become its own database are equally valid, the addition of effectors to that entity (already well under way) adding a further dimension to its functions.
What is consistently missed by the "Singularity" community, however, is the direction in which all these developments lead.
That the emergence of what is at present the Internet as a new and dominant life-form on this planet is inevitable and imminent.
This simple proposition, which is borne out by a straightforward extrapolation of the all-pervasive evolutionary patterns that we observe in the workings of Nature.
While this rather obvious viewpoint has been occasionally toyed with in trivial ways in fictional accounts, it is consistently rejected or ignored by Vinge, Kurzveil et al.
I suspect that this apparent break-down in reasoning displayed by otherwise thoughtful and "intelligent" individuals stems from the following weaknesses:
1. The quite natural inclination, which we all share, to consider ourselves, as individuals and as a species, to be at the center of all things. Centuries after Copernicus we still want to subconsciously cling to the metaphor that, in some way, the universe still revolves around humankind. That we are the "chosen people" This is the emotional basis of transhumanism that makes it so hard to resist!
2. The closely related tendency for us to behave as control freaks. Faced with the prospect of becoming emasculated, objectivity goes out of the window.
3. Most of those involved have IT backgrounds. This has some obvious advantages, certainly with respect to the appreciation of the exponentiality of (overall) technological evolution.
The problem is that, because of this tight focus (with selected imports from fields such as, notably, nanotech) they are not truly aware of evidence provided by other disciplines, particularly chemistry, which provide strong evidence for the transition to the next (inorganic) phase of the life process as mentioned above.
This alternative view, and some of the evidence supporting it are to be found in my newly published book "The Goldilocks Effect" and also my earlier work "Unusual Perspectives" (a free e-book download) which are to be found at:
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