Tuesday, May 30, 2006

News2Use In Depth: Singularity Bomb

So I stumbled over this interesting guy and his interesting theory. The guy is Ray Kurzweil and his interesting theory is the coming singularity.

In Kurzweil-speak, the "singularity" is the event horizon where technology forever alters humanity. Kurzweil, a leading thinker in from the artificial intelligence community, posits that technological advances will leap ahead exponentially in the next century, changing our society, our economy and our basic humanity.

The keystones of the singularity seem to be the advent of nanotechnology, the rise of machine intelligence, and the ushering in of the post-human age. I'd run across the term "post-human" several years ago, along with the equally interesting and disturbing "trans-human."

Some of this stuff sounds banally utopian. No more poverty, because molecular manufacturing will make supply of goods limitless. No more wars, because death will be meaningless in an age when we can upload ourselves into immortality. My cynical self just cannot imagine any technology that can overcome human greed for wealth, power and control.

And projected negative singularities abound for that cynical self to gloat about: the infamous gray ooze into which rogue nanobots could reduce the world, the possibilities of terrorism at molecular and genetic levels, the looming threat of Skynet-esque artificial intelligences.

There is enough story gold in the singularity for numerous blog entries and articles, and over the summer that's exactly what I'll be doing: dropping the singularity bomb.

For heavy duty beach reading, here's an archive of singularity-related articles

For thoughts on post-humanism, read today's John Shirley blog

The folks at The Daily Grail provide a nicely organized Kurzweilian library

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