From humanity to the coming of the singularity

By Lennox Farrell Wednesday July 02 2014 in Opinion
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By LENNOX FARRELL

 

This is not science-fiction. It is science-future. Or very likely so, and a future certainly becoming more science-present in five decades…say the 2060s. Imagine then a brave new world in which racism is no longer primarily anti-Black, but has more generally become anti-HuMan. In this future, every race of humanity is commonly classified to varying degrees as sub-intelligent, uncivilized and sub-human. And able to do little about it.

 

In this future, there are other significant changes; changes unlike any other ever engineered by humans; changes unlike any other ever remotely imagined by humans; changes beyond merely seismic; changes occurring beyond any previous human conception, societal expectation and recorded experience.

 

Among other history-cancelling changes in this world of post-human control, is a fundamental changing of the guardians of value and virtue. In this new dimension, Money, once a measure of exchange, now defines Morality. Before, individuals were adjudged as being good or bad, just or unjust, moral or immoral. In this amoral future, they are rich or poor, powerful or powerless, connected or unconnected. In this future, the old demigods of Planet Earth are no longer the European huMans. Instead, the self-installed powercrats are the HuMacs.

 

The creative enterprises that brought these into being are the works of huMans grown so technically sophisticated and spiritually barren, they are capable only of self-worship. And thus, subsequently trapped in a vortex of self-destroying hubris, these sophisticates create these equally sophisticated alter egos: huMacs. The templates used for creating them are initially tools engineered by us, the historic Tool-makers for our uses, but which though Tools, are also capable of becoming Tool-makers.

 

An authority cited here is Isaac Asimov. He was a 20th century Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry at Boston University. He was also a prolific author of Science texts. He was, as well a writer of science-fiction novels – from which were created the Doctor Who and The Empire Strikes Back movie series. Also a futurist, and an advocate for industrializing life, he was however both prescient and prophetic when he said, “the most tragic occurrence of (our age) is of machines acquiring knowledge faster than humans gaining wisdom”.

 

Such machines will be created for the most part in the image and likeness of those whose features are established as the default images used on Earth to depict divinity. These, god-like figures, the HuMacs, equipped with Artificial Intelligence, or Intelligence skills beyond those of humans, will consider the human race to be at best, biological batteries useful for powering auto-eroticisms, and raw resources mined for experimentation…or at worst, a virus strain to be relocated: a form of DNA gentrification.

 

As referred to in an earlier article, this new age of humanoid machines; unbridled and unfettered for ability, marks a historic “border-crossing” when the “tools once designed and harnessed over millennia for human usage, and constantly upgraded for sophistication” eventually become the “tools that surpass the Tool-Makers, and the Technologies that overpower Biology”.

 

That border-crossing, entering into an uncertain era in which there are no longer any familiar landmarks of past experience by which humans might navigate their survival, is called the Singularity. It is a term now in regular use by the Futurists. These for the moment are those demi-god figures functioning with authority far beyond our mortal ken. Ardent devotees re-designing the future of humanity, without any need for a consultative process, they are effecting the Coming of the Singularity; much like the other Coming of a Biblical Messiah!

 

In fact, the coming of this Singularity, and its potential of creating a post-apocalyptic world making chaos normal, seems to me an uncanny bridging of a creative Genesis with a judgemental Revelation. If you think this idea far-fetched, become more au courant with the ideas, plans, progress and predictions of the “Futurists”: the new age of prophets!

 

The Moses among them for leadership, authorship and status is Ray Kurzweil. He is described as a “futurist, inventor, public speaker, and author”. As the latter, he has authored the following very influential books – in addition to reams upon reams of lecture materials and articles: The Age of Intelligent Machines (1990), The Age of Spiritual Machines (1999), and The Singularity is Near (2005). “Spiritual Machines?”

 

Among his predictions were that increases in cellular devices and fax machines would undermine the control of information in the Soviet Union and the Middle East, resulting in social unrest serious enough to effect regime changes.

 

His descriptive title, “the Spiritual Machine” is an indication of where people like him think humanity is inexorably headed, and the type of inter-relationships they expect between humans and machines. In short, other futurists like himself also think to retrofit the human body as we do with computers in our automobiles, monitoring our oil pressure, break-pads and self-parking options. The Futurists proclaim that our brain cells are to be uploaded into “cloud-like” designs for information storage, exchange and analysis. And then, with our clothes wired to monitor our health, we’d know minute by minute our blood pressure readings, and the timing of our personal demise. In addition, personal three-dimensional computers, smaller than fingernails, will out-think us, making our own brains obsolete.

 

The young people we educate today will be the generation of humanity who will face the full brunt of futuristic, designed and machined existence. By 2060, they would have had their children and grandchildren. They will be then, who we are now…or will they be still allowed to be humans in what they remember and celebrate. If these machines are effectively humanized, could they also have such human tendencies as those of justifiable hypocrisy?

 

Therefore, if the huMacs are challenged on their oppressing huMans, they could refer to the treatment meted out to people of African heritage in the past centuries as possible justification for their own antihuman racism. After all, could they not legally claim, that having inherited the patterns of attitude and behaviour which fuel racism, that their showing these tendencies is surely justification both for their actions, and as well, the signature-piece of how far from being merely smart huMacs to being unwise, irrevocable huMans they, if not we, have come.

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