17 September 2005

Right Ascension

I have a confession to make. I do not really believe in "the singularity." Certainly I have links on the sidebar leading to several long discussions about the implications of the singularity, or "the omega point," as it is sometimes called. The concept is an important one, and approximates roughly what is likely to happen, unless the hyper-luddites of the left and right bring scientific progress to a screeching halt.

To actually reach the singularity is more difficult than to talk about it. It may be impossible. Like Zeno's paradoxes, you can approach the target but you can never strike it. Consider the state of affairs that would constitute a "singularity" to a modern between-levels human. Then consider the state of affairs that would constitute a "singularity" to a next-level human. They are not the same.

Humans have not reached their ultimate potential, even with the currently evolved genome. Changes in environmental parameters, particularly pre-natal environment, but also early childhood environment, have significant potential to improve mean human intelligence, by lifting some of the lower tail values. Significant statistically, but not nearly enough for our purposes.

The genome has to be modified, very carefully. Mind and brain need time to co-evolve into new realities. How long? It takes human girl infants about two years to become little chatterboxes. Human boys may take three years. Any adult humans who try to make the transformation will have to go through years of intense adjustment, similar to the early childhood years. The person who emerges may not resemble the original person very closely. No one knows.

Parallel to research in increasing human intelligence, is research into machine intelligence. Machines have no "rights organisations," so researchers can do what they like with machines, then discard them. The combination of research into machine intelligence, cognitive science, nanotechnology, and information technology, is leading inexorably toward new forms of intelligence. Humans had best do what they can to keep up.
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Blogger J. Random American said...

I have included your post as part of the Carnival of Tomorrow 10.0.

Tuesday, 27 September, 2005  
Blogger al fin said...

Thanks, jra. That was good work with the Carnival of Tomorrow 10. You pulled together some great links.

Thursday, 29 September, 2005  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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