Monday, July 10, 2006

Again about the technological singularity

My feeling is that the psychedelic community is overlooking the magnitude of the recent ideas regarding the technological singularity.

The idea is that this technological singularity is approaching, and we're not talking about 500 years from now...
In his latest book called The Singularity Is Near, Ray Kurzweil claims it will happen probably around 2014, which makes also sense with many prophecies... I don't want to go new age here, but it's a fact that the Hopi and the Mayan too, set the end of their calendars on 21st of December 2012... plus, Terence McKenna (r.i.p.) with his Novelty theory found out something similar and in a much more "psychedelic" way... he found out everything is accelerating at an increasing pace, and also found out that in 21st of December 2012 something will profoundly change the way we experience reality and time.
The difference with Ray Kurzweil is Ray is a famous and trusted scientist that can release a well written book, easy to read, full of examples. Terence also was easy to read, wrote well written book, and provided examples, but was not famous and most of all not trusted by the scientific community. Kurzweil definitely is.
But I don't want to digress too much.

In his book, Kurzweil uses lots of data and examples to convince the reader about how "everything" (what McKenna called Novelty and what kurzweil might call Pattern Complexity) is accelerating at an increasing (exponential) rate.
He states that in 2014 (i'd say it might be 2012 - just to make everything nice and perfect) the acceleration will be visible and our old schemes for forecasting the future will not apply anymore.
If at the moment we are probably just starting to get the feeling that something "isn't right", that things are flowing too fast, well, we better sit tight because its' just the beginning.

Any exponential curve starts very slowly, not-distinguishable from a linear progression, as you cans see from this picture here.
But at a certain point, called the "knee of the curve", there is a dramatic acceleration. Kurzweil states we are reaching the knee, we should get there by 2014. At that moment, we should be able to see the singularity, and all those old old human schemes should, finally and hopefully, brake down.

The technological singularity is an AI (artificial intelligence) probably linked with our biological brain.
Pure intelligence.
Bio-machines pushing forward all boundaries.
An intelligence far greater than ours.
I guess all this could begin with the invention of a machine that can pass the Turing test.

Kurzweil goes as far as speculating that this technological singularity will spread from earth to the whole universe. If speed of light can be surpassed it might happen very very fast.

I know this sounds incredible but... I really think (and hope) that's what going to happen.
We are ready, aren't we? And not afraid at all.

Have fun & take care

Now, some links (but wikipedia has it all)
Terence McKenna Novelty theory:
Ray Kurzweil:
Turing test: