Sunday, June 20, 2010

170 / "Singularity"

Today's San Francisco Chronicle carried an article posing "Three Questions For Ray Kurzweil."

Kurzweil is sometimes called a "futurist," and has advanced a theory that human beings will soon reach a point he calls "the singularity." The "singularity" he is predicting will be a "tipping point," when the machines we build will be smarter than we are, and will more or less take over from us. Or, maybe they will. At any rate, when the "singularity" is reached, the future will become a "bit unpredictable."

Kurzweil has a book entitled, The Age of Spiritual Machines, if you want to read up on the theory. You might also check out, The Singularity Is Near, which is more recent, and which focuses specifically on how machines will be united with our biological human bodies.

Naturally, I read Kurzweil from the perspective of the way I like to look at the world (my "two-world hypothesis"). And Kurzweil definitely declares his allegiance to the world we create. As he says in the Chronicle article this morning (speaking about the exponential acceleration towards change that he believes will bring us to a whole new existence): "I would point out that this continues a long-standing trend. If we stayed with what was "natural," our life expectancy would be in the 20s."

The Natural world, in other words, according to Kurzweil, is likely to become superfluous, once "the singularity" is reached. He doesn't acknowledge that the world we create (or the world that will be created by his "spiritual machines," after the "singularity" point is reached) is ultimately dependent on the world of Nature.

So, I guess I have a fourth question for Ray Kurzweil: are you crazy?

1 comment:

  1. Love it! And I think the answer to your question is "Yes, indeedy do."


Thanks for your comment!