Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Essence of Man and the Singularity

Tyler Emerson from The Singularity Institute directed me to this paper entitled "Why Work Toward the Singularity?" This provoked me into thinking about this question and I have written the following as part of an answer and solution for how best to go about working toward the Singularity.

Aristotle tells us that man is the speaking animal, or 'animal rational'. This is disputed by Marx who describes the essence of man as Homo Faber, or the tool wielding animal.

These two understandings of man need not be in conflict. Both the ability to speak and the ability to wield tools stem from the ability of man to reason, which I define as the ability to make ever evolving mental models of reality. From out of this ability man is able to transmit from one human to another a new meme which alters the mental model of reality. This is speech. The other ability that comes from reason is the ability to alter reality based on the interworkings of ones mental model. This is tool wielding.

Therefore man's ability to communicate effectively on a greater and greater scale translates directly into more and more minds with a more and more powerful mental model of reality. These minds with a more powerful model of reality are then able to alter reality on greater and greater scales. This ability to alter reality on such a scale brings about technologies that foster greater and greater levels of communication. It is this feedback loop that has thrust humankind on the path of technological acceleration toward an inevitable historical singularity.

Many fear that the technologies that we are harnessing threaten our very humanity. They fear that what most defines our humanity will be erased if we give in to the trend of technological acceleration. However it is clear to me that what is most human about us (the ability to make mental models of reality) has engendered the trend of technological acceleration in the first place. In addition to this fact it is also clear that what our technology is doing is bringing to accualization that which was already potential in us. Namely the ability to communicate and alter reality as we see fit.

Based on this assessment I argue that the most effective means to bringing about the singularity lies in the essence of man. If you labor to hasten the coming of the singularity then you must:

  1. Labor to conceive of a more and more powerful mental representation of reality. I believe that the worldview accompanied by the singularity hypothesis is the framework for the most poweful mental model available.
  2. effectively utilize the technologies of communication to trasmit the memes of your mental model. In other words use all available technologies such as blogs, email, podcasts, etc. to educate people and foster rational dialogue.
  3. Use the power of your mental model combined with the information web you have established through communication technologies to foster new technologies. In other words work with other people you have been able to hookup with who have a powerful understanding of how the world works to collaborate on bringing to fruition some great idea that you might come up with together, i.e be an inventor.
Of course by acting on these three suggestions you will be behaving in a quintessentially human manner and simultaneously be acting as a powerful catalysts for the feedback loop that is fueling the coming of the singularity and making the world a better place.


I'm afraid that memetic progress will absolutely not be enough. We must reengineer our brains directly, or create new brains (AI) from scratch. That's what the Singularity is about - the introduction of wholly new cognitive architectures - not the acceleration of the same old Homo sapiens-level learning and thinking we've had for thousands of years.

If you want to hasten the Singularity, you must contribute to a project working towards Artificial Intelligence or serious human brain enhancement (i.e., messing with the wetware). Nothing else will suffice.

By Anonymous Michael Anissimov, at 13/10/05 06:17  

Michael, I appreciate your comment but it seems you have misunderstood my post. The point of my argument was that intelligence, communication, and technology exist with each other in a powerful feedback loop. The engineering of new cognitive achitecture-be it biological or machine - will result through the kind of massive collaboration only possible with the technologies we are seeing today. The technologies leeding to the singularity must come in evolutionary order. You cannot go directly from the commadore64 to strong AI just as biological evolution cannot go directly from cockroach to man. Also you seem, like many others, to focus on the creation of one super intelligence. However I beleive that about 15 years from now we will still not have stron AI but the "Global Brain" at that point will already function as a kind of super intelligence and it is this Global-brain-superintelligence which will spawn the first true AI. So fundamentaly what I am saying is that we should, at this point in time, be working on establishing that global brain. But everyone who is working on any beneficial technology or who is engaged in education is already doing just that.

By Blogger Micah J. Glasser, at 13/10/05 12:37  

Hi Micah! Of course I did understand your post, just disagreed with it - your vision of the Singularity is a frequently seen one - one that I simply believe is wrong. I used to view the Singularity this way, but changed my mind. Technology is accelerating; and our knowledge is increasing, but the cognitive architectures underlying our civilization have always been the same - Homo sapiens sapiens, standard design. Thinking that technology must follow some inevitable evolutionary order is a viewpoint that comes from taking the analogy between biological evolution and technological progress too far. Technological milestones can be accelerated or decelerated depending on funding or effort. If everyone dropped everything and started working towards human-equivalent AI right now, believe me, it would come sooner than otherwise. Neither you nor I know enough about the difficulty of AI to say whether or not it will take a more advanced global communications network as a prerequisite to creating it. Maybe our "collective intelligence" is already significantly advanced, and has been for some time. The point is, we don't know. We can't know where we stand in the "evolutionary chain" to the Singularity until we look at it in hindsight.

By Anonymous Michael Anissimov, at 13/10/05 14:57  

Hi Michael

Seems to me that you want to have it both ways, here. On the one hand you write:

If you want to hasten the Singularity, you must contribute to a project working towards Artificial Intelligence or serious human brain enhancement (i.e., messing with the wetware). Nothing else will suffice.

On the other hand, you say:

Maybe our "collective intelligence" is already significantly advanced, and has been for some time. The point is, we don't know. We can't know where we stand in the "evolutionary chain" to the Singularity until we look at it in hindsight.

I think the uncertainty of the latter quote is probably closer to the reality we face. I don't doubt that we're going to have to have new cognitive architectures in order for the Singularity to occur, but we may need to develop memetically before we can create those architectures. Likewise, as Micah pointed out and you couldn't entirely disagree, we may be creating that architecture through the development of the web or other infrastructure rather than specifically through a project aimed at gettting to AI.

If so, it's possible that hastening the development of those supporting technologies might get us to the Singularity faster than specific work in AI and brain enhancement will.

Then again, maybe not. If you're right that specific work in those areas is the only thing that will get us there quicker, then there's still an issue of memetics and this clunky old unimproved H Sapiens architecture. Those are the tools that will get the word out and get "everyone" working on it. :-)

Personally, I take a "free market" approach to the Singularity. There are a number of possible paths, and I don't mind hedging my bets a little.

Also, there's the whole issue of trying to ensure a "soft" takeoff. Having everybody working on AI and brain enhancement research does little if anything to ensure that we get this thing off to the right start. In fact, it increases the chance that some psycho -- or well-meaning person who's in over his/her head -- will give us a psychopathic AI.

To hasten not just the Singularity, but the right kind of Singularity, it seems to me that there's a lot we can be doing in terms of introducing and nurturing ethical and social (and possibly even legal) memes.

By Blogger Phil Bowermaster, at 18/10/05 13:20  

sometimes you can go to earn the Pirates of the Burning Sea Gold for your own life and you can also get a lot of happiness in the game if you play the game well. you can brush the potbs gold to upgrade and then you are very strong. You think that you want to play the game well and then you can get the potbs Doubloon for your own. you can earn the potbs money alone and you can give some for your friends; it can make you very happy I think. As long as you play the game you can go to buy potbs Doubloon as the rewards in this game.

The game has a lot of LOTRO Gold, as long as you join to play this game you will get
them. you should try your best to earn as much Lord Of The Rings Gold as you can, so you are strong and no one can
fight you. you can go to buy LOTRO Gold in the game, so many other players want to play with you together. As long as you have the cheap Lord Of The Rings Gold you will be strong and you can go to kill the monsters to upgrade alone.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/4/09 23:49  

aion chinaaion china gold,
aion cn goldaion chinese gold,
aion gold chinaaion gold chinese,
china aion goldchinese aion gold,
aion china kinaaion chinese kina,
aion kina chinachina aion kina,
aion china buybuy aion china,
aion chinese server goldaion cn server gold,
aion china server goldchina aion server gold,
chinese aion server goldaion chinese server gold,
aion cn server kinaaion china server kina,
china aion server kinachinese aion server kina

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 28/4/09 21:02  

Do not mean bad.Thank you so much! I just want to show some fashion wedding dress, cheap wedding dresses to all of you. I like wedding dresses, because wedding for a girl, it is the most special day in her life. Do you want to have the beautiful wedding dresses and designer wedding dresses in perfect day?? Here are the most popular discount wedding dresses and lace wedding dresses even plus size wedding dresses for all of you. Also the cheap evening dresses and evening formal dresses are a great choice for you. Let you dream come ture!! When you take part in a party, you can shoose party cocktail dresses, also fashion but cheap cocktail dresses and cheap prom dresses here. Besides, the cheap bridesmaid dress and cheap flower girl dresses are also provide to you!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 21/9/09 01:43  

My review Catatanku Noticia Orient Inspiration Automotive Audio Video Business Computer Entertainment My Note Duniasoer mem 73

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17/11/09 01:40  

Your blog is very good, it's the best blog I've ever seen, thank you!
By the way, do you like polo shirts, which are very chic, especially the polo t shirts, I love them very much. I also like playing tennis rackets, it can keep healthy, what do you like to do? I'd like to introduce myself as the outlet of polo t shirts women, polo t shirts on sale, and polo t shirts for women. These products are our masterpieces, such as polo shirts on sale, polo shirts men, men's polo shirt, men polo shirt, mens polo shirts, mens polo shirt, besides we also sell cheap polo shirts, discount polo shirts, men's polo shirts, women's polo shirts. We are also the outlet of, cheap tennis racket, discount tennis racket, we recommend prince tennis racquet, head tennis rackets, wilson tennis racket, babolat tennis racquet. And it is our great pleasure that you come to our store online!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 24/12/09 22:29  

Costa Rica Manuel Antonio Tours
Costa Rica Carara Biological
Arenal Volcano Costa Rica
Costa Rica Crocodile Aventure
Costa Rica Poas Volcano
Costa Rica Monteverde Tours
Costa Rica Sea Kayaking
Costa Rica Rafting
Costa Rica Atv Adventure
Costa Rica Tours Canopy
Costa Rica Rainforest Tour
Costa Rica Vacation Rentals
Costa Rica Groups Travel
Los Suenos Costa Rica Tours
Costa Rica Zip Line
Costa Rica Vacation Rentals
Costa Rica los Suenos Vacation Rentals
Costa Rica Wedding
Costa Rica los Suenos Fishing
Costa Rica los Suenos Condos
Costa Rica los Suenos Sportfishing
Los Suenos Resort
Costa Rica Whale Watching Tours
Costa Rica Dolphin Watching Tours
Costa Rica Dominical
Costa Rica Dominical Tours
Dominical Tours
Dominical Costa Rica Tours
Costa Rica DMC Incentive Travel
Costa Rica Honeymoon
Costa Rica Manuel Antonio Wedding
Costa Rica Manuel Antonio National Park

By Blogger kiara, at 9/8/10 13:08  

For earrings, you would need ear posts or wires or clip-on bases. pandora shop For bracelets, you need memory wire or stretchy cord or beading wire and clasps. pandora charm For necklaces, memory wire or beading wire, clasps and perhaps pendants. The main reason for the increasing favor shown titanium pandora silver charms is that titanium body jewelry items are about half the weight of equivalent stainless steel items. In addition, titanium can be anodized and this creates a pandora bracelets marvelous variety of colors when contrasted with the single option of stainless steel’pandora bangles s silver appearance. But the markup is much higher. Although the stainless steels used contain some nickel, they don't release nickel salts into the body and therefore are highly pandora necklaces unlikely to lead to nickel contact dermatitis. Most stainless steel body jewelry items are electro-polished. This is a reasonably sophisticated surface finishing technique pandora beads which leaves the finished surface very smooth and free of pandora earrings any crevices or fissures. The result is a significantly higher surface integrity pandora sets which is ideal for body jewelry. Alternatively, titanium has recently pandora bracelet become very popular as a material for body jewelry. In fact, it is challenging stainless steel as the favored metal. A bead board is a good idea too. Its ruled tracks help you measure and lay out designs for pandora bracelet charms bracelets and necklaces; as well as to corral the beads you are working with at a given time.

By Blogger 每当遇见你, at 28/9/10 00:25  

This is great when it comes to buying cheap wholesale cocktail dresses to resell, but you also want to make sure you are getting items that are popular enough to resell to others at a great profit. In the promdressesol Signature prom gowns market the only way to do this is to keep yourself one step ahead of the fashion trends and be selling what all the fashionable women want to be wearing. cheap prom dresses 2011 the love affair with unique skin prom gowns continues. From stingray skin to crocodile, trendy women are clamoring to get their body on a authentic evening dresses made from a new and exotic skin this season.2011 tiffany evening dresses cheap prom dresses that Make a Statement Sometimes you want to be the center of attention.

By Blogger cherry, at 24/11/10 02:27  

"wholesale wedding dress
wedding dress design
custom wedding dress online
short and long evening dress
buy wedding dress
prom dresses
buy discounted wedding dresses online
extra large wedding dress
Evening Dresses 2011
Plus Size Wedding Gowns
black holiday girls dresses black holiday girls dresses
brown holiday girls dresses brown holiday girls dresses
burgundy holiday girls dresses burgundy holiday girls dresses
champagne holiday girls dresses champagne holiday girls dresses
daffodil holiday girls dresses daffodil holiday girls dresses
dark green holiday girls dresses dark green holiday girls dresses
fuchsia holiday girls dresses fuchsia holiday girls dresses
gold holiday girls dresses gold holiday girls dresses
grape holiday girls dresses grape holiday girls dresses
green holiday girls dresses green holiday girls dresses
ivory holiday girls dresses ivory holiday girls dresses
lavender holiday girls dresses lavender holiday girls dresses
lilac holiday girls dresses lilac holiday girls dresses
orange holiday girls dresses orange holiday girls dresses
pink holiday girls dresses pink holiday girls dresses"

By Blogger kellytang, at 10/10/11 23:18  

Post a Comment

<< Home