A New chapter
It’s hard to believe, but the journey of Homo sapiens, currently the only protagonist of the most important evolutionary process we know in the universe, is nearing its end. There is already enough evidence to show that the biological paradigm of which we are the most complex creature will soon be superseded by an even more ravishing one. The technological paradigm will surpass the biological in importance because it can create more complex information arrangements and replicate them more efficiently.
Interestingly, we are approaching the time when the technological paradigm will surpass the biological in importance faster than our intuition tells us because we are being betrayed by the organ of the human body of which we are most proud. The human brain was evolved to abstract the environment of our planet perfectly, but its resources for intuiting events related to exponential dynamic processes are very poor.
Seen from the point of view of the mission to create and replicate information arrangements, both biological and technological processes evolve simultaneously, presenting similar evolutionary dynamics but with different current growth rates regarding the complexity and capability of its products. Besides presenting current growth rates for creating and replicating information arrangements higher than the biological paradigm, the technological paradigm also seems to be far from having depleted the resources on which it is based—the energy, cognition, and physical matter available on our planet.
The Technological Singularity hypothesis
Any fundamental measure of information-based technologies that monitors and compares the efficiency of technological arrangements with that of human neocortex arrangements will show that the success levels of the technological paradigm will soon consistently exceed those of the biological paradigm in mounting arrangements capable of encoding, storing, and transmitting information, especially if we consider the complexity and the availability of its products. As we are closer to this overlapping moment than to the moment of the exhaustion of the resources of these two paradigms, we can imagine a time when it could bring about some kind of discontinuity in human affairs. Then, the hypothesis known as the “Technological Singularity” could be confirmed.
Singularities, in the sense of discontinuities, are abstractions borrowed from mathematics that means that, at a certain point, the variable that is being investigated does not exist or its value is infinite. In modeling real phenomena, singularities must be interpreted case by case. They become freaks because at a certain point, or near this point, real things simply “do not make sense” considering the current understanding patterns.
What would make no sense near the Technological Singularity are the complexity and the availability of the new arrangements drawn up by the technological process. Because of its increasing efficiency, new technological arrangements will become increasingly complex as to be unintelligible to the arrangement of the human neocortex. Moreover, we will see a huge increase of the amount of “available additional intelligence” due to an explosion of supply of so-called “Intelligent Non-biological Entities”.
There are obvious risks to the disruption represented by a possible Technological Singularity. Paradoxically, however, humankind will not want to fight against its approach because the path to it also leads us to the perfect “collective well-being,” – a meme that we can observe at the root of most religions and modern utopian ideals of equality.
Just before the arrival of the Technological Singularity, the world should experience a period of unprecedented euphoria. The advances in the technological process will increase human productivity at a colossal rate. The world economy will create wealth at unprecedented levels, and this abundance might be universalized.
To sustain all this abundance, we will scan everything that will be possible and acquire all the processing power we can. The stronger the processing power at our disposal, the greater our well-being and sense of euphoria. As we have come to accept “intelligent non-biological entities” and entrust them with part of the intelligence we need every day, we will also accept and live with “conscious non-biological entities.” It will be a world of telepathic communication, holographic interactions, instant knowledge, biological reprogramming of DNA, and virtual immortality.
Soon after the rise of Superhumanity, we will encounter the wall of discontinuity—an opaque wall, beyond which we cannot see because we lack the instruments. It will be a time when the biological neocortex with its range of conceptual layers would no more understand the new technological arrangements. Afterwards, humanity could always continue the evolutionary journey as passengers.
Safe paths. The transhumanism
Although it is still too early to say what would happen to “pure” Homo sapiens after such a discontinuity represented by the Technological Singularity, before it happens, a large part of humanity will likely seek to incorporate more and more non-biological parts to their bodies in a desperate attempt to remain the only protagonist in charge of our destiny. Furthermore, as we learn to reprogram the DNA, we will also have the chance to increase or slow the biological clock in our favor.
Safe paths. A new language
As our human minds, leveraged by emerging technologies, also become free from their current biological limitations, we must create and master a new “language.” It will not be enough just to share among us the current range of conceptual layers limited by the biological neocortex. We will have to create more conceptual layers in a hypothetical artificial neocortex to “amplify our intelligence” in order to retain an understanding of all those codes of the increasingly complex world near to the Singularity.
The WelcomeSingularity.org keeps a collaborative network of software developers who believe and act according to the following principles.
1. As the Technological Singularity is a contentious issue that involves value and paradigm changes, there are controversies over “when” it will occur or even “if” it will occur. Furthermore, the Technological Singularity, like natural and social phenomena, could fail to occur just because we can predict it and act on its causes in advance. However, despite the divergences surrounding the Technological Singularity, if we consider just what is at stake, this important topic should be placed on the global agenda for discussion. Because of its possible consequences, it is worth being studied, discussed and publicized.
2. Despite all emerging information-based technologies representing an increase collective well-being as their outcomes are incorporated into the human body, the “additional cognitive abilities” provided only by computer and information sciences are the most relevant of those outcomes when considering the help they can give us to overcome the discontinuity represented by the Technological Singularity.
3. Although we cannot know for sure whether the Intelligence Amplification (IA) approach is really safe way to overcome the Technological Singularity, on the other hand the Artificial Intelligence (AI) approach seems to be clearly unsafe because of the role humans play within its technique framework. While in Artificial Intelligence the human being is the target to be copied and then surpassed, in Intelligence Amplification the human being is the center of all concerns.
4. Despite the need to separate IA from AI, it is quite difficult to establish the boundary between the two techniques, because they are somehow coupled so that the one can take advantage of advances of the other. Therefore, it is also necessary that an active community of software developers oversees and practices “safe actions” to restrain the indiscriminate use of Artificial Intelligence techniques.
The WelcomeSingularity.org is a non-profit singularian organization with the mission to engage the largest possible number of software developers in order to help to build safe paths toward the Technological Singularity.
The WelcomeSingularity.org shares the vision that the best way to build this secure path is to allocate resources to create Intelligence Amplification (IA) technologies with focus in Intelligent Decision Support Systems (iDSS) and Human-computer Interaction (HCI) studies. Hence, the community of “singularian software developers” will play a key role in planning and executing actions to create and master the new language we will need to manipulate more complex conceptual layers in non-biological neocortex-based arrangements.
How WelcomeSingularity.org acts
Through a collaborative worldwide network, WelcomeSingularity.org acts:
1. Involving and mobilizing software developers to disseminate the concepts of the Technological Singularity hypothesis;
2. Explaining, discussing and defending the choice for the Intelligence Amplification way and its relations with Artificial Intelligence; and
3. Supporting and disseminating projects for developing software applications based on Intelligence Amplification paradigms.
WelcomeSingularity.org Safe Actions
It is necessary that an active community of software developers oversees and practices actions to restrain the indiscriminate use of Artificial Intelligence techniques. The Singularian Developers can help by:
1. Prioritizing the development of software applications for companies and projects where the main goals are to increase the cognitive and the sensory abilities of human beings.
2. Identifying, making public and tracking the results of Artificial Intelligence projects where the goals are to simulate non-human states of consciousness.
@ 2103 WelcomeSingularity | The WelcomeSingularity Manifesto. All rights reserved.
*This Manifesto was created by merging some verses selected from the theoretical WelcomeSingularity essay called “It’s all just information”.