The singularity is coming?

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  • #1
The new issue of IEEE Spectrum is all about "The singularity" the hypothesized time in the next 50 years when computers will become smarter than we are and usher in an era of technological accomplishment "to dwarf the industrial revolution". Singularity people like Ray Kurzweil think we'll sometime in the next 100 years be able to upload human consciousness into a computer, or various other views along these lines.

Here's the link to the Spectrum issue:

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  • #2
because we evolved living in small groups and have instinctive "them/us" tribalism in our genes, bringing people into closer contact---with more visual immediate emotional media (like TV is more immediate than a Newspaper).

because of that we can expect an increase of division and hatred, and decline of rationality in the growing human population
like the rightwing hate campaign against liberalism
like the christright resentment campaign against science
like the mullah hate campaign against the west.
wherever a potential for them/us irrational hatred exists, some political movement will arise to exploit it

the first result of a technological empowerment is increasingly violent warfare
as you can see in the 20th century-----give them the internal combustion engine, cinema, and radio and you get motorized warfare----mass killing----ultranationalism---much of the 20th century was a horror movie

the spread of love requires calm and technological stability, only then are our immediate tribal reflexes transcended, only then does reason have a chance.

So if we are approaching a technological singularity, that is bad news.

we had one of them before, right before the first World War, when the assembly line, the machine gun, the airplane, the radio, the cinema, the motor vehicle, sythetic explosives based on industrial chemistry, it all came down on us in a short time.


about giving ROBOTS PERSONALITY that will clearly be important for human funereal practices.

Rich people, instead of concentrating on monuments, pyramids, ornate tombs, foundations, will want to create robot surrogates----copies of themselves.

Roman society was divided into clans or family lines, each with one or more famous ancestors. Every year they would have a parade, carrying the FUNERAL MASKS of their famous ancestor(s). It made it seem as if the heroic ancestor was still alive and it impressed the children. This helped make Roman society strong----if also a bit authoritarian.

A robot who can carry on a conversation, and maybe even write Shakespearean sonnets, tell jokes, and who remembers events in its prior life, would be like a funeral mask copy of the original person, except animated.

Also it could live on Mars if it wanted, or one of the moons of Jupiter.


major changes in human consciousness in the past have been marked by changes in BURIAL PRACTICE, like around neolithic and iceage times, the first graves, the first GRAVE GOODS, pyramids, afterlife mythology, viking ship burial, sacrifices at the shrine of the ancestor etc etc. Anthropologists interpret and study changes in burial practice. So I am saying that if you can put personality into an (immortal) robot then the first thing will be that some rich guy invents a new burial practice, and creates a simulacrum of himself. It does not even have to live in a cemetary. It can go on vacations. It can attend family reunions.

It may even be able to OWN stuff, like a corporation is a legal person and is able to own stuff, the robot might be able to. People leave foundations after themselves which have power and can make decisions affecting our lives, why wouldn't the robot be able to do that?

a change in burial practices is sometimes accompanied by a change in how humans think of life, and the individual person---a change in consciousness. a change in the view of death (death has always been a powerful force in culture, religions are created partly to cope with it)

there may indeed be strange times ahead. I am not sure that Kurzweil is a reliable oracle though.
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  • #3
There many be many different kinds of singularities. The first assumption is that science and technology haven't peaked and can continue to progress. This is iffy. We may actually be at the end of progress in that what we have is the most that we can obtain, like a billion transistor chip ( integrating to 10 billion transistors won't change things much) software that can't think like a mind etc.

But if we can manipulate neural circuits in our mind and create new emotions, or sense organs or a different cognitive organization, then the sky is the limit. Then again even directly manipulating minds, without the use of any science is possible like in the threads: [Broken] [Broken]
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