Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Post singularity and post humanism

Ok so the big thing is post singularity fiction, which pretty much goes by the Moore’s law thing that computers double in power every year or so and will do so indefinitely so at some point they get smarter than us, become AI and suchlike. It also means we get to upload our consciousness’s into the Internetty Future Cyber Thingy, or choose to be reborn through cloning. The big bad in this world can be either AI’s or rogue nano assemblers turning everything into grey goo. The Ai’s of course want to turn everything into processing parts for their computers. Humanity doesn’t really care because they have become posthuman, either uploading themselves and spend an eternity naval gazing into a billion different alternative lives they can lead, getting modified and implanted and thus "evolving" into something new.
The problems I have with this is the human vs Ai/computer is the same debate people used to have with robots, will they serve us or will they rule us? The thing is the most likely solution would be as put in Neuromancer, that every AI is made with the equivalent of a gun strapped to the forehead to blow their brains out when they get too smart. Either that or the Herbert solution, which was that humans would mistrust the entire computing spectrum and have the Butlerian jihad "no machine should be in the likeness of man" or something, meaning no AI’s allowed. The easiest and most likely thing is we don’t get AI we just get peoples minds integrating with computer software so any intelligence though artificial weas once human. Of course they would wish to take over the world but that’s humans for you.
I get the feeling the computer power Moore’s law business may well go the same way as interstellar rockets, ie not very far. You get to a point where the technological limitation kick in, when the cost of doing something out weighs the benefits. We only need computers to be so smart, we want them only to do the things we can’t be arsed to do or are too dangerous or complicated for people to do.
I don’t see humans then evolving beyond economics, money will always be there even if it is not in the form we know, the basic order of things has remained the same throughout history and will not likely change anytime soon. Seeing some point in the future where technology will take man out of history and into Utopia has been predicted without any success for a long time. But then it could be argued that to Victorians 21st century Britain would look pretty much like a Utopia, with free (ish) healthcare, enough food and cheap clothing for all. Of course show them the third world and they’d be back on familiar ground.
Anyway my disagreement with the whole thing is that it seems to be old ideas dressed in new clothing, that is triumph of technology 1950’s Scifi with nano-technology thrown in.


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