The Singularity is coming--Ray shows his graphs (Oct.2005)
I caught Ray Kurzweil's lecture recently, which had many provocative ideas and many many very similar graphs--all steeply angled upwards.
The man takes 225 micronutrient pills per day, according tothe introduction by Stewart Brand, the legendary media innovator and community builder (The Well, Whole Earth Catalog, etc).
I got to see Mr Kurzweil take a break from ingesting micro-nutrients and give a lecture on on the coming "Singularity," detailed in his latest book.
The Singularity is an event about 15 years away, that will meld our biology with our technology.
It is the collision of many trends that are expanding on a logarithmic scale and they all meet at the same point. Ray has many graphs that prove it--in fact, they all look the same. And by the way, these are logarithmic graphs that means we are heading into a red-shift accelerated tsunami of technology/biology mastery.
The Singularity will offer us mastery over our biology and our life span. Ray's ruler says we are 15 or so years away from the Singularity.
In fact, he says that if we can bumble through the next ten years without encountering our mortal nature, then we'll probably make it to the Singularity. And live forever.
In this near future world our ability to create virtual worlds will make the digital and analog worlds indistinguishable. It'll be like the Matrix (except Ray doesn't use the term.)
He described a future world that readers of Stanislaw Lem have known for decades. And Lem has already mapped out a lot of the philosophical, moral, ethical and comic dilemmas that such a future will bring. (Cyberiad is an excellent primer on Lem if you are curious.)
Lem might say: If we are so close to the Singularity, just 15 years or so away, then it is highly likely that we are already in the Singularity. That's what I would say too.
Does that change anything? Probably not. We are still bound by the rules of this world, whatever its source. But it is interesting nonetheless.
Posted by Tom Foremski on October 14, 2005
(I'm republishing some prior posts as summer essays...)