This week I got stuck during transit back home and watched the movie “Bladerunner” by Ridley Scott. I have seen this movie often before, am still intrigued by it’s plot and it always makes me start to think about the future of technology, mankind and where this will lead to? Technological Singularity is something that pops up here. Taken the description from Wikipedia, Technological Singularity is a hypothetical event in which an upgradable intelligent agent (such as a computer running software-based artificial intelligence (today even cognitive abilities) enters a ‘runaway reaction’ of self-improvement cycles, with each new and more intelligent generation appearing more and more rapidly, causing an intelligence explosion and resulting in a powerful superintelligence whose cognitive abilities could be qualitatively as far above humans, as human intelligence is above ape intelligence. Ray Kurzweil elaborated more about Singularity in his book “The Age of Spiritual Machines“ in 1999 and the “The Washing Machine Tragedy” from the “The Cyberiad” short stories by Stanislav Lem is a much earlier thought on this development, but even worth to read aspect about this tipping point. What me always drives to think about this: we are coming closer and closer to the technical ability to reach the point of Singularity, but how are we dealing here with the non-technical side? And this is not only about the legal implications – Isaac Asimov’s “Three Laws of Robotics” might help here 😉 – it is much more about the implication this has on our society and very much on us as human beings. It is kind of philosophical, yet becoming very practical. If we see Cognitive (paired with concepts as Quantum Computing) as a natural next step in evolution leading to a next major transition as the appearance of RNA, DNA, multicellularity, culture and language did during the timeline of evolution without us being aware about, isn’t the convergence of unique human abilities and technological possibilities something we should focus on much more as we are aware that this is happening? To my perception we are very much looking on the technological side and push the development, which is good (I achieved a master degree and PhD in computer sciences, so what else can you expect 😉 ) in the first place, yet seeing us struggle with many basics aspects to live together as humans in our huge variety of cultures and societies, I wonder if we can cope with the next step in evolution, despite the fact it will materialize in 10 years or in 40. Are we in here looking into this in IBM somewhere?
(note: a further suggested reading on aligned topics about the impact of
digitilization on life and scociety is “Who Owns The Future” by Jaron Lanier.)
Wonder what thoughts on this are out in my network? Thank you for sharing!