Singularity by design or by default?

One of the most fascinating aspects of our journey towards The Singularity is that there is nothing singular about the journey itself. Consider this week’s small story announcing the withdrawal of Ford from developing smart technology for sensing heart difficulties in car users; it seems that the pace of wearable technologies is superseding the diagnostic intelligence of in-car devices. The market speaks.

We may be able to conceive of a singular moment when the capacity of machine-driven intelligence exceeds the intelligence of our species. What is most obvious from our current perspective is that neither are we progressing along a single path in reaching that point, nor is there any unique focusing of will in securing it. Indeed, much of what emanates from our collective passage towards this new dawn is characterised by dissonance, contrariness, misaligned objectives, overlapping loyalties, compromises and venality, market competition, the vagaries of chance and, naturally, the usual human soup of nobility, greed, insecurity and love.

And if we think that all this can be orchestrated to some common, if not higher, purpose then clearly we have not been paying attention. Kant’s “crooked timber of humanity” will always create semblances of order out of chaos and these may, with something like the luck leavened with the occasional insight that created them, survive for 20 minutes, if not quite for a thousand years. But as machines gain potency beyond merely achieving their programmed objectives, an ironic outcome may be a diminishing impact of chaos theory on human affairs.

The question for now, but not for much longer, is how highly do we value predictability if the currency of its acquisition is a loss of control?

Lively Stuff from Planet BAM!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *