When geeks talk about death
When I study specific issues, I like to turn them upside down and ask all sorts of questions and make all sorts of annoying comments. Like when I think about the Singularity movement. What is the Singularity, you may ask? You may choose from two answers:
1) Computer scientists trying to hook our minds to computers so that we can expand our conscience and live forever
2) A bunch of geeks that are scared of dying
Let me explain.
I’ve been reading a number of articles about the Singularity, this concept referring to an apparently not-so-distant future when our brains will be linked to computers, setting our minds free from the restrictions of our bodies and enjoying limitless power thanks to the help of artificial intelligence.
Some very smart and influential people such as Google co-founder Larry Page founded the Singularity University, located on a NASA campus, where “students” can attend $25,000 seminars given by renown scientists about the potential of artificial intelligence and nanotechnology to save us from our own death. They’re very serious about this. When Raymond Kurzweil, who’s considered as the unofficial leader of the Singularity and who wrote The Singularity is Near, says he wants to resuscitate his father with AI, he’s serious too. I think this is very sad.
Maybe these people don’t see how unoriginal their work is (defying death has always been humanity’s relentless quest.) Maybe they truly think they’ll succeed. Maybe they will. My point is that if the Singularity does happen, then our world will be ruled by people who won’t have been able to get over the pain of losing their dads and will have used this as the primary motivation for their work. I’m not sure I want that.
For more information about the Singularity, you can read this Maisonneuve article.