Technological singularity as an inevitable event
I think that many who read these lines today see that progress is accelerating every day. At the beginning of the 20th century, many did not believe in airplanes and thought that "tomorrow will be today." This trend in society has always been and is observed now. Tomorrow will be today.In principle, this is a simple empirical observation, however, if you compare what happened a year ago and what is today, this progress becomes visible. If an observer had made such an observation at the beginning of the 19th century, he would hardly have seen obvious progress, unless he would have been at a turning point. Now various scientific achievements, small and large, are happening every day. The Internet has become a catalyst for this process. The free exchange of information brought together scientists from all over the world and deprived one of the main problems - re-invention, which often suffered the past century. Of course, now this problem probably remains due to the secrecy of some state programs, but such projects are a drop in the ocean of thousands of enthusiasts. Of course, now there are not the best trends in state control, but I, perhaps,
For 49 years now, Moore’s law has been implemented, and Intel is preparing us new technological processes and new approaches. Quantum computers, DNA computers, neural networks are being developed in parallel ... All this happened in literally 30 years.
Everything inevitably indicates a further acceleration of progress and movement to a certain point - technological singularity.
The exponential growth of technology and progress that is being observed now leads to a point in the time interval from 2020 to 2070. Many scholars and writers, for example, Vernor Wing, are more inclined to the 30s of our century. There are a huge number of different methods for forecasting this date, some methods are pessimistic, and some, on the contrary, are too optimistic. Different methods have their own points on which they are based, for example, oil and gas reserves, population, political movements and trends of this century, and some come from purely logical thinking. For example, one of the main pillars of the theory of technological singularity can be considered evolution and natural selection. If you look at the whole history of life on Earth, you will notice several patterns. One of them is to increase the capacity of biological carriers.(moreover, note that each next stage advanced much faster than the previous (!)) What will happen next? Let's tolerate the answer to this question.
If you think a little, you can draw a simple conclusion: If we want to continue to improve existing technologies and create new fantastic ones, then we must overcome the boundaries of our consciousness. What do I mean by saying this? I mean that humanity will soon run into a dead end of its mental abilities and will probably be plunged into many years of stagnation and even the “second Middle Ages”. In order to avoid this and continue this rapid growth, people must do something to increase the potential of their intelligence. This I will describe below.
At the moment, three branches of science are clearly visible, which can lead humanity to a singularity:
- Information Technology.
It is this area in recent years that has undergone the most significant changes and shifts in general. Computer science is advancing on all fronts that become available to it. Examples include quantum computers and biocomputers. If not for achievements in other fields of science, then these directions would not have appeared. Computer science gradually opens up new directions itself - bioinformatics. The influence of computer science is enormous, and it is in fact the most important catalyst for singularity and progress in general. Indeed, computer science is the science of information.
Information technology (in cooperation with others) can give us two main products: Strong AI or (and) Human-Computer Interface. An approximate date for the revolution could be the year 2030 mentioned above.
In the context of technological singularity, AI means precisely Strong AI, it may be an exact copy of human consciousness or it will be created by more rational methods, if at all possible. Artificial Intelligence is clearly the subject of a larger and more comprehensive discussion, but I will probably write some background information.
The development and successful implementation of friendly AI should fundamentally change our lives.
Its benefit will come down to the fact that smart AI will come up with everything for us and, if possible, will generously share its achievements, leading us far into the wilds of the singularity.
Theoretically, this hypothetical creature should create an absolute order out of the current chaos, for example: full automation of transport and absolute control of road traffic, always stable economic growth, the absence of wars, the constant introduction of new technologies and the prevention of economic stagnation, as well as the promising colonization of space.
Harm and Risk
Personally, it seems to me that AI eradicates one of the most basic needs of people - eternal curiosity. Having created AI, people will have to come to terms with the fact that they created a creature that is superior to the orders of the creators themselves. Resign yourself to passing the baton to your creation. Perhaps this approach pleases someone, but I think most of the population will not approve of this approach to extermination. It will be necessary to learn how to somehow exist with such a "big brother." Unless, of course, the AI will be friendly. For example, one of the main risks may be a completely uncontrolled superhuman intellect, which may not see the benefits in humanity as such, interpret its existence as evolution and dominance, and declare a semblance of genocide. You can argue on this topic for a very long time, describe methods for creating friendly forms of consciousness, etc. But there are no guarantees. Intelligence that is smarter than man himself cannot be predicted.
Human Computer Interface
This direction is not so foggy as AI, and it has more real and yielding perspectives. In fact, in the field of this direction there are so far no such complex and voluminous questions as in the questions of creating AI. Very active research is now being done in the field of computerized prostheses, as well as various implants directly into the brain.
In general, this interface should open up such opportunities: cooperation at the telepathic level via the Internet (or more promising networks of the future), instant access to Internet materials (for example, through augmented reality), the creation of a permanent memory module for saving important notes, as well as integration of the optic nerve with Internet resources and the creation
Harm and Risk
Research in this area is currently hindered by some ethical issues, since in the case of even the smallest spread of this technology, rapid fragmentation of society will begin. Transhumanists versus conservatives.
There are also many risks associated with the emergence of "superhuman." These people will become more influential and will clearly interfere with the standard course of life. Modification of the body can become a gray and uncontrolled process and lead to colossal unforeseen disasters in the future.
Now almost all research in the field of nanotechnology is reduced to the creation of new nanopolymers based on graphene, fullerenes, the study of the concepts of nanomotors, mechanisms, as well as the creation of a theoretical basis for future developments. The main product that nanotech can give us is von Neumann machines.
Von Neumann cars
Von Neumann machines are robots capable of self-replication and control of matter at different levels, depending on their miniature size. The triumph of nanotech can be the management of physical matter at the subatomic level. In the framework of current technologies, this is pure water NF. To create them, many barriers will have to be overcome, and just the triumph of nanotechnology may come very late. According to some forecasts, from 2050 to 2100. But in general it is the 2070s. Unresolved issues of energy supply, control of millions of replicating machines, orientation in space (after all, even the smallest gyroscope or camera needs trillions of molecules). There is also a high probability that these robots are generally not technically feasible, at least in our lifetime. Now we are talking about creating "simple" robots, which, for example,
As mentioned above, this technology can have excellent medical applications: to deprive a person of a large part of known diseases and delete existing ones. Nanotechnology is also likely to help reanimate cryopatients. With further miniaturization of technology and a reduction in the level of work, new opportunities will be available. For example, work at the cellular level. In cooperation with bioinformatics and cytology, it will be possible to easily achieve the physical immortality of the body by disabling the aging mechanisms, or correct errors that appear during aging.
In addition to medical applications, nanotech has enormous potential in the construction of huge astroengineering structures for a space elevator or even the Dyson sphere. In addition to astroengineering facilities, the issue of building huge skyscrapers from composite nanomaterials should be resolved. This can solve the issue of overpopulation and multilevel farms and fields.
Harm and Risk
Like any developed technology, and this one has huge risks. If it gets into the wrong hands, viruses can be created that will act even more harmful than regular biological ones. It can also open up huge opportunities for espionage.
In technological singularity, biology plays two roles: Helping to achieve the physical immortality of the body to realize the unlimited potential of the human personality and creating effective nootropics to unlock the enormous potential of the brain, such as in people with savant syndrome (or disproving the existence of this potential).
Immortality paves the way for moral and ethical issues. However, one should not deny that the value of the life of its citizens has always been important for the state. For this, ministries of health were created and are being created. However, along with the growing life expectancy, questions of the "aging" of society are raised. This issue is relevant in developed countries such as Japan. An eternally young society will be able to constantly accumulate experience and accumulate knowledge, completely free the state from pension payments and the unemployed population. In addition to popularizing immortality, it is very likely that a person will be spared from hereditary diseases, deformities and disabilities even at the stage of birth. Already there is IVF .
In addition to ethical issues, discussions about immortality often raise the issue of overpopulation. Personally, I believe that people who claim that after reaching immortality the population will go up sharply are greatly mistaken. Just look at the statistics and look into the animal world. In countries with a low standard of living, there is a high birth rate, and in developed countries such as Australia, Germany, Iceland, Finland, and others, absolute control over the population level is visible. In the animal world, exactly the same trends are observed. For example, various insects live every day, but are born every day by billions around the world, and long-living creatures have offspring of a maximum of two or three individuals.
In recent studies, information is increasingly confirmed that the brain of a rational person has enormous potential, which for some reason is turned off. Perhaps the inclusion of this potential will lead to a rapid “burnout" of the brain, but this question is generally completely unexplored and requires further research. It is also possible that in addition to tremendous opportunities, unnecessary deviations like autism appear. There have already been such people in history. For example, Kim Peak, who remembered up to 98% of the information read, or Daniel Tammet, who, I quote:
It can make the most complicated mathematical calculations in the mind, operating with numbers consisting of more than a hundred characters. He also proved that in a week he could learn a language completely unfamiliar to him (using the example of the Icelandic language).
To describe this phenomenon, scientists coined the term "mathematical synesthesia."
Thus, the development of nootropics that can open these sections of the brain will bring intelligence to a new level and will pose new risks. In fact, this is a biological human-computer interface, and therefore all the same dangers act on it, in particular, the already mentioned fragmentation of society.
What will follow next? I do not know. Probably, people will nevertheless come to the creation of artificial intelligence. Perhaps this will happen in the 2030s, and perhaps never. We need to realize that if AI is created, then we still have to pass the wand sooner or later.
I conceived this article as an article that should change something in the minds of people. I want us all to understand that we are living in a very interesting and wonderful time, I think that it is our generation that will either plunge into darkness or break into the fantastic future of fantastic technologies.
PS I think that there will be comments and questions to my article in the comments, I am ready to quickly listen to them and correct the shortcomings :)
Thanks to user zv347 for help in fixing errors and typos.
Thanks to Amomum for correcting a blunder, not Feynman machines, but von Neumann machines. It is strange that no one has noticed before.