Late last month I posted a story about the “Singularity Backlash“, with links to some critical pieces on the ‘cult of posthumanism’. To balance things up, here’s a link to the proponents of the singularity speaking their mind: “Reaching for Immortality“, another excellent article/interview by Alan Boyle over at his Cosmic Log, in which he speaks with Ray Kurzweil about some of the negative spin on the idea of post-humanism:
[T]here is intertwined promise and peril in all technologies. That’s always been the case. There are dangers in these new technologies that I’ve talked extensively about. There’s no simple pat answer, but the right answer is twofold: Have ethical standards for responsible practitioners, like the Asilomar guidelines for biotech, which have been very successful. And have a rapid-response system for irresponsible practitioners, like terrorists, so we can respond to them and protect ourselves.
We’ve been a technological species for tens of thousands of years, and it’s been the case that the technologically superior species has prevailed. There’s discussion now why Cro-Magnon man prevailed over Neanderthals, and it appears to be due to fairly subtle differences in our tool use. Our tools were more advanced than the Neanderthals’ and that’s always what prevails. We’ve been a human-machine civilization ever since we picked up a stick to reach a higher branch. We’ve extended our reach with our tools, physically, mentally. We’ve already done that with our health. Life expectancy was 23 a thousand years ago. I recently told some gifted middle-school kids that if it hadn’t been for this progress they all would be senior citizens.
And here’s some snippets of Kurzweil (and his detractors) in the trailer for the documentary about his singular(ity) dream, Transcendent Man:
Though going by the votes in the singularity poll here on TDG, most Grailers are rather skeptical about whether such a thing will ever happen…
Previously on TDG: