Tuesday, February 8, 2011

On the Singularity

What is the Singularity? The term is associated most with futurist Ray Kurzweil. (See: "Ray Kurzweil: That Singularity Guy.") However, I, of all people, have had the audacity to buy the domain name singularityhq.com and point it right to this blog. What kind of possibly delusional stuff is that all about?

In my previous post, regarding utopia, I made the observation that my thesis of utopianism and perfectionism covers more ground by centering on ethics, epistemology, and philosophy rather than politics. Politics is subordinate and derivative. The philosopher as such needs to discover the primary and the fundamental, i.e., to cover the greatest possible ground with each new integration. This process requires a huge amount of intellectual curiosity - the need to identify what items of fundamental importance one can in one's cognitive field of vision - and so, naturally, curiosity leads to encountering information about something called the Singularity, and to the realization that the concept of the Singularity would tie in with my concept of utopia. Not exactly anything mysterious going on here, at least yet, right? So just stick with this and see what "delusional" implications just might occur.

Now, as philosopher, I recognize that philosophy, in covering the most ground, takes hierarchical precedence over technology, which is Kurzweil's domain. I just have a more all-encompassion domain of vision than he does, in virtue of thinking more like a philosopher. He thinks like a technological inventor and futurist, so his knowledge in that domain would vastly exceed mine. But that doesn't affect my point. By virtue of our respective avenues of endeavor and interest, I can only say so much about technology, and he can only so so much about philosophy.

Now, what is technology, basically? It is a product of human conceptual consciousness. In this relation, human conceptual consciousness is the primary, technology is the secondary and derivative. This means human conceptual consciousness is more hierarchically primary than technology. Now, take a wild guess as to which domain of study focuses on the basic principles governing the functioning of human conceptual consciousness: philosophy, or technology?

With me still? Okay. Now, what would be of greater momentous import for human civilization: a technological maturity, or an intellectual and moral maturity? Now, if you were to ask Ray Kurzweil what he thinks intellectual and moral maturity consists in, and if he couldn't expertly tie his response to the ideas of Ayn Rand, David L. Norton and Thomas Hurka within a few seconds, then you're probably asking this question of the wrong "authority." You should be asking a philosopher.

And so, to cut a long story short, that's why a philosopher - the Ultimate Philosopher, in fact - bought the domain name singularityhq.com.


1 comment:

  1. Hi,
    I think the singularity hypothesis is easy enough to understand, but the media is generally not very good at clarifying tough issues.

    There are 3 ideas of the singularity. Accelerating Returns - the Kurzweil idea . you're familiar with the same.
    Event Horizon - When humans create the first superhuman intelligence, then we cannot predict what a being smarter than us would do.
    So, there is an event horizon beyond which it is not possible to predict.
    Intelligence Explosion - A superintelligent machine creates another superintelligent machine slightly more intelligent than itself and so on, until the most intelligent possible machine gets created.

    I personally, feel the intelligence explosion idea is the one that is truly deserving of the term singularity.