Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Geek Rapture - the Singularity is Fear

So, one day, starting at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies website, I meandered over to the commentary section for the blog relating to this audio podcast discussing the impending Singularity. It's one of my favorite whipping boy topics. I was excited to learn that my point of view even has a shorthand: the Geek Rapture, which about says it all.

I continue to be amazed at how trivial it remains for humans to hoist ourselves by our own petard. As though our progressive technological embodiment of idealized Turing machines is that big a deal. Don't get me wrong, it is a big deal from the perspective of our impact on the earth. We've become the perfected consumption machines ourselves now, acting like perfect roaches, without a care in the world about how or what or who we destroy. We are the evolutionary equivalent of that pond scum which multiplies without governor and seals the pond so much quicker than junior science students might think it would. An evolutionary dead end.

We are that proud of what we know, and that oblivious of our collective and individual ignorance. I remain confident that the smallest of creatures will, finally, check our advance, if we don't do it our murderous selves. But I still find myself among the saddest on the planet about what will be lost: there is such a fine distinction between music and technological noise; between dance and mindless reproduction.

But it may be that the human has already departed, sunken now beneath our collective inability to govern ourselves. The march of the Huns now so perfectly driven by the martial beat of disembodied sociopathic corporate predations against all life. Against all Earth. Inspired by the most insipid fundamentalist religions, no difference even down to the slightest detail, among the Christians, the Taliban, the Scientistic. They are each as convinced as the other than they have the perfect answer.

So here, gentle reader, is what happens to me when I get really angry. You can read my commentary here below, or over there at that Australian site. I get really pithed off.


Well, the note from the future is interesting, but otherwise it's pretty amazing that people still expect our fingernail clippings to wake up. Technology is what enables our predations is all, and fouls our ground for so long as we continue to act beastly; Lord of Earth indeed. We act like locusts.

These minimal characteristics ground consciousness: opposable thumbs/sensitive touch; recognizeable individual face/caring response; vocalizations from the grammatical black box/sharing of what's on the mind; conceptual modelling of similar complexity to outer perceptual reality/written language to extend models across time and space; emotional-intellectual center/emotional-intellectual belonging. Heart.

Well, that's a tip of the keyboard list, but in the end if we can build a machine which we feel toward as we do our children, then we will have become the machines that we aspire to, and the disappearance of earth, ground for our figure which is what evolution is all about, will have become redundant.

Interplay of light might be pretty, but I'll take my life slimy. You can't extract the evolutionary figure from its ground, any more than any code is separable from both the hardware it runs on and the deciphering mind which pins its meaning. Genotype without phenotype is meaningless; it can't evolve. Phenotype abstracted from environment is dead by definition. It's only a matter of time.

Not all reality is perceptual, as a simple thought experiment can demonstrate. There are relations which exist only in the mind. God and man for instance, or red and sky, or me and the object of my desire. But mind itself is a fact of all existence if you define it as conceptual modelling. It's not so much an evolutionary endpoint or culmination, as a constant fact defining relations not yet consummated by perceptual exchange of particulate force (insert contentious physics discussion).

Accidents are emotions waiting to happen, er, um, well, just because there's no causal chain doesn't make them meaningless, oh please anthropic principle!

Conscious intelligence is an epiphenomenon of written language, and can't be contained within any single physical mind, constructed or naturally grown. It depends on the ground of civilization, which technology in service to sociopathic corporate entities is, in beastly fashion, setting out so efficiently to destroy.

I guess that's about two cents worth, but I'm working on the gold version very hardly. I won't be so crass as to advertise my blog here - I'm guessing it's against the rules of polite commentary anyhow, not to mention that it's all very embarrassing being naked out in public. No real credentials and all . . .

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