After the Singularity

Alice was not a bit hurt, and she jumped up on to her feet in a moment: she looked up, but it was all dark overhead; before her was another long passage, and the White Rabbit was still in sight, hurrying down it. There was not a moment to be lost: away went Alice like the wind, and was just in time to hear it say, as it turned a corner, ‘Oh my ears and whiskers, how late it’s getting!’ She was close behind it when she turned the corner, but the Rabbit was no longer to be seen: she found herself in a long, low hall, which was lit up by a row of lamps hanging from the roof. There were doors all round the hall, but they were all locked; and when Alice had been all the way down one side and up the other, trying every door, she walked sadly down the middle, wondering how she was ever to get out again.
– ‘Alice in Wonderland’

Nobody is discussing what happens AFTER the singularity-like explosion of intelligence. Some parts of our society are already being drawn into the edge of an intelligence singularity. Other parts are not yet affected and may linger outside for some time. But it seems inevitable that most of our world will eventually be changed significantly.

We will not enter singularity-like growth and then somehow exit the growth zone and become static. There are two prime possibilities: one is that the exponential growth in intelligence will continue and the other is that growth in intelligence will continue but at a more steady rate without wild acceleration.

The first case sounds wild and fantastic, but it’s not impossible. Most exponential curves end in some form of asymptote, a kind of boundary that limits some factor of the curve, while taking it off the edge of the chart in some direction. This is actually a pretty good description of a black hole or a singularity. So perhaps the analogy is apt. Intelligence that reaches an asymptote and goes off the scale, becomes difficult to describe. It’s just as easy to postulate that we become God and capable of creating new universes.

The second case is that the change in rate of growth may stabilize. Growth in intelligence is at the core of this matter. As our intelligence grows rapidly, it creates ripples across every other area and then the changes brought about by those ripples feed back into more growth in intelligence. However, it is possible that once we have transitioned across the “event horizon” into an area of super intelligence, our intelligence will continue to grow, but no longer at an exponential rate. This is another phenomenon often seen in exponential curves. The curve starts to go vertical, then some other factor comes into play that limits the growth and the curve flattens out.

In either case, it should be clear that the way we measure intelligence will change and that will also change how we define growth in intelligence. Our perspective on the framework will be different and that kind of change is usually accompanied by shifts in scale and direction and even new dimensions added to the framework.

As we cross the event horizon of the singularity, we will also be experiencing fast change in many other areas. Areas like computing, robotics, energy, bio-genetics, knowledge engineering and most facets of science and technology will be going through a similar process of rapidly increasing growth and then into new unknown territory.

The new world we find ourselves in on the other side of the event horizon will be very different. Developments in knowledge engineering and ethics will play key roles in determining how it is different. Rapid advances in science will require strong knowledge engineering to keep up and use the knowledge effectively. The potential for technology to be used as weapons or to make a catastrophic mistake will also be greatly increased and our ability to make ethical decisions will have to grow also or we will be risking self extinction.

Energy will become cheap and abundant, changing the world economy and politics. Sensors and connectivity will become ubiquitous, changing the way we interact with each other and our environment. Free education will of a higher quality than most expensive universities today. Advances in bio-genetics will conquer diseases and push longevity. Robotics, nanotechnology and additive manufacturing will completely change the way products are created and distributed.

Some individuals will become completely dependent upon government infrastructure and social programs while others will become completely self reliant and independent. This will stress and fracture our concepts of what government should be.

An emigration dispersion into the asteroid belt will continue the change process on Earth.

Augmented reality constructs will allow virtual teams to operate independently of location and at a much higher functional level.

Artificial intelligence will begin to lead humanity in the right direction, whether we are aware of it or not.

A substantial percentage of humanity will lag behind the rapid change process and remaining outside the event horizon will not be aware of many of the above changes until they begin to affect things in the old world.

Suddenly she came upon a little three-legged table, all made of solid glass; there was nothing on it except a tiny golden key, and Alice’s first thought was that it might belong to one of the doors of the hall; but, alas! either the locks were too large, or the key was too small, but at any rate it would not open any of them. However, on the second time round, she came upon a low curtain she had not noticed before, and behind it was a little door about fifteen inches high: she tried the little golden key in the lock, and to her great delight it fitted!

Alice opened the door and found that it led into a small passage, not much larger than a rat-hole: she knelt down and looked along the passage into the loveliest garden you ever saw. How she longed to get out of that dark hall, and wander about among those beds of bright flowers and those cool fountains, but she could not even get her head through the doorway; ‘and even if my head would go through,’ thought poor Alice, ‘it would be of very little use without my shoulders. Oh, how I wish I could shut up like a telescope! I think I could, if I only know how to begin.’ For, you see, so many out-of-the-way things had happened lately, that Alice had begun to think that very few things indeed were really impossible.
– ‘Alice in Wonderland’

SEE ALSO:
Through a Wormhole of Intelligence
Ethics is the Best Measure of a Civilization
The Length of a Civilization
Singularity Theory May Explain Fermi Paradox

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