Through a Wormhole of Intelligence

In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again.

The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well.

– ‘Alice in Wonderland’

The word, “singularity” is used to describe the explosion of intelligence that is beginning to transform human civilization. This word was chosen because of the similarities between the intelligence explosion and a gravitational singularity which is also known as a black hole. Black holes are formed when stars collapse in on themselves, creating a distortion in space. An extension of this idea that is popular in fiction, postulates “worm holes” or tubes of collapsed space that might allow some form of advanced travel across “flat” space. Following the comparison of gravitational collapse to exponential growth in intelligence tempts the question of where wormholes fit in.

Black holes were once purely a theoretical construct, but now are becoming accepted in modern science as a reality. Wormholes, however, remain in the realm of theory and fantasy at this point. What happens beyond the event horizon in gravitational collapse is unknown because the normal laws of physics become bent to the point of not being applicable in terms of our current science. Intelligence that is beyond our comprehension is similarly difficult to visualize and describe.

A black hole is created by a positive feedback collapse of gravity that bends space. An intelligence singularity is created by a positive feedback explosion that will challenge everything we think we know by adding so much new perspective as to shrink our previous knowledge into insignificance. In that sense, maybe the “explosion” in intelligence can be also considered a collapse. In gravitational collapse, the star shrinks a lot of matter into a much smaller (smaller at least in flat space terms) singularity, while the wormhole idea describes a transcendence of conventional flat space that allows new vistas to open up. If we think of the increase in intelligence as a condensing and concentrating of intelligence, that bends and distorts the background framework that we use to measure conventional intelligence and consciousness, the analogy may hold up.

We define intelligence as the ability to reason analytically and to apply the results wisely. Applying results wisely implies an ethical analysis to determine the best path. Analytical reasoning and ethical analysis use abstraction to isolate important facts, extrapolate future consequences and evaluate the desirability of the future end state. If we follow the black hole analogy, these skills would be increased at an exponential rate until they reach an “event horizon” where they have become so different from normal, that we can no longer perceive what is beyond that limit.

Advancing levels of abstraction is not difficult, but maintaining a usable link back to the original reality is not easy. The ability to map the layers of abstractions and understand their relevance (or lack of) must be improved at a rate at least equal to the overall rate of increase of intelligence. The method used to select which facts are key and which abstractions should be used will need to be improved. Increasing the ability to extrapolate will involve an understanding of how probability “fuzziness” increases with the range of extrapolation or the abstraction of the facts. And likewise, the evaluation of the end state involves all of these things, along with an increased understanding of how they apply to ethical analysis.

As these skills increase, they will feedback into each other, creating further increases and the exponential growth. More intelligence means reaching conclusions faster and with more accuracy. This produces greater ethics and wisdom about how to apply advanced intelligence. We will become smarter and wiser faster. At some point, we will be changing so fast that the changes will not be understandable or maybe not recognizable from our starting viewpoint. That is the event horizon.

In the concept of a spatial gravitational collapse that produces a wormhole, the collapsed area inside the event horizon has become so different from normal space that it can create a tunnel to another area. Our current understanding of black hole collapse suggests that any matter or energy going across the event horizon is deconstructed or rendered (read destroyed) down into fundamental building blocks. That would seem to make the wormhole idea of transport impossible. While it’s not so fantastic to imagine a wormhole spanning great distances of normal space, there is no explanation offered for how it would reverse and emit energy, much less reassemble destroyed objects into their original form. That’s like expecting one wave on a beach to reconstruct the sand castle that the previous wave demolished.

But a wormhole of intelligence might be a different thing, involving conscious choice and decision and creative will. An advanced state of intelligent creative imagination will also develop on some level the ability to manifest newly imagined creations. Our current technology can manifest tools that are far more precise and powerful than our natural human ability to manipulate our environment with our hands. An advanced state will enable us to imagine new kinds of tools and create them and use them to advance even further.

Basic human tools enable us to amplify leverage, lifting, pushing and pulling power. More advanced tools increase precision, create energy and span distance. Simple computing tools amplify speed and accuracy and increase scope and availability of information. Advanced intelligence tools will spawn new viewpoints, solve classical problems, pose new problems and solve them, and create new techniques for finding and solving problems at new levels. As mentioned previously, this expansion, when it is visible, will tend to “shrink” conventional frameworks for measuring intelligence and consciousness.

We tend to measure intelligence by accurate and quick reasoning and we use a relatively static information set as the measure. Specialized knowledge sets are usually out of scope. We could create a simple two dimensional map that uses accuracy and speed as measures of intelligence. Specialized knowledge could form a third axis, offering accuracy and speed measures across many subject areas. Simple intelligence tests may only probe possession of facts, while others require reasoning or calculation to reach an answer and still others actually test the ability to learn new processes or to abstract key knowledge. We could assign the type or depth of intelligence testing as a fourth dimension. Other dimensions might include measures of creativity, application, ethics and more.

Things like creativity, imagination, ethics, and consciousness don’t sound like conventional measures of intelligence. But they have always been involved with the processes of analytic reasoning and scientific discovery. As we begin to move through the intelligence wormhole, we will find new ways to map our position and measure our progress.

The fact is that we know as little about the fabric of time and space or how it was created as we do about how we measure intelligence and consciousness. In all of these areas, we struggle just to compose a good outlining framework.

WARNING – IT’S IMPORTANT TO BE AWARE OF LEVELS OF ABSTRACTION AND THAT ANALOGIES ARE ONLY USEFUL IF THEY HELP US TO UNDERSTAND SOME ASPECT OF REALITY

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

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