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Sunday, December 16, 2012

The singularity approaches; here endeth the lesson.


There are seven billion people on the planet and every one of them thinks things ought to be different. This puts a great deal of pressure on everybody. Some people are unable to handle that pressure and at some point they finally snap. Every day brings new inventions, new gadgets, new discoveries, new opportunities, and new dangers. We stand at the cusp of the singularity and even though few people even understand what that is, still we all feel an enormous pressure that's building and building. As we approach the technological singularity you may begin to feel a bit uneasy. We've already passed the point of no return. Space and time are beginning to spread out and time seems like it's slowing down as our speed increases geometrically, exponentially.

Please allow me to function as your tour guide during these relatively brief and few moments that all of us have left. All things change; unless something is somehow impossibly brought down to the temperature of absolute zero, and even then all you've accomplished is a temporary pause in that change. Sooner or later that temperature is going to change and then entropy will once again begin its inexorable march to what scientists call the heat death of the universe.

If you look to your left, you will see a scurrying and clucking gaggle of Anser-Doomicus, or sky-is-falling geese. Please observe the different colors of their plumage: pinks and purples and greens, but keep your hands inside the car because these little cluckers have a nasty bite. You can see warmists, changists, exhaustists, faminists, droughtists, pick your doomsday Raison d'être and it's pretty likely that the particular species already exists. What's that? Oh yes ma'am, lots of these geese really do believe the sky is falling. Some of them don't, but as you can see, it looks like they get a kick out of scaring the crap out of all the rest.

Ladies and gentlemen it looks like we're in for a treat! If you'll cast your eyes even further to the left, you'll see a herd of Bison-Bullshiticus, or Bluffalo headed our way. Now folks this is where it's going to get a little bit scary. I promised you some excitement and some thrills and folks...here they come! They'll threaten to stampede right over the edge of the fiscal cliff, and carry us with them. Just hang on to your seats folks, and I'll try to speed us out of the way.

Whew! Folks, I don't know about you, but I think I might need a new pair of underdrawers! Now everybody, around us you'll see the valley of the shadow of death we're going through right now. It's an urban jungle packed to the rafters with boatloads of every kind of sheeple imaginable. There's single parent sheeple and illegal immigrant sheeple. There are African American sheeple, lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender sheeple. There's homeless sheeple and union sheeple; you may even be lucky enough to spot a few examples of those two ever-more-endangered species called Catholic sheeple and Jewish sheeple.

You'll have already noticed all the foreclosure signs, and the going-out-of-business signs nailed to every building in this dark valley. Yes folks, this is definitely the kind of place you'd rather visit than have to live in, but everybody here cast their ballots and decided that here they would stay. Everybody, please keep your windows rolled all the way up and your hands inside the vehicle. And please, whatever you do, don't feed these animals! Lord only knows what kind of diseases they're carrying.

Pay attention everyone! This marks the boundary point. Right here, we are crossing over the point of no-return. We don't know what wonders, what mysteries and what marvels lie in wait. On maps it just says: "Here be dragons!" We will probably see self-aware robots and artificially intelligent computers. We may see flying cars; we may see colonies on the moon or in space. We might even see colonies in the asteroid belts or even on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. It's remotely possible—though unlikely—that we'll even see colonies sent on their way to some other star system with the promise of a colonizing a habitable planet—Earth-2. All things are possible on the other side of this massive singularity you see before you.

Now folks keep in mind that as we approach this thing, the pressure is going to build up unimaginably! It may well kill every single one of us. I've never been through it. Nobody has. If you look at all the works and inventions that mankind has created since the dawn of time, it's possible to plot our achievements on a gradually ascending asymptotic curve—[X=A*B2]—which is now beginning to go vertical at an exponential rate.

Humans have almost reached the point where we will create a computer that is smarter than we are. Once that point is reached, the achievement curve will become a computer achievement curve and it will go full-vertical. When that line does go vertical—which is about to happen—all things will be possible both good things and bad things. Yes folks, I afraid that it's true. I really do have both some good news and some bad news. The good news is that never before, in the entire history of mankind, have times been this interesting. That's also the bad news.

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