Remember Those Who Starve! - 1921 Russian Poster by Ivan Simakov (1877-1925). Source: Wikipedia (public domain)
Wilkins was shocked by the devastation inflicted upon the Russian people when he visited there in the 1920’s. In a letter to his friend Yanagita he wrote:
Revolutionaries see only the end state. Their minds are rarely big enough to see how the people they hope to save cannot reach this place alone. They have to be carried. It’s like a parable my father once told me about: how Jesus carried a man through his most difficult times. We have to be the people’s Jesus if we want them to make it safely from where they have been to where we want them to be.
I’ve heard many arguments against the development of artificial intelligence (Ai) and the possibility of uploading our consciousness to similar artificial environments, or at least artificially enhancing our minds and bodies. They say that our governments will not let it happen, or that the churches will be able to put sufficient pressure to bear to prevent it. I disagree. Ai will have access to sufficient computational resources to be able to “what if” its way past our societal limiters; governments, churches etc. It will know what an un-enhanced human will do long before we ourselves do – or at least it will have worked out many millions of scenarios, with solutions to preserve themselves banked for each perceived action, ready to be deployed.
Once the singularity is close, it is inevitable. As to the question of how close, to have proposed this question is itself a strong indicator that the turning point of human engineering has passed and that a human engineered limiter is no longer possible.
Am I frightened? No!
Who should be frightened? The current powerbase. In any revolution, power shifts and those who cling longest and most desperately to the old ways will suffer the worst.
Lets look at a powerbase from recent history; the monarchy. The English monarchy still exists today and although they are still wealthy from a capital perspective, they do not have either the cash flow or the power of life or death over their people. It is quite the opposite; they exist at the mercy of their people, kept on life support in a human zoo or museum for the people’s amusement.
How did the English Monarchy survive when the Russian or French did not? They divested their power to the people; they set their people free and this act of grace and trust enabled them to avoid the fate of many other monarchies that clung too desperately to their historic powers.
So who amongst us will hold the power when the inevitable singularity occurs? I think it will be those who embrace the opportunities to enhance our intelligence; it will be those who are able to free their minds.
I don’t know, and haven’t had enough time to digest the implications of these thoughts. If I hark back to the beginings of this note; I don’t have the neural capacity to “what if” my final opinion in the time it has taken to write the words from there to here!