The Singularity Discussion: Part One
The Singularity concept has come up a few times in conversation this week and it’s an interest topic that I am aware of, but unfortunately do not know as much about it as I’d like. This theory was made popular by Ray Kurzweil who mentions his becoming aware of the Singularity in a book I own called Science Fiction and Philosophy:
“Gradually, I’ve become aware of a transforming event looming in the first half of the twenty-first century. Just as a black hole in space dramatically alters the patterns of matter and energy accelerating toward the event horizon, this impending Singularity in our future is increasingly transforming every institution and aspect of human life, from sexuality to spirituality.”
I don’t think it was ever so clear to me than after reading that just why it was referred to as The Singularity, the point where technological advancements move so quickly and are so all-encompassing that its effect on humanity becomes irreversible and ultimately human consciousness and machines combine to form a super intelligence.
As a biologist, this is upsetting because there is so little that we know about Biology and if it all comes to an end through the abandonment of flesh and organic matter for some concept of super-intelligence. Now, granted, I am young and only vaguely versed with all the concepts that go into this, but it is a sad and lonely thought. Without biology there would be no technology to abandon the flesh for. It’s thrilling, but desolate.
It’s interesting because some people — such as my boyfriend — don’t think that we will have the opportunity to see this singularity. However, most staunch advocates of the Singularity theory believe it will happen within the 21st century. I don’t really know where I stand on all of this, but it certainly is entertaining. It brings a whole new perspective to the idea of immortality, which is the reason for all the excitement and wishful thinking about the Singularity happening within our lifetime.
Realistically though, what happens if you download the contents of your brain into the cyberworld? How does one compartmentalize all the memories and experiences that make up a single individual’s life and then dump them into a machine and somehow rationalize a way to hold all those packets of information together to form a single functional consciousness?
I plan on reading up more on this concept and revisiting my initial thoughts about the Singularity and the fascinating assertions that make up this theory. Stay tuned!
— Deirdre McCormick, Editor
Editor’s Note: Deirdre McCormick is a third year Biology Major with a minor in Creative Writing. She is deeply passionate for both topics and that is evident in much of her writing endeavors. She was also recently published in Lewis University’s own Windows magazine.