Utopia is Inevitable!

I feel that Steve Morris’ criticism of utopia in his recent article Utopia?! Get Real! demands a response.

For starters let’s consider the following quote from the article: “It’s all too obvious that humans simply aren’t equipped to build a Utopia or even to live in one.”

Yes humans do have lots of failings. A big failing is the inability of some humans to see the almost certainty of utopia, which we’re approaching. Technology creating utopia is essentially inescapable. The logic for utopia is compelling. The likelihood of technology not creating utopia is so implausible we can state utopia is inevitable.

Typical human flaws are a brilliant reason why humans are being redefined via terms such as “H+” or “Transhuman.” The point is we are leaving behind the outdated human baggage regarding racism, homophobia, idiocy or any other human failings. We are becoming more than human. The Singularity is all about Transhumanism, it is about transcending limits. We are transcending human flaws, or more precisely we’re surpassing inhuman flaws, we are enhancing our humanity, we’re becoming more civilized, thus H+ is a common term within futurism circles.

Steve Morris is correct when he states humans aren’t equipped to build or live in utopia, likewise we must note humans aren’t naturally equipped to communicate instantly with anyone around the world. My point is one of augmentation. From phones to the internet, or aeroplanes to Space-stations, or reading-glasses to microscopes, humans utilize technology to become more than human. Artificial Intelligence will soon represent a truly explosive augmentation. Certainly it’s clear many humans aren’t equipped to contemplate utopia, but technology will solve this via augmenting humans who are otherwise ill-equipped to do so on their own. Our future is not one where humans are ill-equipped, it is a future where Transhumans are perfectly equipped to tackle any problem. The wonders of nanotechnology, synthetic biology, or Stem Cells clearly demonstrate our progress towards becoming more than human. I do recognize there is a long way to go, but I also note how the speed of progress is accelerating.

It is also pertinent to note how intelligence is a relatively new phenomenon for the human race. The idea of civilization is not very old. The Stone Age only ended sometime between 4,500 BC and 2,000 BC. Humans in our current form evolved no earlier than 200,000 BC. We are a young species. It is only recently humans have largely abolished slavery, or given equal rights to women. The mistakes humans have made and continue to make are purely due to our intellectually immature state. We are mere children, we are learning. Metaphorically regarding our intellects we stumble when trying to walk. Initially we could only crawl. Now we are learning how to walk therefore we often fall thus grazing our knees, but we are progressing. One day we will walk without stumbling and then we will run; shortly afterwards our intellectual capacity will become supersonic. It is a mistake to think the current culture of humans is the sole representation of intelligent civilization forever. We are changing, we are evolving, intelligence is increasing.

Steve Morris presents a typical argument about people disagreeing regarding the definition of utopia, thus he states: “Even if we had a Utopia, it wouldn’t be to everyone’s taste.” This is a common fallacy, the idea of people not agreeing about what actually constitutes utopia, it is based upon a failure to understand how scarcity causes all wars and violence. Every crime, every form of dysfunctional behavior, every disagreement, and every religion is based on scarcity. Technology relentlessly pushes us towards a Post-Scarcity situation. All forms of scarcity will be eradicated thus everyone will be perfectly satisfied. Logic in the future will be utterly dominant, all irrationality will be obsolete. The Singularity is about intelligence millions of times greater than human intelligence, we are contemplating at least 20,000 years of progress (based on the rate of progress in year 2001) condensed into only one hundred years. It is a future where everything is free, nobody dies, everybody is eternally young, all governments are abolished, crimes are abolished, and everyone is utterly self-sufficient therefore free to zoom off independently into Space, whereupon people will create strange worlds according to the desires of each individual.

If the preposterously insane situation of people disagreeing about utopia does occur in the future (it really won’t but let’s consider it), then it will be very easy to create a new universe, for each individual, therefore you can escape into infinity. It will be possible in the future for anyone to be utterly separate from anyone who possibly disagrees with you. The level of intelligence we are contemplating is utterly awesome thus we will leave childish worries very far behind.

Finally we should note there is a difference between Utopia the novel or place (capitalised) and utopia the concept (lower-case). The concept refers to a perfect system, a perfect way of life. When I state “perfect” I mean utterly flawless for all people. This is not fiction we are dealing with.

About the Author:

Singularity Utopia writes for Singularity-2045, a Post-Scarcity orientated website dedicated to increasing awareness regarding the coming technological utopia. The goal is to make the Singularity happen sooner instead of later.

 

  • http://www.facebook.com/steve.morris.5815 Steve Morris

    Well, I don’t often get characterised as a Luddite. In fact, this must be the first time ever.

    I won’t allow you to characterise me as some kind of reactionary anti-technologist. I am a passionate advocate of the benefits arising from the accelerating development of technology.

    We both believe in the law of accelerating returns and the enormous material improvements that the future holds in store. We don’t need to argue about that. And I agree that we are gradually discarding some of our negative cultural baggage like racism and homophobia.

    But as technology accelerates, the unintended consequences are becoming larger and larger. Many people believe that the singularity poses humanity’s greatest existential risk. To assume that all problems are simply going to disappear “in the future” is misguided, or at best unjustified.

    I have a problem with the way that you insist on inserting words like “utopia” and “perfection” into the discussion. You use it like a mantra. You even name yourself after the idea. It seems like an obsession.

    But don’t worry. In the future, “every form of dysfunctional behaviour … will be eradicated.” According to you.

    I don’t know why you keep assuming that “in the future” every problem will be solved. It seems like an article of faith, so I’m not going to try to persuade you otherwise. Every time your argument encounters an obstacle you just jump around it. So, in your world view, all wars and violence are caused by scarcity … which will be eradicated. All mental illness is an expression of human suffering … which will be eradicated. Anyone who disagrees with your point of view “will be augmented.” Scary thinking.

    I was beginning to think that you didn’t have a sense of humour. Then you wrote that if anyone doesn’t like utopia “then it will be very easy to create a new universe” just for them. Now I know that you’re having a laugh.

  • http://singularity-2045.org/ Singularity Utopia

    I didn’t state you are a Luddite Steve. I recognise you are looking froward to the Singularity. My point is that you misunderstand key aspects of the future.

  • http://singularity-2045.org/ Singularity Utopia

    It is not an article of faith any more than a person driving a car expecting brakes to slow the car down when needed is faith. It is simply an awareness of logic, the logic regarding the mechanics of technology and intelligence. There are clear examples of technology and intelligence providing strong foundations for the logic supporting utopia.

  • http://www.facebook.com/steve.morris.5815 Steve Morris

    Nobody understands the future. We’re all just guessing.

  • http://singularity-2045.org/ Singularity Utopia

    “Many people believe that the singularity poses humanity’s greatest existential risk.”

    Many people also believe in God, Christ, but merely because many people believe something this does not make it true, it does not mean we should give the belief credence.

  • http://singularity-2045.org/ Singularity Utopia

    Perhaps some guesses are more educated, with a more sturdy logic underpinning the guess, thus the prediction is very accurate.

  • http://singularity-2045.org/ Singularity Utopia

    My usage of words “utopia” and “perfection” is merely a focus, no more an obsession than a synthetic-biologist continually referring to DNA. Information interests me therefore I utilize information in the best possible way, the most efficient way. My name saves time because in addition to being a identifier, it conveys an very clear viewpoint regarding my focus thus at a glance people know my viewpoint, on a basic level. Julie Smith for example is an inefficient name because the word Julie or Smith conveys little useful information. Gender specific names appended to a surname are outdated in our increasingly modern world. If I was called Sally, Alison, Jennifer, Bill, Dave, or Adam, this would be a waste of a name. Typical names have no meaning, they are inefficient. I therefore use a dual purpose name, which was actually the case somewhat originally with name this a family of carpenters would have the surname Carpenter.

    Maybe the actor Simon Baker (Mentalist) should rename himself Simon Actor because he is not known for baking bread?

  • Wholewitt

    Utopia I doubt, but predictions are difficult. One thing I can say is that there has never been a technology without some bad side effect. Burning fossil fuels, Apple maps or medicines. I hope they can be contained but that may be hard to do with near unlimited computing power. Just look at the problems caused by radical Islamists using only minor tech.

  • http://singularity-2045.org/ Singularity Utopia

    The side effects are becoming less and less noticeable. Consider computers for example, yes we have viruses and hacking but the good of computers FAR outweighs any bad, furthermore it is easy to back-up your data and viruses can easily be removed. Hacking is hardly the end of the world, in fact some people think is a step forward because “information wants to be free.”

    The relatively minor side effects regarding progress are insignificant compared to the actual progress, BUT the MOST IMPORTANT POINT is that our intelligence is increasing thus we now make less mistakes, we have the intelligence to easily correct mistakes. We are approaching a point where the side effects are zero due to our massively increased intelligence.

    Radical Islamists have not caused any noteworthy problems via tech. Yes there are bombings, hijackings, and Twin Towers collapsing, but the problem is not tech, the problem is the idiotic human overreaction to a relatively minor loss of life. Nearly 20,000 people die each year in the US due to falling over, and around 40,000 die in car accidents. My point is some fears regarding side effects are over-exaggerated. Why focus on an extremely minor side effect of technology such as radical Islamists, furthermore is this really a side effect? Wars have decreased due to technology thus without technology it is very likely radical Islamists could be killing more people with their bare hands.

    Soon cars will be self-driving thus the 40,000 lives lost yearly in the US will drastically be decreased, which is the case with all aspects of technology. If there is a side-effect regarding self-driving cars then overall I am sure the loss of life will be drastically less. For every five steps forward we take no more than one backward.

    It is a mistake to think because there have been side effects in the past there will always be side effects, it is tantamount to assuming a child constantly falling over grazing its knees means the child will always fall over and graze its knees. If you judge the future based on the past you will be seriously mistaken. For example prior to breaking to sound barrier you could have said humans have never broken the sound barrier thus we will never break the sound barrier, which is a very wrong prediction.

  • DW_Chen

    Gracious writer Utopia,

    I enjoy your vigorous enthusiasm for future of our human species. The utopia you seek is to be cherished. I hope you are correct in your view.

    Yet, I stand disappointed. Your speech is exacerbated with condescension toward your fellow man. I urge you to reconsider your maligned discourse towards others. It makes a big thinker, look sadly small.

    I mean this with no disrespect,

    Chen

  • http://www.facebook.com/mark.waser Mark Waser

    I’ll continue my ongoing debate with you . . . .

    First, utopia is not “inevitable” because it is quite possible that we could go extinct (from causes ranging from meteor strike to catastrophic human stupidity) long before any utopia is possible.

    Second, utopia is only possible when you are wired to love the status quo. Intelligent entities will *always* find things to change (ranging from their lack of knowledge through societal lack of knowledge to uplifting others). The lifestyle of the current rich would appear to be utopia to cavemen or those in the third world, yet that does not stop their discontent.

    Third, many of our current problems are not caused by scarcity but inequity and selfishness. Hunger could have been eradicated years ago. Short of humans becoming better, there is no reason to believe that even virtually boundless resources will relieve scarcity.

    I love your vision but feel that you are over-selling it as a sure thing (and thereby endangering it). But keep on writing — the meme needs to be out there.

  • http://twitter.com/Matthew_Bailey Matthew_Bailey

    Why did I know who the author of this article was going to be.

    And, there will always be people like me, who have a list of people we want to see made miserable for as long as possible.

    As long as there is someone miserable, it will not be “Utopia”…

    And that is just ONE thing that is wrong with it.

  • http://twitter.com/Matthew_Bailey Matthew_Bailey

    Steve, in case you haven’t figured it out by now…

    SU is a little bit insane…

  • http://www.singularityweblog.com/ Socrates

    Hey Matthew_Bailey, please be respectful and do not insult others or I will have no choice but to ban you!

  • http://singularity-2045.org/ Singularity Utopia

    Nobody will be miserable in the future. Any person who wants to make other people miserable will be obsolete in the future, this is why utopia is inevitable. The causes of misery will be abolished. Don’t underestimate the power of extreme intelligence.

  • http://singularity-2045.org/ Singularity Utopia

    Utopia is inevitable although you could take the view that nothing is inevitable because until something happens there is always at least a small possibility it will not happen. The word “inevitable” does exist and we do use it. I am sure I am correct to state utopia is inevitable.

    Yes there is a possibility we could become extinct and there is a possibility reality is merely a dream thus we will wake-up tomorrow, but these possibilities are so unlikely they can be discounted.

    Utopia is not about being wired to love the status quo. Utopia is about being incredibly powerful and incredibly intelligent, limitlessly so, in a world beyond scarcity. Exploring and improving our reality due to the creative nature of our minds does not mean utopia is impossible. I disagree that the lifestyles of the current rich are utopian from a caveman perspective, that would be a flawed definition of utopia. Utopia is not a relative term.

    Ah ha, everything problematic is caused by sacrcity; “inequity and selfishness” are wholly problems associated with scarcity. Hunger could not have been eradicated years ago. Food is too precarious due to scarcity, the best you could hope for is improved distribution-supply of food but not eradication of hunger.

  • http://singularity-2045.org/ Singularity Utopia

    None taken.

  • http://singularity-2045.org/ Singularity Utopia

    Don’t ban him on my account. When people resort to insults instead of reasoned debate you know you are winning, you know the logic is prevailing, you know you’ve effectively countered all objections to utopia, very logically, therefore the opponents of utopia, such as Matthew, have only insults remaining. So despite insults not being preferable they are a good sign regarding a battle against cynics almost won.

  • Lu Lu

    And anyone who still feel like to be sadistic can retreat to a custom-designed VR world where they can do whatever they want.
    Or, if their brains are properly augmented, they will see the pointlessness of being sadistic and overcome it (the more intelligence the easier it is supposed to be).

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  • Gary Kent

    I think you side stepped a very important point from Mark. The possibility of extinction is not a dream of negligible possibility to be discounted. You are ignoring present science observations. We are in the beginning stages of a major global extinction event even as we chat. Not all science is about new technologies. Much science is related to understanding through observation what is actually happening right now. Many species are already extinct due to ‘human ignorance’ and ‘unintended consequences’ of our abuse of technologies. Many people have already died as an unintended consequence related to climate change and many, many more are likely to die in the very near future. Much, if not all, life on Earth is in a race for our lives. Much that we already understand fails to be implemented due to ancient human conditioning. True scarcity of the necessities of life has not existed in Western civilization for many decades, but that has not stopped many from dying for want of those necessities. Today, it is usually the ancient monetary system that governs our relationships and economic discourse that artificially creates scarcity. Are we going to be able to create a technology or technologies that make the monetary system obsolete and implement that technology before we make our planet uninhabitable? It looks to me like the jury is still way out on that one because now you are dealing with the science of human conditioning. What are you going to do with all the 7+ billion heavily conditioned people who fail to understand the need to change based on our new understandings and technologies? Do you have a final solution for them? There is a momentum to human civilization that is being accelerated by technology but from my perspective it very unclear where that acceleration will take us. We all hope for your Utopia Singularity.

  • http://singularity-2045.org/ Singularity Utopia

    I am sure global warming, or climate change as they call it now because there is no significant warming, will not be a threat. The Earth’s climate has been changeable before man and these changes currently occurring are not disastrous, or before the become disastrous we will easily invent the technologies for the remedy.

    Artificial scarcity is an illusion, it does not exist. People see greater abundance and assume scarcity has ended but the end of scarcity is being repressed. If scarcity has truly ended it would not be possible to repress it, the repression of wealth, the restriction of wealth to billionaires, is wholly due to scarcity, which makes people such as billionaires cling to scarcity resources, their billions.

    Technology will unavoidably educate people and in the meantime I try my best inform the billions of people who don’t understand Post-Scarcity.

  • Gary Kent

    Show me the science that indicates that there has been “no significant warming”. My research shows very much the opposite. The warming over the past two centuries has been unmatched on Earth within the last 5 million years. Man has initiated a shift to a new ‘geological period’ along with all the significant extinction events that accompany a change of that magnitude. False beliefs, not based on verifiable facts, are not science, they are superstition.

  • http://singularity-2045.org/ Singularity Utopia
  • Gary Kent

    You are not serious? These links are all for opinions posted by people with conceded economic interests. There is no peer reviewed science here.

  • http://singularity-2045.org/ Singularity Utopia

    I admit the truth is hard to decipher when you consider climategate: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climatic_Research_Unit_email_controversy BUT the link regarding the UK Met Office is very valid.

    Consider also this, note the quote below: http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2013/06/18/any-global-warming-since-1978-two-climate-experts-debate-this/

    “Since I am primarily a data guy, I’ll confine my comments here to discussing recent climate trends but note that the global climate has warmed since the Little Ice Age (about 1400-1700 AD), and it will likely continue to warm for another 200-300 years, in fits and starts, towards a max temp roughly matching that of the Medieval Warm Period. In this context, “recent” refers to the decades since 1978 when satellites became available to measure atmospheric temperatures globally to supplement global radiosonde (balloon) records that reach back to about 1958.”

    When the UK Met Office, a proponent of climate change, admitted they overestimated global warming, many media organisations rightly accused the Met Office of trying to burying bad news because the Met Office released their data on Christmas Eve. Yes temperatures may be getting warmer although some disagree, but there is no need for panic, it is likely natural warming similar to the MWP but even if unnatural there is nothing to worry about. I agree with Kurzweil on this, technology will be able to remedy any warming problems long before they are a real threat.

    http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/environment/futurist-ray-kurzweil-isnt-worried-about-climate-change/7389/

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/01/12/met_predictions/

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2259012/Global-warming-Met-Office-releases-revised-global-temperature-predictions-showing-planet-NOT-rapidly-heating-up.html

  • http://www.Zeitgeist-NC.com/ Gary Kent

    Spoken like a true believer. Pray to your singularity god that a miracle may be manifest and humanities follies undone in the blink of an eye. A careful and objective study of the science behind the effects of increasing amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere clearly indicate that our planet has an energy equilibrium with the space through which we move that is delicately regulated by the composition of our atmosphere. The addition of human generated greenhouse gases means that the overall energy of the Earth system is being increased. Where is that extra energy going? Because the thin layer of surface air temperatures discussed in the studies you cite, don’t seem to reflect the additional amounts of energy being retained by the Earth system mean that the overall system’s energy has not increased? The melting polar ice caps would seem to indicate otherwise. The increasing intensity of weather phenomena would seem to indicate otherwise. The overall rise in the temperature of the world’s oceans seem to indicate otherwise. The amount of water vapor in the atmosphere would seem to indicate otherwise and yes, water vapor is also a greenhouse gas. But that is just the beginning of humanities follies. The over cultivation of the land and over fishing of the oceans combined with the massive amounts of toxic pollutants being dumped everywhere by our of control consumption society mean dying forests, farmlands and oceans. For how much longer will we be able to produce enough food to feed 7+ billion people under unstable climatic conditions? Can we fix these problems? Given enough time, yes, perhaps most could be fixed, by just rationally applying today’s understandings. But is that happening? What good will reaching the singularity serve if society is unwilling and unable to wisely apply the understanding gained thereby? Technological growth is not the only singularity being rapidly approached right now. Humanities follies are also rapidly approaching an asymptotic singularity. No matter how grand our scientific understanding, it will serve little purpose unless we can find a way to actually apply our understandings rationally, objectively and yes, scientifically to the very real near term crises we face. The deadline has already passed to deal rationally with these issues. We are now in penalty overtime. We will pay dearly in human lives from here forward. To my way of thinking, that is a very real and immediate threat.

  • http://singularity-2045.org/ Singularity Utopia

    Sorry I really do not see this immediate threat, there is no evidence of immediate threat. As far as I am aware climate change scientists usually state things will only become bad sometime around 2050 but by 2040 or 2045 at the absolute latest we will easily control any aspect of the planet, we have not passed the point of no return. No need to “pray” as you put it, regarding science and technology having the power to change the world, the evidence is clear.

  • http://www.Zeitgeist-NC.com/ Gary Kent

    Apparently you have taken thw time to examine the issue a bit more closely. I appreciate that and can ask little more of you. I would however like to point out to you how critical the time table that the “scientists usually state” may be and ask you to keep in mind the present unpredictability of global climate change and the social difficulty of implementing any possible solutions that we already have or might develop in the near future. Some of the forecasts indicate major social disruptions by 2030 well before your forecast time for singularity.