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Is The Singularity Happening Now?

Digital-Black-HolePeople have grossly misunderstood the Singularity if they think it is already happening or has happened. The Singularity is not a seamless merging of humans and technology, neither is it about mind-uploading. The Singularity is an intelligence explosion, we are considering utterly colossal intelligence.

I was inspired to clarify what the Singularity is because wearable computing pioneer Thad Starner, who is also the technical manager of Google Glass, recently stated:

“I would argue that we’re currently living the singularity, where the tool stops and the mind begins will start becoming blurry.”

Yes humans and technology will merge, in fact we are merging, but a merger of humans and technology is not the Singularity. The reason why we don’t yet have the Singularity can be demonstrated by several points:

  • 1. Our lack of immortality shows how our medical technology is not very proficient. The fact that people die in various ways despite our general desire to stay alive shows how medical technology is not very smart, in fact our level of intelligence regarding medical technology is positively dumb. Considering how stem cell applications will likely develop over the next 20 or 30 years (2033 – 2043), you can see our current life-extending medical tech is very non-Singular. While people are unavoidably mortal we do not have the Singularity. The Singularity however is more than mere medical immortality, hence these additional points:
  • 2. Our enslavement via resource-scarcity is another marker regarding deficient intelligence and deficient technology. Resource-scarcity clearly marks the absence of the intelligence explosion. Deficiency of technology entailing a necessity to work so that you can survive, the necessity to provide food and shelter, it is a necessity arising from a primitive level of technology, it is a pre-Singularity level of technology. The restrictiveness of scarcity controlling your life isn’t a smart way to live, it isn’t a smart way to utilise your existence. When brute survival dominates your life there is no freedom to truly explore your mind. Resource-scarcity shapes our lives in a very unintelligent manner, scarcity is unintelligent, which means crimes exist, money exists, and jobs exist. When the Singularity happens there will be no need to work, everything will be automated, there will be no money; everything will be free in a libertarian and financial sense. Constraints upon liberty only happen to ensure populations are subjugated, a subjugation which ensures compliance with wealth inequality. Deficient freedom depends upon wealth imbalance regarding a minority of people being very rich while the majority are poor. Freedom is restricted thereby forcing people to accept wealth inequality. Freedom is restricted to ensure people do not rebel against wealth inequality, which means financial liberty and existential liberty are inextricably interlinked. Furthermore, in a scarcity situation, stupidity is socio-politically enhanced because unintelligent people are less likely to question wealth inequality, which is an emphasis of stupidity exacerbating the non-existence of the intelligence explosion. When the Singularity happens there will be no scarcity of any valuable item you desire, thus no need to dominate the populace regarding compliance with wealth inequality, there will be no need for socio-economic engineering of stupidity. There will be total freedom.
  • 3. Post-Scarcity, which is addressed in point number 2, is an alternate name for the Singularity, but similar to the Singularity people sometimes say we already have Post-Scarcity, they wrongly think Post-Scarcity has already happened but it isn’t evenly distributed. The meaning of Post-Scarcity must therefore be clarified. Post-Scarcity is an alternate viewpoint of the Singularity akin to differing views of a person’s head, for example the back of a person’s head compared to the face view. Both views reveal a head but different viewpoints present different pictures. Post-Scarcity is LIMITLESSNESS, it is not merely about better management of abundant resources, thereby entailing everything is free. Post-Scarcity is a level of limitless so pronounced, so deeply entrenched, it would be utterly impossible to restrict the resource availability. The abundance is so SUPER that no management or distribution of resources whatsoever is needed. The Singularity (Post-Scarcity) is a state of limitlessness regarding any resource, with the principle focus on limitless intelligence because all resources flow from intelligence.
  • 4. Finally to summarise the meaning of the Singularity, here is a list of points, in no particular order, which all need to be fulfilled for the Singularity to be happening:

● All crime and violence are abolished because crime and violence depend wholly on scarcity for their existence. All governments have ceased to exist. No governance is required regarding the abolition of violence and crime because Post-Scarcity simply cuts off, at the source, the impetus for anti-social tendencies. Scarcity is the source of all anti-social tendencies thus by abolishing scarcity you abolish everything which exists due to scarcity, thus governments will cease to exist because governments exist wholly to manage scarcity, governments manage the social dysfunction arising from scarcity, governments ensure great wealth for a minority of people in a scarcity situation, whereas in a Post-Scarcity situation everyone can have limitless wealth.

● Everything is free, nobody needs to work, anyone can have anything they want.

● Everyone is immortal if they want to be. Furthermore access to medical immortality is no more difficult than clicking your fingers or blinking.

● Everything desirable is limitless, thus there are no limits on computation, no limits on intelligence, no limits on travel, which means anyone could easily print a super-intelligent spaceship then travel to the end-edge (if there is one) of the universe, whereupon they will easily create a new universe if they want to. Perhaps limitlessness regarding universe-creation is the best way to describe the Singularity because currently we don’t even know how to 3D-print one planet or one duplicate universe. When the Singularity happens it will be easy to create limitless universes, thus if you are mortal and if you cannot print a universe then it is safe to say the intelligence explosion has not happened.

The Singularity is Post-Scarcity, it’s the point where intelligence ceases to be scarce, it’s a technological explosion of intelligence to end all aspects of scarcity, which should happen no later than year 2045. Technology continually allows us to do more for less. The Singularity is about a mind-bending amount of utterly astronomical ultra-efficient technology, which entails extreme super-power at essentially zero cost. The Singularity was definitely not happening in the year 2013. It is extremely unlikely the Singularity will happen before year 2025. I think the Singularity will actually happen very close to 2045.

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.


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  • I have to say that with articles like this one Singularity Utopia totally earns the name 😉

  • Thanks Scorates, I think it is important for the Singularity to be truly singular, thus extremely perfect utopia must be the defining characteristic because we are considering extremely powerful intelligence.

    If supremely powerful intelligence cannot create absolutely perfect utopia then in my opinion the intelligence is not very singular, it is not deserving of the label Singularity.

  • I have to add that, while I don’t accept your claims of utopia, I very much agree with you that we have certainly not reached the singularity yet.

  • damianoGE

    I think there are two singularity in our universe: the thirst are the horizon event of singularity of black holes , the second one is the CBR … that in my hypotesis it is a ” white Holes singularity … a sort of residual radiation left from matter that surpass the speed light for accelerating expansion Hubble Ho accelerating galaxyes that desappear beyond CBR… you can read more on SQUSA rEady model , alternatite at Big Bang Model on http://bio-astronomia.blogspot.it/

  • The Beckemeier

    I’d say you’ve misdefined the singularity. The reason for naming it the “singularity” is that, like the point of infinite density at the heart of a black hole from which the singularity takes its name, it’s a point beyond which predictions cannot be made. In the case of physics, the equations used to make conventional physics predictions don’t work when an infinity is plugged in. In the case of humanity’s singularity, life and technology will be changing in ways so drastic that the outcome is unpredictable. Thus, your conditions for meeting the singularity–which constitute predictions of a sort–are contrary to the entire meaning of the singularity. The possibility exists for singularities which don’t include humans, or in which all life (and technology) is wiped out (ie. grey goo outcomes).

    Of course, the guy at Google got it wrong too, so I’m with you in that regard.

  • Here is a list of 17 definitions of the technological singularity: https://www.singularityweblog.com/17-definitions-of-the-technological-singularity/

  • Hi The Beckemeier, I see the term Singularity as being similar to quantum physics or graphene perhaps, it is a relatively new field of study thus definition or the theory of it will be refined, this often happens with neologisms, even old words evolve. Awful at one point in history meant: full of awe.

    On the issue of cosmological singularities it is important to note the theoretical existence of naked singularities, which although equally powerful compared to the standard gravitational singularity, naked singularities do not have event horizons blocking observation, thus predictions would not break down: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naked_singularity. Naked singularities are actually more singular than standard gravitational singularities thus I think a more suitable metaphor regarding a colossal explosion of intelligence.

    I think the model of the Technological Singularity where we cannot determine what will happen is wholly wrong, it is illogical, it is contrary to intelligence. I think rudimentary intelligence is sufficient enough to generally predict the shape of MASSIVE intelligence. If super-intelligence is unpredictable it will not really be so super, likewise it would not be intelligent for grey goo to manifest, neither would it be intelligent if humans were not able to partake in the Singularity.

  • Curt Welch

    He thinks the singularity is defined by the day we become immortal and the day everything becomes free and will happen by 2045. No way.

    Though we will continue to find ways to extend the human lifespan, we will never be immortal. Humans will always die at some point. Odds are, the human lifespan won’t have been extended all that much by 2045 (despite how much Ray wants it to be true).

    There will never be a day that everything becomes free. Free means “unlimited” and time and space and raw materials will never be unlimited. In fact, if we do find ways to greatly extend the human lifespan by 2045, we will end up with a serous population problem driving every growing problems of scarcity.

    Money will never go away (despite the fact it did in Star Trek), becuase it’s needed as an accounting system for controlling how much of the limited resources we humans each get to use.

    I think the future will be much better than it is today, but it won’t be becuase we solved the problems of death or scarcity. At some point, people will wake the fuck up and realize humans need to do a better job of taking care of each other, and learn to share the wealth across the entire planet better – by implementing global forms of a Basic Income Guarantee. In an age of high automation, we don’t need or want all these people being slaves to low paying jobs. They don’t need to work at all, and in time, society will figure that out and take care of them. Life will become a fairly utopian existence when this is done. It will help eliminate huge amounts of human suffering and pain that exists around the world today.

    This is something that could be done today, if people weren’t so stupid. It has nothing to do with AI or the singularity, it’s just a matter of people not being so selfish.

    The singularity on the other hand, is simply an approximate point in time where machines become smarter than humans, I think the best way to define it, would be the point in time where the sum total of all machine intelligence, exceeds the sum total of all human intelligence. I believe it will likely happen in less than a decade. But it will happen by 2045 for sure, if not sooner. 2045 is a good worst case guess.

    It won’t however end poverty, or working for a living, or suffering. It won’t stop crime, or make us immortal. It won’t even be an explosion of any type. It won’t cause energy and time and space or raw materials to suddenly become unlimited. By itself, it won’t cause any major transformative effect in society. No one will even notice it’s happened on that day. Likely, we will have to try and back-calculate what day it happened on after the fact since no one will notice when it happened.

    But at some point, hopefully BEFORE the singularity, people will realize we have a serious social problem due to technology driven inequality, and to fix it, we need a Basic Income Guarantee. And when it gets fixed, great amounts of suffering in society will be ended.

  • Yes Curt Welch, money certainly is an accounting system, a method to limit supply, regarding scarce resources, thus I am sure money will become obsolete because scarcity will be transcended.

    You fear over-population will actually make scarcity more pronounced over the coming years, but you disregard space colonisation, colonisation already evident (at an embryonic stage) via Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources (asteroid mining ventures which were recently backed by NASA for being sustainable industries, sustainable due the extremely abundant level of resources in Space), or consider the Mars One Project which is already signing people up to colonise Mars.

    On the point of unlimited resources our universe shows all the signs of being limitless, although NASA admits we don’t yet know whether or not our universe is finite or infinite. Even if our universe is finite the level of resources it contains are essentially limitless, which means things will be free. Many highly respected scientists also predict multiple universes outside our own, thus if we are ever close to draining the essentially limitless resource of our universe I am sure we will easily migrate to new universes similar to how humans are currently starting to leave planet Earth. So things will become totally FREE due to limitlessness.

    Look at the history of aluminium for an example of how technology causes prices to decrease because technology is, to paraphrase Peter Diamandis, a resource liberating force. In the 1840s aluminium was more expensive than gold or platinum but today we regularly throw aluminium foil way after cooking because it is so cheap. This technological liberation of resources has hardly scratched the surface of what is possible.

    Basic Income will be a prelude to Post-Scarcity and you are correct, stupidity is a stumbling block regarding Basic Income implementation, but technology is making people smarter thus Basic Income will be accepted in the not too distant future because the technological liberation of resources will help people see the need to selfishly cling to resources is becoming redundant. Basic Income will only be possible because we are moving towards Post-Scarcity.

    Artificial intelligence (human level) is a key part of the Singularity (intelligence explosion) because already we see how machine intelligence allows humans to progress considerably. Decoding the human genome or studying stem cell regenerative medicine is all possible due to powerful computation. The more powerful our computers are the quicker we can crack these biological or technological puzzles. Note how already, in the year 2009, a primitive AI robot solved a genetic problem which had eluded human solution since the 1960s, this robot (Robot Adam) solved the problem in only a few years. The AI Watson is another early example of how AI can solve problem quicker than humans can, AI will solve problem humans simply do not have the intelligence to solve. The beauty of computers is that their evolution is not slowed by passing on their genes via sexual intercourse, they don’t need waste 18 years raising to raise children, the children of computers are fully mature after only a couple of years and the level of improvement compared to the previous generations of computers is a massive leap ahead of how human generations slowly improve. See Moore’s Law for more info regarding this.

    Humans are only just beginning to explore stem cell regenerative medicine but already we can regrow an some of patient’s organs, using the patient’s own stem cells, and successfully transplant them. It is likely humans will attain immortality via stem cell regenerative medicine before AI explodes, but if some remaining problems remain unsolved AI will put the final pieces of the puzzle in place, in an eye-blink, regarding human immortality. There is no reason why immortality would be impossible to attain.

  • SHaGGGz

    This is the sort of simplistic religious mentality that makes me second-guess self-identifying as a singularitarian or transhumanist.

  • Technology isn’t religious, it’s actually a very atheist mentality.

  • Adam

    Not religious? The above text is just about the most religious piece I have ever read. It sounds exactly like the pamphlet I got the other day from Jehovah’s Witnesses. The vision is exactly the same, the only difference is that they use a different name for what you call ‘The Singularity’ – they use the name ‘God’.

    Why don’t I believe Jehovah’s Witnesses? Because I think their vision is silly. It’s neither science, nor spirituality. It’s magic. And I don’t believe in magic. And I don’t believe in your vision either.

  • Curt Welch

    Yeah, I totally reject all the “Post Scarcity” arguments. Total rubbish in every respect. It’s nothing more than wishful thinking. Physics show’s it impossible. Ever heard of the conservation of Energy? It can’t be created and it can’t be infinite. Time likewise will always be scarce. There’s never more than 24 hours in a day, and no matter how much you want to have more hours every day, it will never happen. Hours in a day will always be scarce. Time, space, and energy, will always be scarce as well as lot of other things. This means, that for these limited resources, we will alway have to use tools to allocate and share them across society.

    I do agree very much with the idea that life will be exponentially better for everyone. So I do very much believe in a utopian future for mankind. Just not one of “Post Scarcity”. We don’t need to eliminate scarcity to create a utopian future.

    One of the current scarce items that will become so cheap that it will be essentially valueless, is human labor. Human labor will be displaced by machine labor, and there will be nothing left for most of us to sell our time for. So the one aspect where “Post Scarcity” is true, is the case of human labor.

    But when human labor becomes “free” the cost of labor then reduces to the cost of the raw materials and energy to provide that labor. Machines will be able to provide all the specialized forms of labor and “thinking” we need to have done, for far lower costs than a human can perform them, so we will no longer be able to (or have to) work for a living.

    But we will still be left with the problem of dividing up all the remaining scarce resources across the population – that is, land, raw materials, computer time, inventions, factories, energy. These things are all still very scarce and will need to be shared. That sharing doesn’t just happen automatically – it must be accounted for – which is where money comes in, and where a capitalistic economy is still needed.

    But the difference from today, is how we get our “money” to spend. In this future, we won’t work for the right to spend money. We will just be born with the right. We will each get the same basic income to live off of. We can spend the money any way we want, but how we choose to spend our money, controls what share of the scarce resources we get to use. Some people may want to lease land to live on, or to use and build themselves a large mansion. Others will choose to spend all their money traveling, maybe to the stars. But the resources they consume in order to be transported around the world, and to have a bed to sleep in, and food to eat, and health care, must be paid for because it all consumes scarce resources. In this future, the machines will do all the production of wealth, and we humans will become full time consumers.

    Transforming to this new future, needs to start yesterday. Human labor has already been highly devalued by automation, which causes a shift of wealth from workers, to investors. This shift drives inequality, where the few are taking income away from the many. While total wealth was growing faster than the shifting of wealth to the rich, the poor could still see a slow gain in wealth – growth of GDP was greater than growth of inequality. But we are past the point now where inequality is growing faster than GDP, so the poor and middle class are now seeing a drop in their wealth in absolute terms. Medium income is declining. This is what we need to use a Basic Income Guarantee to offset.

    At first, the Basic Income Guarantee would be relatively small, and will only serve to offset the growing inequality. But it would both act to stabilize the economy, and stimulate it, while at the same time, lifting millions out of poverty. But as technology continues to advance, and human labor continues to be devalued, the Basic Income will need to be steadily increased, where we end up in a future, where it becomes the means of life for most people. We will be a highly socialistic society where everyone is rich and no one needs to “work” in our current sense of the word. It will be a time where no one needs to fear scarcity. But it will be a time, where we still get everything we want. If we want to travel to Mars, we will still need to save our money over time, to pay for the trip.

    Sacracy will always be with us. The stress of being poor however, will be gone.

  • Curt Welch

    As far as you other points…

    I don’t “fear” overpopulation will make scarcity worse, I know it will. I don’t believe we will have an overpopulation problem however. People tend to stop reproducing so much when life becomes easier. Odds are, will will have just the opposite problem – an under population problem.

    We will very much explore space. But not with humans. Space is no place for a human. We will send our robots out into space to explore it and we will leave the Earth as our home. Other planets and solar systems are too far away (and too costly to reach) to have anything at all to do with the “Singularity”. The Singularity is not the point that man expands to space, it’s the point where machines become better workers than humans. You seem to want to talk about all future developments as “the singularity” as if it’s all going to happen at once. It’s as if you are attempting to redefine the word “singularity” to mean “utopian dream future”.

    I’m very much a future optimist, but I’m very realistic in what can and can not happen, and when it will happen, and all this stuff you talk about is NOT going to suddenly happen magically at the point in time where our machines become smarter than the humans. All these things you talk about take time, lots of time, to happen.

    It makes no difference if the universe is limitless. The closest star to us is 4 light years away. If we could somehow manage to travel half the speed of light to get there, it will take 16 years to get there and back, JUST to find out what was there and report it back to us. Odds are it will be more like 50 years before we can send robots out to the closest stars and start to collect data on if any of them have planets we might one day expand human life to. Odds are it will still be a few hundred more years before we are able to have any real migration of humans into space. Which again, has NOTHING TO DO WITH THE SINGULARITY, or your discussions of scarcity.

    Humans will be stuck with the land and air and energy that exists here on the earth as our major supplies for at least another 100 years – for long after the singularity has come and gone.

    You example of aluminum become cheap totally misses the point. Aluminum is cheap, not “FREE’. It’s still very much a scarce resource. It takes massive amounts of raw material, and energy to produce, and ALWAYS will. If we cut the price of a resource in half every year, the resource still is not free, and will remain scarce FOREVER.

    And why aluminum? The story is true for ALL resources, like food, and clothing, and shelter, and healthcare. Technology allows us to create more things of value, quicker. GDP has been on a steady upward trajectory for a billion years and shows no sign of stopping. But it also shows no sign of “exploding”. It just keep growing at a few percent per year.

    The power to satisfy human needs never becomes infinite, and as such, we never eliminate all scarcity. The power to satisfy our needs just keeps growing on a steady exponential curve upwards, never reaching infinity, and never eliminating scarcity. To eliminate scarcity, we would have to see the GDP shoot up to infinity. Physics says it can’t happen.

    You don’t need to tell me about the beauty of computers. I well understand it. I fully agree. I do AGI research.

    “There is no reason why immortality would be impossible to attain.”

    Yes, in time, that can be somewhat true. But we aren’t talking about 1000 years, or 100 years. We are talking about THE SINGULARITY, which is only 20 or so years away.

    With the industrial revolution, we replaced human, and animal muscle power with steam, and then gas and electric power. This all but put humans out of the “muscle” business. Our muscles lost their jobs to the machines – as is well told by the mythical story of John Henry.

    But we kept employed becuase we had another valuable organ to sell – our brain power.

    The Singularity is the point where the machines displace our brain power, from the work force. And when that happens, we will have no other organs to sell into the economy. Humans will become WORTHLESS assets. Worse than worthless, becuase we have to feed and care for them.

    This loss of ability to sell our brain power to each other, is a MAJOR DISTRIBUTIVE paradigm shift in society that is going to require some major changes for our society to survive. It’s a paradigm shift unlike anything that has happened in the entire human history. And it’s only about 20 years away – but yet, our current understanding of what is coming, feels more like 100 years away. Most people are totally ignorant of what is about to hit them. Which is why all these articles and debate is so important to be taking place now. Thank god we have the internet to help spread this understanding.

    Being able to work for each other is the very fabric of our current society. It’s the glue that holds society together. And that glue if failing us. But most people don’t understand this – they see the problems, but they have no understanding of what is causing it. And when you try to explain to them that it’s the technology, they shake their head and mutter “luddite” under their breath.

    The luddites were right, but they were just 200 years too early. The luddites lost their “muscle” jobs to the machines, but we recovered becuase we still had brains to sell to each other. But now, we are losing that and the luddite’s warning is finally coming true.

    It’s hard for people to recognize, becuase the machines are attacking the jobs of the least educated, and those with the weakest minds first. People falsely believe these “weak minded” people are just being lazy and if they would just get off their lazy asses and get an education and work hard, everything will be fine. But this is just going to keep getting worse and worse, as technology advances and the cries from those at the back of the herd being “eaten” by the machines get louder and louder.

    The Singularity is creating this one, very specific, and very bad problem which we must address. It’s technically trivial to fix. A global redistribution of wealth by a tax and distribute Basic Income will fix it IN AN INSTANT and bring instant prosperty and imrpoved lives to eveyone on the plant. But polistically, it’s going to be a bitch to get people to understand this.

    Any talk wasted on POST SCARCITY NONSENSE, and immortality nonsense is only hurting the cause. It’s distracting people’s limited attention away from the real problem that needs to be solved TODAY.

  • If the universe is infinite then everything in the universe is infinite, or at least everything could possibly be infinite. If the universe is finite I am sure infinite universes beyond the edge of our finite universe will be discovered or created. There is apparently good physics behind the multiverse theory: http://www.space.com/18811-multiple-universes-5-theories.html http://www.space.com/21421-universe-multiverse-inflation-theory.html

    The scarcity of time could easily be solved via slowing time down, by which mean operating at super high speed thus perceptually within one minute of time you could experience 100 or 1,000 years. This could be done via a simulated reality, or multiple simulated realities, thus for example I could run a simulated reality where I live for one hundred years but when the simulation ends only one thousandth of a second has passed. The Theory of Relativity also shows how time is subjective regarding velocity- gravity http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_dilation thus time could be manipulated to stretch seconds into years. BUT to suggest time is scarce because the are only so many hours in a day is a RED HERRING, the fallacy assumes a limited duration to reality, it assumes time will stop, whereas time is not likely to stop or if it does stop we could move to a reality where time continues to exist, thus there are ACTUALLY an infinite amount of hours or days in the entirety of time, time is infinite. To suggest time is scarce because there are only are 24 hours in a day is tantamount to stating time is scarce because time is time, it is akin to stating matter is scarce because matter is simultaneously not an infinite amount of different types of matter.

    In a similar way to how labour will cease to be scarce so will all resources cease to be scarce. Automation or sophisticated technology is the key. Technology will allow us to use available resources with astronomically greater efficiency thereby essentially stretching the the tiniest amount of a resource into utterly gigantic quantities, but there is a far bigger picture than the limited resources of Earth because soon we will tap the limitless resources of Space due to highly advanced technology.

  • With advanced technology humans will easily live in Space very comfortably. We could build spaceships the size of planets or we could fly through Space with perfect life-sustaining equipment no larger than a briefcase. The distance between planets is not problematic, such distances will be easily traversed, or there is infinite time to leisurely jaunt from galaxy to galaxy.


    The Singularity will essentially happen all at once. Or more precisely A MASSIVE AMOUNT OF PROGRESS will happen in a very short period of time, which is why the Singularity is defined as an intelligence EXPLOSION. The rate of technological progress is accelerating. Progress will become so quick it will essentially be an explosion. Based on the 2001 rate of progress in year 2045 you will perhaps experience 100 years of progress in one day, then the day after the progress is even quicker, so by the end of the week you have experienced at least 1,000 years of progress. So you have this accelerating level of progress that quickly becomes explosive, instead of a steep curve upward, the level of progress compared to time passing is essentially a vertical take-off: BANG! Extreme technological intelligence!

    Aluminium is not free because we have not attained Post-Scarcity yet, but due to technology the price has dropped from being more expensive than gold or platinum to a level of cheapness allowing us to comfortably throw aluminium foil away. The technological proficiency allowing for the reduction of price regarding aluminium will continue and it will apply to all resources thus everything will be free when we attain Post-Scarcity.

    I agree Basic Income needs to be implemented but there is no need for Luddite fears. I also think awareness of the Singularity (Post-Scarcity) will be fundamental for the successful implementation of Basic Income because future awareness will allow people to see how Basic Income can be easily accommodated.

  • brainwav93

    “Post-scarcity” economies only address certain TYPES of scarcity. Not everyone can have a house on the Presidio or Central Park West.

  • brainwav93

    Curt, sticking with Earth as our sole habitat dooms our species to extinction from a single catastrophic event. It is quite obvious to me that space is our natural future habitat. “Expense” of going to the stars does not apply when your manufacture cost is zero.

  • OK, I shall explain it simply for you Adam.

    Your name is a good starting point because it has a religious resonance, but merely having a name such as Adam, or Eve, does not mean you are religious. Not everyone with the name Adam is the first human created by God. The point is, dissimilar things can share attributes but sharing attributes doesn’t mean disparate things are similar-identical.

    An example of shared factors regarding disparate things not entailing similarity is gasoline and water, which are both liquids but it isn’t refreshing to drink gasoline when you are thirsty.

    A better example than gasoline and water is influenza and hay-fever, which can both cause you to sneeze but it doesn’t mean everyone who sneezes has flu or hay-fever. Pepper can also cause people to sneeze. If someone sneezed after inhaling pepper it would be wrong to say they had flu.

    Some medical procedures, for some people, can seem miraculous, and are described in such manner, but this does not mean the hypothetical wondrous medical procedure is actually a miracle. Science has the ability to make our lives considerably better. God, according to religious people, can also make our lives considerably better, but this does not mean everything that makes our lives better is the work of God, science is not God.

    If science progresses to a level of extreme sophistication where all diseases can be cured, some people could mistakenly think God has granted us eternal life but scientific life-extension is actually the application of scientific and technological knowledge, it is not the work of God, it is not religious.

    Immortality does have a resonance with God’s afterlife in heaven, but similar to how the name Adam does not mean every “Adam” is God’s first human, immortality via science is not a miracle or religious.

    Arthur C Clarke has stated any advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, but I would add a qualifier by stating: only if you are unaware of science. Adam, your problem problem is that you are unaware of science, you are unaware of the rate of progress thus you cannot imagine how science and technology will progress over the next 30 years, thus my explanations regarding technology in the year 2045 seem like miracles or magic to you.

    Try to imagine how a human from 2,000 years ago would have reacted to electric lights, cars, iPhones, computers, the Internet, elevators, spaceships, 3D-printing, heart-transplants, stem-cell regrowth of organs, mechanical hearts, and all the other marvellous inventions in the year 2013. They would probably think we are devils, Gods, or wizards; they would fail to comprehend how it is merely the application of science.

    Technological acceleration is difficult to grasp therefore instead of the year 2045 try to imagine how our world will have changed in the year 22045, that’s an extra twenty thousand years. Think about how much humans have achieved during the past 1000 years and think about how a large part of the achievement only happened during the past 150 years. Why did the majority of achievements happen only in the last 150 years? What were humans waiting for? The answer is simple, knowledge is initially difficult to acquire during the early stages of learning but when sufficient knowledge is gathered the pace of learning accelerates, this is why electric light bulbs were only being first installed in homes in the early 1880s, and it is why the first successful telephone transmission of speech only happened in 1876.

    I would be, or the Singularity would be, religious if I was saying: “God will tell us how to make super-efficient 3D-printers with ultra-powerful on-board AI.”

    There is however no praying, magic, and no God regarding the Singularity, it is purely about very advanced science and technology. The world will be made a better place via scientific and technological progress, massive breakthroughs. Looking at the evidence regarding technological progress it is clear we will see around 20,000 years of progress this century based on the 2001 rate of progress.

    Ironically people sometimes think the Singularity is religious, it is ironic because the religious taint upon civilization has hindered the ability of people to think logically, thus logic is deemed religious. The Singularity, due the scientific focus, is actually the opposite of religion, the Singularity is very logical, but the legacy of religion is that people often don’t know how think logically thus we have logical fallacies where people make wild assumptions, they see a very loose similarity and assume identicalness, it is the error of failing to look at facts, a failure to ask questions, thus people assume the world is this or that then they close their minds to the truth.

  • If you 3D-print a replica universe you could have everything that is this universe thus there is no scarcity. In theory, with sufficient scientific expertise, it would be easy to print infinite duplicate universes.

    However, after making that point, it is perhaps more pertinent to highlight how a scarcity of intelligence causes people to think “Presidio or Central Park West” would be a coveted “resource” in universe of endless resources and endless intelligence. This type of error, regarding people who think Post-Scarcity is impossible, is similar to thinking Post-Scarcity is impossible because when you have Post-Scarcity there will be a scarcity of scarcity thus no Post-Scarcity because scarcity is scarce. Or putting it another way, it is wrong to posit foolish, infeasible, and unrealistic ways to try and defeat the idea of limitless abundance, but if you want to engage in such foolishness you could say Post-Scarcity is impossible because there will always be a scarcity of all atoms simultaneously being infinite humans, and infinite everything else, at every point in time and space, with full awareness, throughout all eternity. Or some people might say a scarcity of war means Post-Scarcity will not exist. These objections will be remedied when intelligence ceases to be scarce.

  • I have to say that global warming caused by humans is a fact. The vast majority of scientists at the GF2045 congress also agrees with that. Bill Nye is just one example: http://nyti.ms/12EeSHW

  • Curt Welch

    “The Singularity will essentially happen all at once. Or more precisely A MASSIVE AMOUNT OF PROGRESS will happen in a very short period of time, which is why the Singularity is defined as an intelligence EXPLOSION. The rate of technological progress is accelerating. Progress will become so quick it will essentially be an explosion. ”

    No one but you seems to believe that. That’s a 50 year old idea that has long been left in the past.

    We can look back at evolution, and see that what we are doing with technology today, is in fact just a continuation of the exponential growth growth of evolution itself. It never “explodes”. Exponential curves NEVER EXPLODE. They just keep growing faster and faster with no bounds.

    If you plot exponential growth on a LINEAR scale, is produces the illusion of exploding where it suddenly turn from horizontal to vertical. But that is an illusion of the scale you choose to pick for the curve.

    When you plot it on a log scale, one can see the truth about what is happening. There is no explosion. It’s just a straight line.

    Based on today’s expectations, the future can look like it’s going to be an explosion. But based on the view from the future, there never is one becuase our expectations and desires keep shifting as technology grows.

    If you plot ANY technology growth, you see the exact same thing. Take the steam engine for example, and plot how how many steam engines were being built and the total power output from all the steam engines built every year. The growth curve was exponential. It kept getting faster and faster every year. The number would double, in a fixed time, over and over again. If you plot on linear paper, it would plot as an explosion. But plot it on log paper, and it’s just a straight line. At no point in history, the we see an “explosion”.

    Then the steam engine was augmented with gas engines and electric motors. Again, plot the growth and we see exponential growth. Never an explosion.

    Then look at the number of patents being created every year. Again, same thing, exponential growth. The number of patents filled keeps doubling in the same period of time, over and over. But never is there an “explosion”.

    Count the number of transistors made every year from the time they were fist invented. Again, it just keep doubling in a fixed period of time, but never, is there an “explosion”.

    Man made machines are advancing at an exponential rate in their total size, and their physical power, and in their computing ability, but never has there been an explosion where it the doubling turns to infinity. It just keeps doubling every X months.

    The idea of the singularity being an “explosion” is a 50 year old idea put forth by a person that didn’t understand exponential growth.

    If we stand back and look at the evolution of life in earth, from a million years ago, the growth in the last 1000 years looks like an “explosion”. But from with inside this 1000 years of “explosion” we see no explosion at all. It’s just slow steady 2% per year GDP growth. Our time scales and expectations of change just keeps adapting right along with the growth. No matter how fast the growth becomes, it is simply what we learn to expect at that time. It never explodes.

    When we remove the 50 year old “mistake” of thinking of exponential growth as exploding, then we can correctly define the singularity as the point in time where the machines man makes, in total, becomes more advanced, than man himself.

    It’s much the same as the point in time where gas engines, replaced steam engines. There was some point in time where there was more mechanical power produced by all the gas engines and electric motors, than by all the steam engines. The new technology replaced the old at that point.

    The same will happen for human brain power. Human brain power has driven our society for 1000’s of years now, but there will be a time where machine “brain power” will exceed the combined total of all human power, and the machine “brain power” will replace human brain power in society. But there will be no “explosion” as this happens. It will just be yet more steady 2% per year GDP growth of the society and the economy with the machines taking over the “heavy lifting” of all the thinking needed to sustain our society.

    It could well be argued it’s already happened and that machines to more of our “thinking” for us already than all humans combined. But it’s hard to tell these things while they are happening, and in the future, with our improved understanding, we will be able to look back with better understanding, and say, yeah, back there in 1970 was really the point at which the machines replaced the humans, but it just took us another 50 years to realize it. But more likely, it’s not happened yet, but is about to.

    There is a highly important paradigm shift underway becuase of the approaching singularity and that’s the issue we need to pay close attention to. Machines will replace humans in the workforce (as they are already doing), and it will destabilize our economy becuase the shift from labor to capital will cause massive inequality in society that will destabilize both the economy, and our society. Massive numbers of people will be dead poor, while a few are amazingly super rich. This will cause society to collapse if we don’t fix it.

    This is not going to be a sudden “explosion” where everyone stops working. It’s going to be a frog in boiling water situation where things just progressively get worse, and worse, and worse until people are finally able to accept the reality and fix it.

  • Curt Welch, I suggest you do some actual research into the Singularity. The intelligence explosion is the Singularity and it is NOT an out of date theory. Almost all exponents of the Singularity state it is an intelligence explosion. Note MIRI (formerly SIAI), they have a FAQ regarding the intelligence explosion: http://intelligence.org/ie-faq/#HowLikelyIsAn. Note how Singularity Hub states: “The singularity
    is the point in mankind’s future when we will transcend current
    intellectual and biological limitations and initiate an intelligence and
    information explosion beyond imagining.” http://singularityhub.com/about/. Ray Kurzweil and Vinge also expect intelligence to explode.

    So I am very perplexed regarding the following which you wrote: “No one but you seems to believe that. That’s a 50 year old idea that has long been left in the past.”

  • Chris Armstrong

    Another perspective…

    I’ll address several of Kurt Welch’s points…BTW Kurt, cool that you’re an AI researcher. I was a student/researcher in AI (neural modeling) and software geek back in the 80s and 90s.

    First, I agree that the achievement of post-scarcity is not usually included in definitions of the Singularity that I’ve seen, but I’d like to address your contention that it isn’t possible for reasons of physics and that things, such as aluminum, will be scarce “forever.”

    In your first post you mentioned:

    “Money will never go away (despite the fact it did in Star Trek), because it’s needed as an accounting system for controlling how much of the limited resources we humans each get to use.”

    Here, you quickly breezed by the Star Trek scenario dissmissively in order to hold on to our current paradigm of scarcity and the idea that we will need money FOREVER.

    But, there are specific details about the Star Trek scenario that make abundance and the obsolescence of money possible. The fully fleshed-out, extreme, and idealized Star Trek “matter replicator” was achieved in the 24th century. At that time, they have harnessed SERIOUSLY-INSANELY-WICKEDLY MEGA energy sources relative to what we have today with our current CHIMP-LIKE comprehension of physics. They are powering a warp drive, transporters, a holodeck, replicators, etc. And that’s just the ENERGY side of it. Never mind, the virtually-complete MASTERY of the molecular-level construction of matter, genetics, human biology, INSANE feats of engineering, the routine conversion between matter and energy, etc.

    To belabor the point, I’ll reference the Khardashev Scale, which is used to rank a civilization’s level of technological advancement, as explained by Michio Kaku:

    “When astrophysicists scan the galaxy for evidence of other civilizations, they categorize them according to their energy signatures. Energy is necessary for survival, for development, and helps to define a civilization’s capabilities…”

    “…There are three types of these civilizations: A Type-1 civilization controls all planetary sources of energy. They control the weather, they control the oceans and the hurricanes…”

    “…A Type-2 civilization has exhausted all planetary sources of energy and they get their energy by consuming the output of their mother star…”

    “…A Type-3 civilization is GALACTIC. They use the energy of tens of billions of star systems and they roam the galactic space lanes with their starships…”

    “…So, where does that leave us: We are a Type-0 civilization. We are so primitive we don’t even control the energy resources of our planet. We get our energy from dead plants: oil and coal…”

    “…Our progress as a civilization depends on whether we are able to move beyond our dependence on fossil fuels. Energy, especially fossil fuels, is so scarce that it provokes conflicts between nations…”

    “…So imagine an energy source which is safe, clean, efficient and abundant. It could have a profound effect on society. It could change everything.”

    Not “could”…WOULD.

    OK, so, the world of Star Trek, according to Kaku is a Type-2 civilization. Their replicator can produce all types of objects, including food and water. Money is no longer necessary because no one needs to go to some middleman to obtain anything they need/want. Because they have mastered the manipulation of matter at the atomic/molecular level, which is virtually inconceivable to us from our current CHIMP perspective, there is no scarcity of “things” and thus, things have no extrinsic (such as supply/demand) value other than the subjective value they bring to the people who use them.

    I realize that maybe you’re a geek who already knows all this about the Star Trek projection of one possible future, but since you seemed to brush it, and its HUMONGOUS implications, off so casually, I wanted to put it “on the record” as it were.

    I think, in one sense, you’re thinking TOO BIG and in another you’re thinking too small…thinking too small when you seem to underestimate the kind of technical, and more importantly, SCIENTIFIC, advancement that can be achieved in 300 years…The energy breakthroughs that will be SO VASTLY advanced as compared to what we have today as a nuclear power plant is to a campfire. And besides some kinds of MEGA-INSANE-LEVEL of energy sources, some much simpler forms of energy will begin moving closer and closer to free, until the time we can even print out our own solar collectors from free raw materials like dirt or garbage.

    Kurzweil’s analysis/prediction of the world’s COMPLETE transformation to solar power, taking into consideration the exponential growth of solar tech combined with nano tech, of the entire world, is 14 years away.


    Yes, in the short-term these things will cost something, but we are moving toward them becoming free or close enough to free that the scarcity variable has virtually no effect on the equation. (People have already begun printing solar panels.)

    Now, the thinking TOO BIG side of it.

    Your post-scarcity-impossibility premise rests on the fact that “Time, space, and energy…and other things, are not infinite.” Fair enough. But, while infinity may seem to be a theoretical requirement, post-scarcity doesn’t require infinite-ness to actually function in practice.

    Yes, if you use a “reductio ad absurdum” argument…or in this case maybe it’s EXPANDIO ad absurdum. 😉 …and imagine that everyone will want a continually upwardly spiraling collection of THINGS and devour the planet by converting it into gadgets and food…yes, I suppose in some hypothetical world of maladjusted sociopaths with EXTREME “value system disorders” everyone could decide that they must have infinite amounts of gold and use all resources to replicate that and thereby devour the world. But I’d like to suggest that there won’t be a kind of hyper-acquisitiveness in a world where anything can be “replicated” at will.

    In our current scarcity-driven CHIMP-WORLD, possessions are all tied up with people’s view of their self-worth and their assumed self-worth in other’s eyes. This is because possessions represent success, more precisely, financial success, which, in a scarcity-driven monetary system (i.e., Capitalism) is the measure of virtue, character, strength, power, STATUS.

    At one time using a cell phone in public was something rare and gave one the air of being in an elite class, at least in the eyes of the superficially impressed, now it is SO commonplace that its use confers no special status and no longer impresses ANYONE.

    When the use of something approaching the level of a matter replicator becomes commonplace, hoarding vast amounts of (formerly) EXPENSIVE possessions and putting them on ostentatious display to pump up one’s malnourished ego will no longer serve any purpose, since even the “poorest” person can fabricate the same thing.

    Eventually it will become obvious that this tech destroys the very concept of there being an ELITE. There will no longer even be any POINT in being ELITE. The idea of economic class strata will become an obsolete, archaic, vestigial concept. There will be no point in hoarding things/money to provide for your immediate tribe, or to feed your maladjusted ego, when anyone can replicate ANYTHING, the idea of hoarding things will be seen for what it is: “a value system disorder.”

    Yes, it is always pointed out that land-use is a scarcity. We can’t all have the same beautiful beach view from our homes. But this too is thinking about the way things are NOW. There will be so many simulated ways to experience things beyond our current imagination that fussing over a particular piece of land would be silly when we can create internal vistas at will.

    Since the brain cannot tell the difference between something happening outside of it and the mere firing of neuronal pathways that represent that thing/experience, we could live in a state of almost pure consciousness whenever we wish, liberated from the limitations of material existence. So, all this silly matter-juggling and hoarding and fretting over scarcity will be something we can look back on quizzically, like back when we used to be little tadpoles or something. Here’s a great essay about this idea by, Aurelian Carpathia called, Simuality: The Path to Postscarcityhttp://worldtransformed.com/2013/05/red-pill-or-blue-wt-017/

    Another huge reduction in the desire to print lots of things is that the concept of planned-obsolescence becomes obsolete. People can print the absolute best version that can be conceived of by designers. No need for corporations, like Apple, to dribble out a few modest new features every 6 months to keep people buying more of a disposible gadget. People will design technologies because they are great tools and don’t need to constrain and hobble their designs to meet some price point that the “market will bear.” Instead, they can create things that the current level of technology will bear.

    There are many different ideas about how to achieve a Star Trek level replicator. People talk about constantly recycling matter…it is disassembled into its atomic constituents and reassembled into the required molecules and built on up from there. People talk about far-future and insanely-energy-intensive abilities to REALLY implement E=MC^2 and routinely convert between matter and energy.

    The point is that matter will be continually transformed at our whim. The reason we have scarcity right now is not a shortage of atoms or a need for an INFINITE amount of atoms. But, rather, scarcity of food, water, medicine, tools, etc. is merely a scarcity of atoms IN THE PROPER CONFIGURATION and available to ANYONE on demand.

    There is no reason to think that aluminum or any other element or amalgam of elements will be scarce “FOREVER”…unless you confine your vision to something like our current CHIMP-LEVEL of scientific understanding and engineering abilities AND social structures dependent on scarcity-driven status and value.

    For you to believe that aluminum will be scarce FOREVER, you have to believe that we will never develop insanely-extreme energy solutions; we will never master the manipulation of matter at a fundamental level; our thinking will never evolve to see that when we can fabricate things, including FOOD AND WATER, it is literally INSANE to perpetuate scarcity-based monetary system, wherein MONEY means the difference between life and death for so many.

    In short, you would have to believe that we will never progress beyond our current Type-0 CHIMP-SOCIETY.

    All we have to do to be able to get a true vision of our sci/tech potential is look back in time several hundred years and compare it to today. We have developed things today that didn’t even exist CONCEPTUALLY three hundred years ago because ALMOST NOTHING was understood about physics, chemistry, biology, etc. on a level that we understand today.

    If WE are CHIMPS with regard to our current level of scientific development, they were PROTO-CHIMPS, or PRE-PROTO-CHIMPS. If we look at 300 years in the future and take into consideration Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns, in which the RATE of the acceleration (of tech advancement) is ITSELF accelerating, I find it literally IMPOSSIBLE to constrain my vision the way you have.

    It is IMPOSSIBLE for me to think that we won’t discover new laws/aspects of physics that we haven’t even begun to FANTASIZE about because we don’t even know the necessary conceptual foundations upon which they’re based…just like the people 300 years ago didn’t even have the scientific building-blocks to BEGIN to conceive of our world.

    And BTW, while Gene Roddenberry was a visionary, he didn’t have access to Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns when creating his Star Trek timelines. If a replicator and warp-drive level energy are possible in 300 years according to Roddenberry, these things just may come about in THIS century.

    We have such a lot of work ahead to get us there, but the implications of this tech is SO MEGA-WORLD CHANGING that I believe that this should be given top priority by all researchers, governments, etc. Yes, keep working on all other important solutions in other areas, but make this PRIORITY ONE. The most extremely advanced implementation of this is the solution to virtually ALL the world’s problems that involve scarcity…which, BTW, is pretty much at the root of ALL of the world’s problems.

    We are GUARANTEED to discover some crucial UNKNOWN-UNKNOWNS that will greatly accelerate this process if we launch a MONUMENTAL WAR on solving all molecular nanotech related issues.

  • Curt Welch

    Yes, almost everyone uses the word “explode”. But most, that do actually study how progress works, understand there will be no “explosion”. Progress will not turn asymptotic.

    At what point will moore’s law “explode”? NEVER.

    Why did Kurzweil pick 2045 as the date of the singularity? Did he right that he thought Moore’s law would “explode” in 2045? No.

    He wrote this:

    “We’ll get to a point where technical progress will be so fast that unenhanced human intelligence will be unable to follow it. That will mark the Singularity.”

    He’s saying that it’s the point where humans won’t be smart enough to keep up with the progress, NOT that the rate of progress “exploded”. I prime point in all his books is that progress grows exponentially by the law of accelerating returns. The law of accelerating returns does not predict an “explosion”. It predicts a smooth and constant acceleration.

    The singularity is not some point at which the growth “explodes” and turns vertical. It’s the point at which humans are too stupid to keep up.

    The same effect happened 100 or 200 years ago with the industrial revolution with our muscle power. The machines got stronger exponentially over time, until the day came, that machine muscle power passed the strength of humans, and we basically stopped using humans for their muscle power. Human’s couldn’t keep up with the machines, as John Henry learned.

    Nothing “exploded” at that point. Machine power just “flew past” human power and that caused a major paradigm shift in society we call the industrial revolution.

    In this next major paradigm shift, machine computation power will “fly past” human brain computation power and it will create yet another major paradigm shift in society. Machine computation power will not “explode” – it will just keep doubling every period of time. But it will be an “explosive” paradigm shift FOR US HUMANS since it will mark yet another major shift in society.

    The shift will be that humans won’t be able to work for a living after this shift. The world will be a very rich place due to the wealth the machines are creating, but if humans are expected to work to justify their share of the wealth by working, most humans will be broke and living in poverty. But with simple shifts in how the machine wealth is shared, the world will be a highly utopian place due to the massive and exponentially growing wealth the machines will create.

    Yes, in time, we will expand into space. But we will reach that due time based on our slow but steady exponential growth.

    You talk as if once we hit this paradigm shift when machines get smarter than humans, will be be able to do anything almost infinitely fast. You talk as if once we get past the paradigm shift, we just snap our fingers and in a week, the machines will build a death star for us to fly around the universe in!

    You could have made the same mistake 400 years ago by predicting a day in the future where machine power will exceed human power, and when that happens, we could just snap our fingers and build anything overnight since we would no longer be limited to the power of humans to build pyramids!

    There were not “finger snaps” that could make things happen over night just becuase we invented the steam engine. It meant that the time and cost to travel from coast to coast dropped from months to only days, but it did not mean that we could build anything we wanted with a snap of our fingers Everything still took a lot of time and money to build and move and transport. From year to year, there were only small increases, but those small increases add up and turn into large increases when you look 100 years back. But at no point, while in the middle of the changes, was there any sort of sudden “explosion” that changed everything. It was all just a slow and steady flow of inventions and improvements.

    The same will happen when we pass the point of machines becoming smarter than humans. Despite so many talking as if there will some sudden “explosion” it won’t happen like that.

  • connor1231

    with the whole “immortality” thing, what about the possibility of your mind being hacked or abused? if we are talking about any sort of mind uploading, that assumes that you experience whatever copies of your brain experience. if this is so, thats a scary thought because anyone could make a copy of your mind and do whatever they want with it, including torture you in ways worse than we could imagine for billions of years. what would you technology-people have to say about this… would there be a way to ensure that your mind and “you” are secure and totally in control of your own mind? if not, being immortal seems too dangerous. you say people would never be violent or have crime, but you forget to take into account psychopaths or people who just enjoy cruelty…these people exist and if you piss off the wrong person or are just unfortunate in them targeting you, giving them such unlimited power is a nightmare. any thoughts?

  • connor1231

    what about the bad effects of the singularity? like getting your mind hacked, copies made of it, and having it thrown into a virtual hell. or people accessing your brain or mind, and you lose control over it. a question to you technology-minded people on here…is there, or would there be a way to ensure that your mind is safe and secure, and still under your control and not AI or other hackers? if humans are going to start living for billions of years, i’d want those years to be spent well and not under the control of AI or hackers. it’s a scary thought to lose control of your mind; people could do whatever they want to it, you couldn’t kill yourself since theres no body, and you’d be alive to endure it for eternity. how would you guys deal with those concerns?

  • Chris Armstrong

    Good questions…

    Some aspects of this I have thought about before and for other aspects I’m just coming up with ideas at this moment. So, while I don’t consider these ideas to be definitive or NECESSARILY the most likely to happen, I do think that something along these lines would have to be implemented…or some MUCH BETTER ideas put forward by somebody else. 😉

    Once our mind is uploaded to some substrate other than the human brain, there is a possibility of allowing other minds to connect and directly communicate with our mind. So, if there would be the possibility of some other mind or “person” hacking into or taking charge of our mind, we’ll need to have security measures and some kind of analog to today’s anti-virus protection.

    One VERY important and VERY different property of an uploaded mind is the ability for us to make multiple back-ups of our “mind-file” and keep them in more than one “offsite” location, for security.

    Part of a robust CONSCIOUSNESS SECURITY STRATEGY would have to include the ability to abandon a particular instantiation of our consciousness if it became hijacked or seriously damaged and upload the most current backup to a new substrate or maybe the current “platform” could be wiped clean, or “reformatted” and re-used, if physical control of it could be maintained even as the mind has been taken over.

    This kind of thing would seem to require some kind of monitoring of our consciousness in a way that would remain unaffected by the activities of any kind of mind-hacking-pirates, so that the current “infected” version could be abandoned or self-destructed and a backup could be put into action out of reach of the hackers.

    Regarding psychopaths and other kinds of “broken” people/consciousnesses: I tend to think that by the time we get to the level of uploading minds, we are going to understand a HELLUVA LOT more about the mind/brain and what is at the root of such pathologies and be able to fix broken-minds. People are already starting to talk about, in the not too distant future, as more is understood about oxytocin and things like that, being able to modulate our levels of empathy and such. So, perhaps the days of psychopaths tormenting “humanity” (or post-bio-humanity) are becoming numbered. And if not, anti-mind-hacking measures will still be needed.

    As far as the issue of not being able to “kill yourself because there’s no body”: I don’t think that is true AT ALL. Just as with the other security measures, you would have to have a way of deleting your mind-file and all its backups if you decided you didn’t want to exist anymore. People often confuse the idea of a technologically enabled immortality with some kind of involuntary inability to ever die, when actually what people want is the CHOICE of how long to live, whereas currently, we have no choice in the matter, if we want to live a VERY long time, that is.

    Those are my ideas, but I have no doubt that the reality will end up in a much cleverer way than I can imagine with my current CHIMP-BRAIN view of the universe of possibilities. 🙂

  • connor1231

    Thank you for replying! Those things are all true, but it still depends on the technology being developed by a fair and tolerant person or nation. If whoever develops this kind of technology makes safe codes, protection, the option to self destruct copies, etc, then your answer pretty much takes care of all my concerns. But what if the developer doesn’t want to use it for good, but instead to control people and be a dictator. The technology we’re discussing is so incredible it would make a man unstoppable. And if it fell into the wrong hands, none of the safe-guards you suggested would apply. Then what?

  • connor1231


  • Chris Armstrong

    As Ray Kurzweil is fond of saying: “Technology is a double edged sword.” Often, the same technology that is a GREAT benefit to humanity, can also be used to cause great harm in the hands of a psychopath. This possibility becomes more ominous the more powerful the technology is.

    With our current level of understanding of the causes and treatments of psychopathy, it seems impossible to give anything CLOSE to a guarantee or even a high probability that a kind of DOOMSDAY scenario won’t occur.

    We can ALWAYS dream up an extreme, dystopian DR. EVIL scenario wherein a mad psychopathic megalomaniac (or a whole group of them) will use some powerful technology as a tool to enslave or annihilate others.

    This fact of human imagination causes some people to argue that we should not develop certain technologies. Kurzweil has been debating them for years. He also has worked with governmental/military people to develop safeguards against these kinds of negative possibilities.

    So far, as long as I, and others, can think of counter-measures or ways of guarding against misuse, I remain on the side of those who advocate the continued development of powerful and transformative technologies because of the HUGE benefits they can bring to the entire world.

    This discussion comes at an interesting time. I’m currently working on an online article about a technology that, when it begins to reach its most advanced form, will have the power to transform our entire world by solving the problems that have always been the root cause of virtually ALL of humanity’s suffering and depravation. The only problem is that it could also provide a psychopath with unprecedented access to a tool that can enable horrible destruction.

    And here’s the problem that depresses me and causes me great hatred toward these hypothesized chimp-brained psychopaths who would misuse this otherwise miraculous technology: I cannot figure out ANY WAY to have this technology be as powerful as it needs to be to bring about the future massively-positive results, without it also being the greatest tool ever devised to enable some psychopath to do his “evil deeds.”

    Of course, some technologically-retarded bureaucrat would say, “Well, we’ll jolly well make some laws against it being used in the bad ways and build controls into this technology that won’t allow it to be used in the bad ways.” Of course, that would be wonderful if its use could be restricted to only GOOD purposes, but it seems impossible to prevent clever people from hacking it or just making a version without the restrictions.

    And it doesn’t do any good to restrict access to this technology by having some central authority be the “gatekeeper” who decides when and who can have access to it, because a fundamental component of the problem-solving nature of it is that it must be widely available to everyone at all times.

    For someone who already has a general negative attitude toward technology and human nature, this particular technology would EASILY be a candidate to be banned (as though that could ever work without creating a hyper-controlling police-state). Since my natural personality causes me to be GREATLY pro-science/technology, I will keep working on ideas about how to safely bring this about until the day comes when I, and others much smarter than me, conclude that there is no possible way to get the benefits without also enabling psychopaths.

    Maybe THEN, I’ll switch sides on this issue, but I suspect that I’ll STILL keep an open-mind to it since I always see scientific/technological roadblocks as TEMPORARY. Given enough time and increasing intelligence, there’s always a way around limitations that may seem insurmountable with our current, severely limited CHIMP-BRAINED WORLD-VIEW.

    One other aspect to consider:

    Things are increasingly moving away from centralized control in more and more domains that once had required people to go through some middleman, gatekeeper, elite type entity to, in effect, get “permission” to have access to things of great value. I think it is very likely that future mind-uploading technologies will not be controlled and limited by a government or business entity. Sure, in the beginning, they’ll try to control and limit it; that’s what they love to do. But there are a lot of factors that will lead to this technology being widely available and NOT under limited control of some person or entity who might want to use it for some nefarious purpose.

  • connor1231

    A psychopath killing people or destroying things is bad, but the thing that gets me is suffering with no end in sight. All throughout history and even now and the foreseeable future, psychopaths can torture people and cause harm but it all ends in death…at least there is an end to it. But with the kind of mind uploading technology (or possibly whatever you’re working on??) people’s suffering could last an eternity. It would literally be a virtual hell. And that is unbearable to think about. If there was ANY way we could prevent that kind of limitless suffering, I would be much more pro-technology. Because the best case scenario is huge improvements and the worst case scenario is death and destruction. But when the worst case scenario becomes an eternity or billions of years of suffering, and losing control of your own mind and whatever bodies we might have by then, that’s too high of stakes. Don’t you agree? Or do you think that there is a way around this…that even in the wrong hands, eventually people’s suffering would end or safeguards would be made.

  • connor1231

    Could I also ask…what’s the worst case scenario with whatever you’re working on? What could psychopaths do?

  • Hi Chris, only one point I want to address, you wrote: “First, I agree that the achievement of post-scarcity is not usually included in definitions of the Singularity that I’ve seen…”

    You are correct, people often fail to make the Post-Scarcity connection regarding the Singularity, which is something I am trying to correct. Despite the failure of people to connect Post-Scarcity to the Singularity, Post-Scarcity is very much THE Singularity.

    Briefly – we are considering an intelligence explosion (although some people disagree there will be an explosion) and all resources flow from intelligence, intelligence is the source of all resources, thus our current AI-scarcity is a scarcity of all resources, which means when AI ceases to be scarce all resources will cease to be scarce. Technology is all about increasingly greater efficiency thus prices decrease. Humans utilize their intelligence to make the world a better place, which means the performance of our inventions increases, and increased technological performance means we do more for less, thus prices are lower, but currently our intelligence is limited. Lower prices are therefore inextricably linked to increasing technological proficiency, increasing intelligence, which is why the Singularity is Post-Scarcity.

  • connor1231


  • connor1231 note here where I explain how psychopaths are wholly a product of scarcity http://singularity-utopia.blogspot.com/2013/06/why-will-singularity-abolish-all-crime.html

    There will be no psychopaths, or crime.

    In short, there will be no worst case scenario. Anything is possible but psychopaths in a Post-Scarcity age are so unlikely we can discount them, or any crime, similar how we don’t worry that cheese will spontaneously evolve super-intelligence tomorrow then enslave all the humans.

  • Chris Armstrong

    OK, so we’re back to the INFINITE TORTURE angle again. 😉

    Let’s look at it this way…

    There is a spectrum of peoples’ reactions to future technologies. On one end, there can be people who only look on the bright side of it and minimize the risks and think the positive potential far outweighs the possible downsides. On the other end, there can be people imagine horrible things being done with technology and those things cause them to disregard the potential benefits and advocate that certain technologies should not be developed.

    I see both of these views as EXTREMES. They are limited and very partial views of the whole story. The extreme anti-tech view is a bit like proposing a world wherein everything in it is geared toward: what is good/detrimental for children. We COULD use that as our standard of value. We could reject any concepts of adults having the freedom to do things that children should not be allowed to do. Any ideas or activities that can’t be GUARANTEED to not harm children could be forbidden, no matter how unlikely the risk, all in an effort to make the world completely safe for them, because, after all, as the song goes: “The children are our future.”

    A world that is completely child-safe, would be a very limited world that would severely restrict the expression of ideas and activities of adults. I see a world that limits itself based on what the rare psychopath might do, in much the same way.

    You have hypothesized a nightmarish scenario and are asking for a near guarantee that it can’t occur and that is your basis for deciding the value of future technologies. No one can tell you that ANY tool can’t be used in a horrible way. Maybe there is no way to prevent this kind of thing from happening in the future, just as there is no way of guaranteeing that abduction and torture won’t happen in our world today, although it happens exceedingly rarely when you consider the MANY billions of people who never even dream of doing anything like this. In fact, the only guarantee I CAN give you is that it WILL happen, occaisionally.

    In our current world, psychopaths DO sometimes kidnap, imprison, and torture people. Sometimes they end up killing them fairly soon. Sometimes they may carry this madness on for many years. But, as you said, in the scenario you’ve created, the torture could go on indefinitely and as a normal empathetic human being, the idea of that is horrific to you and possibly a deal-breaker as far as your support of the creation of certain future technologies goes.

    I’m not saying your position is totally unreasonable, given the GREATLY AMPLIFIED ability of future tools to spread negative effects to more people and over greater periods of time. I just think that more brainpower needs to be put toward safety rather than abandoning technologies because we can think of horrible ways that insane people might use them. Maybe recent history can give you some hope. Humans have created MANY technologies some can be used for bad purposes and SOME were even created with DESTRUCTION AND DEATH AS THEIR WHOLE PURPOSE. We have had nuclear and chemical weapons for many decades and even with our current flawed, chimp-brained safeguards and poor understanding of evil-doer psychology/motivations, we have been able to limit the use of these weapons of mass destruction (and even peaceful tech that may be put to bad uses) to less-than catastrophic levels.

    So, in a mind-uploading-enabled future, if there is no way to develop counter measures that are 100% effective in preventing the hijacking of someone’s mind, and such a bizarre thing ACTUALLY HAPPENS more than extremely rarely, maybe there will need to to be some kind of check-in system that will let friends or “the authorities” know something must be amiss if you haven’t checked-in after some period of time. That’s kind of how it works now, in a very informal way. People notice you haven’t shown up according to your usual routine and they start checking up on you. They don’t have a very good way of locating you though…no guaranteed way to track you, except if they get lucky and you leave some electronic traces like the use of a credit card or a cell-phone ping that may be detected. Who knows, an uploaded mind might be able to be located much more easily using some kind of technology that doesn’t even exist today.

    I’m sure there are MANY ways (including ones that no one has even dreamed of yet), to protect the freedom and sovereignty of each consciousness in the future. But, sorry, no guarantee regarding the nefarious activities broken-people might engage in, can be given. Progress requires risk. We just have to do all we can to minimize all foreseeable risks that may be caused by a tiny fraction of people while providing the benefits to EVERYONE ELSE.

    Here’s an angle you may have never considered…

    We are limited to a separate, individual consciousness because of biology; because of the particular way we, and all other creatures on this planet, evolved. We are each distinct entities housed in these distinct meat-machines. That’s where are brains and our consciousness live. Thus, in this context, we have developed a sense of individuality, of a separate self, an ego that we protect at all costs, of “others” apart from our “selves.” We have had no other choice…so far.

    But imagine if we are able to liberate our brain-structure and consciousness from these particular bio-bodies and put them into another “platform.” Might it also be possible, then, to merge our consciousness with another or MANY other consciousnesses whenever, and for however long as we choose to? With this ability to set aside our separateness, our otherness at will, might we develop an ENTIRELY NEW view of ourself and others?

    Here’s a speculation on this idea that I heard from James Hughes yesterday on his “Changesurfer Radio” Podcast:

    “I think that the combination of life extension technology with nano-neural technology will permit us all to live long enough to transmigrate our consciousnesses to new platforms and bodies with our slowly accumulating weight of karmic memories and personal baggage so that we will eventually let go of the neurotic need for personal isolated continuity in return for more complex celebratory collective continuity sharing our dreams our feelings our thoughts with the rest of networked humanity through some kind of psychic Kazaha or public library. Pouring a little cup of experience and intelligence into the ocean and giving it a vigorous stir.

    Maybe what we’ll do is taste transcension and then intentionally keep embodiment in order to communicate with the uplifted rabbits and toasters who haven’t quite gotten there yet.”

    Yes, that’s some wild, free-form, creative speculation, but I firmly believe, to paraphrase a famous old saying: The future will not only be weirder than we imagine, it will be weirder than we CAN imagine.

    So, my point is: If you think about the future as filled with entities with all our current monkey-brained flaws and motivations and power struggles caused by scarcity and such, you may be far off from the reality that we will be able to create in the future, once we are able to manipulate our personalities and mental/emotional states at will.

    If we are able to merge with others and loosen our stranglehold on our separateness, these kinds of scenarios wherein ONE madman hijacks YOUR mind in order to torture YOU FOREVER become kind of old-fashioned, dystopian, sci-fi-movie-esque.

    I personality find it nearly impossible to believe that we will be able to upload consciousnesses in the future but still won’t know enough about the brain/mind to fix anyone with a “broken” psychopathic psyche. Here’s another quote from the same podcast:

    “It seems quite likely that within a couple decades we will have ways of enhancing our personality, our generosity, our selflessness our empathy, genetically, pharmaceutically, nano-neurally and with information-technology. We may be able to take a gene-tweak to increase our natural ecstasy production (I’m talking about the drug here, not the experience.) without the dehydration and a cognitive tweak to improve our emotional intelligence. We may be able to provide our children and ourselves with electronic superegos reminding us of our own moral code, pointing out lapses or even subtly adjusting our motivations and feelings so that we act more selflessly and generously.”

    So, I guess, yes, I think there are things we can do to mitigate the negative possibilities in this case. It will never be 100% safe, but we would never have gotten anywhere if we’d waited for 100% safety.

  • Chris Armstrong

    I’m not currently working on any kind of future-tech. Back in the 20th century, I was a student/researcher in artificial intelligence (neural modeling in particular) so that’s where my interest in mind-uploading and other H+ tech comes from. Now, I just think/write about and try to promote Transhumanist, post-bio ideas. I may get back into some tech in the future though.

    The technology I was referring to, without going into too much detail involves the eventual development of extremely advanced molecular manufacturing once it approaches the idealized Star Trek “matter replicator” level. This would mean that we have completely mastered the manipulation of matter at the atomic/molecular level and can replicate ANYTHING, including food and water. Energy will also be powerful and plentiful beyond anything we can fathom today. The positive impact of this is a world without scarcity. No need for money and thus no class/possession-based elitism. (No. Matter is not infinite, but the FORMS that it takes will be under our control and can be transformed to make any necessary/wanted object).

    We will no longer be limited by resources in the quantities that just happen to exist in nature or must be EXPENSIVELY combined/transformed. When we need something, we will use abundant atomic raw materials (dirt, shit, garbage, anything) and transform them into the forms that we need. (Eventually, we will be able to convert from energy DIRECTLY to matter and vice versa, with no need to use existing recycled matter as raw materials, since they’re are really the same thing in different forms: E=MC^2) We have no shortage of atoms. We simply have shortages of atoms IN THE DESIRED FORMS. “The future is here, it’s just not evenly distributed.”

    You may have already begun to see the downside…

    The only thing that has kept certain deranged lunatics from nuke-ing the US or other places, is a lack of access to things like plutonium and certain technologies. In a world wherein anything can be fabricated easily, ANYTHING can be created by ANYONE, including some pretty horrific things.

    One extremely powerful bit of hope is that MANY deranged people with ideas of destroying humanity or certain parts of it, got that way in a world of deprivation and power-struggles over scarce resources. So, the more we can create a world of abundance, the fewer people we’ll be CREATING who have reasons to want to destroy the world or merely people not of their TRIBE. Plus, as I’ve said earlier, I believe we will be able to fix broken brains in the future that would have otherwise developed into psychopaths.

    But the problem remains: It only takes one psycho with things like plutonium to ruin your whole day.

    And I don’t see a way to make this tech un-hackable, so there isn’t a way to limit the kinds of things that can be made with it. And the world-transforming value of replicators is that everyone will have access to them and no middleman or gatekeeper controls who gets what and when…otherwise we’re back to a scarcity-driven, elitist-controlled model again, as we have today.

    But, there are still MANY things to be thought of to deal with these issues AND plenty of time, since we have VAST breakthroughs in technology and our chimp-brained comprehension of physics that need to happen before we get to the level where this is actually a problem.

    This bothers me so much because I see this tech as the most positively world-changing thing ever conceived of and I think ALL governments, and scientists should attack this as their TOP priority, even as other tech is continued to be developed.

  • Chris Armstrong

    Yes, I can dig it: “…all resources flow from intelligence. Intelligence is the source of all resources.” Every new concept, theory, process, invention…virtually EVERY new tool or idea has the application of intelligence to solve a problem or create something new at its root. Yes, you are identifying the fundamental catalyst or spark behind ALL sci-tech developments, while I focus on one particular aspect of it.

    What do you think of this angle?

    Intelligence, particularly AIs with greater than current human-level intelligence will drive innovation and lower costs and transform the world in countless ways, and one technology, derived from that intelligence, more than ANY other, will lead us to, not just lower cost, but actual ZERO COST and a complete POST-SCARCITY, moneyless world: An EXTREMELY advanced, Star-Trek-24th-century level “matter replicator” available to ALL.

    To me, THIS is the most world-changing technology ever conceived of. I think ALL governments, and scientists should attack this as their TOP priority, even as other tech is continued to be developed.

  • connor1231

    Just as my view may be overly pessimistic, don’t you think you’re a little too optimistic? I feel like things will never be perfect, the more we develop the more problems arise. And no matter how much we find out about psychological problems, I don’t think every human will become some morally perfect being. What if someone didn’t want to go through with that personality change? Or someone was overlooked? Or the technology is developed before we can cure every psych disorder? People say mind uploading and such will be available by 2045. I really doubt that humans will discover how to perfectly cure every flawed personality AND be able to afford to do it, within the next 30ish years. That seems much more far off, if ever. Don’t you think?

    And as soon as you upload your mind to a digital world, you lose control over it and everyone could access it. You depend on the virtual network or whatever to live, and changes to it (it crashes, runs out of power, gets a virus) would all affect you wouldn’t they? I like controlling my own mind and fate.

    @chrisarmstrong the bit on us losing our individuality was interesting. I might prefer the option to stay individual when I want though…and also that seems rather far off. Many problems could occur before then.

  • Chris Armstrong

    @connor1231:disqus Yes, I prefer the option to choose when to be separate and when to merge too…yes, many problems lie ahead. 🙂

  • connor1231

    Well hopefully not permanent ones 🙂

  • Chris Armstrong

    Right. I always tend to see the TRANSITION as the most dangerous time…when the old system is breaking down, but the new system isn’t yet functional enough to take up the slack. We are in transitions now regarding the very concept of employment and long standing institutions losing the control and power they once had and other things.

    Of course, we’ve always been in transition, but it was much slower in the past. Accelerating change is what all this Singularity stuff is all about and we nee to accelerate our ability to handle it cuz: IMPERMANENCE IS HERE TO STAY.

  • connor1231

    As long as any consequences are impermanent, I am all for it. That’s the price you pay for all the benefits I guess. Really the ONE thing that freaks me out is what I’ve already mentioned: mind uploading technology that is imperfected and without safeguards. All the other singarity stuff: AI, supercomputers, transhumanism, and safe mind uploading where you keep control of your mind, I am all for.

  • connor1231

    A question about mind uploading in general. Will you experience whatever the “copy” of you experiences? Like you go on living in the world, but the scan of your brain or whatever lives in a virtual world: do you experience both? Wouldn’t it be easy to find out if it works…whoever volunteered to be a guinea pig could just be asked, “are you experiencing the copy of yourself?” If they say yes, then it works. If they say no, then the virtual you isn’t really you but is really just a clone. And then what’s the point? Is that correct?

  • AuthorX1

    Interesting discussion, however, when I see people speaking in absolutes and certainties (which is common in blog discussions, and I am often guilty of it myself) then I have to think that they have not thought through their argument very well, or they are ignoring logical and rational options in favor of a game of one-upmanship. There is a counterpoint to every point, and any truth can be practically converted into a falsehood, given an appropriate context. That is an absolute certainty.

    For example, one of the comments made in this discussion referred to the immutability of time and the law of conservation of energy as proof of the impossibility of achieving a lack of scarcity. I can think of at least one context in which this argument would not hold. If we were to take a human brain and isolate it such that we could provide it with only synthetic sensory input, then we could create a simulated reality for that brain, and that reality could reflect anything that the creator of the simulation wants it to reflect (different physics, human colonized space, immortality, infinite torture, a lack of scarcity, …).

    If we relate this to the topic of the discussion, then it opens up the possibility that the singularity is indeed happening now. Maybe we are in the matrix, and the real world is so far beyond the capacity of the human brain to comprehend, that we have been provided this organically sprinkled, scarcity charged, physics-slaved reality to keep us occupied.

    Wrt post-scarcity, if we consider the issue from the perspective of human perception, and we acknowledge the fact that humans often want to differentiate themselves from other humans on the basis of resource scarcity or abundance (their abundance of knowledge as to what the singularity is and is not, for example, verses the other commenters’ knowledge scarcities), then we can rationalize that such a context may well manufacture at least a perceived scarcity, even where no real scarcity exists. It seems that one could then make the argument that post-scarcity would also mandate post-humanity.

    If we actually can achieve a post-scarcity situation, then can we not assume or at least argue for a curtailing of desire and even a discontinuation of cognition and thought. Because what is desire, but an acknowledgement of the perception of a scarcity, and what is thought, but the resolution/reduction of perception scarcity within the context of our individual cognizance. And if we no longer desire or think, then do we really even exist?

    WARNING: Crass self-serving plug here – In my new ebook, titled “Ovahe”, which is a scenario for the advent of the singularity, I explore these issues and others. For example, in one part of the novel I describe an alternate “universe” (which is called LOMAH – an acronym for Land Of Milk And Honey) in which there is a complete lack of scarcity, at least from the perspective the native population.

  • connor1231

    You make a great point about how even post-scarcity there will still be the illusion of scarciry. people will find things that are or might appear to come in different levels.

    The part that still concerns me is “the reality resembles whatever THE CREATOR wants it to”. So it’s not necessarily up to you, it’s up to whoever creates your reality. If during the whole singularity thing, we all kept control of our own minds and could create our own simulations, that would be fine. But the fact that somebody else could “throw” us into some reality that they created is too much of a risk for me. I’d rather be a mortal human than risk losing control of myself and subjecting myself to others simulations.

    Also the bit about us being in a simulation is interesting. I guess there’s no way to disprove that but i rather doubt it for some reason. Life seems too…real 🙂 haha

  • Chris Armstrong

    I think people will choose mind-uploading for a variety of reasons and that will determine how this issue is handled.

    Some will choose to put their consciousness into a different platform because their bio-body is damaged, or worn out because of age, or they just want higher capabilities that a non-bio body can provide. They want to leave that body behind while remaining conscious, so they upload into a different platform and still remain a singular entity.

    The backup copies I mentioned need not be actively conscious. Just as a document that has been backed-up is not continually updated to the state of the current document you’re still working on. But, just as in the case of the document, you will want your backup copies to be pretty current and frequently updated to match the current version or else your backup are only as good as the last time you updated them. So, if you want to be able to use a backup copy in case your active copy gets damaged or highjacked, etc., there will need to be a system for keeping all copies up to date.

    Other possibilities are MUCH more complicated. A lot of serious thinking and personal and social evolution will be necessary to deal with all the possible variations. The idea of personal identity will need to change. For example, if someone chooses to have multiple copies themselves “running” simultaneously, we’ll have to figure out if there is one version that is to be considered the “real” one or whether they all have equal status. How we think about ownership will need to change. (If that is even very much of an issue any longer in a world where matter replicators are abundant.) How do we deal with relationships between two people if one person copies him/herself?

    All kinds of things we haven’t even thought of will change. It reminds me of opponents of gay marriage who say: If you let same-sex couples marry, why not three or more people of whatever genders get married? Why limit it to two people? And I think: I’m sure that will come along soon enough. ALL kinds of social institutions will HAVE to change, especially once consciousness no longer needs be bound to one bio-body for one short lifespan.

    And since we’re talking about non-bio bodies, the whole concept of GENDER goes right out the window. Bio-procreation? Gone too. Now were are dealing in a realm of consciousnesses, rather than bodies, unless some people choose to remain bio and do things the old-timey way and then DIE. If non-bio entities decide they want to bond in some way with one another they can, based on the desirableness of their consciousnesses, regardless of any obsolete ideas about gender.

    Gender will become a meaningless distinction that won’t even NEED to exist anymore. People will be able to choose a blend of characteristics that we may now describe to be stereotypically “male” or “female.” If they decide they want to have a “child,” they could make a blend of their consciousnesses and THAT would be the new entity. And it wouldn’t even need to be an “infant.” It could be “born” fully “grown.” Or they could choose for it to start of as an infant with the potentialities of both “parents” consciousnesses and let it develop over time. The key, species-altering factor in all of this is: CHOICE.

    I have run across some people writing on these ideas, but not much. I’m sure someone has really examined these kinds of topics in great detail. I just recently got the book: The Transhumanist Reader and maybe it’ll be addressed in there.

    Yes, the idea of keeping the bio-person around after the mind-uploading for comparison is what I have always assumed will be the first-time scenario. I always imagine Ray Kurzweil being the first to upload and then interacting with the copy of himself to see how it compares. They will be two distinct entities, but should be virtually identical in their responses as least right away, although they will rather quickly begin diverging as they each collect distinct experiences. I don’t see them as being necessarily connected and experiencing EXACTLY the same things unless someone chose to connect them and have them function that way for some reason.

    One VERY important difference will be the extent to which the non-bio “body” that his mind is uploaded into will deliver a human-like perceptual/sensory interface with the world. Will this new body “feel” the sensations of its physical environment in a comparable way to the way a bio-body feels them? And how will these different sensory experiences shape the development of these two distinct personalities as they begin to diverge after uploading?

    But I imagine that the first time it’s done, a fully-sensorially comparable body will not be what his brain is uploaded to. I imagine it will be more of a brain-in-a-box kind of situation and Kurzweil will just have to talk to this copy and have other people who know him well talk to the copy and see if it seems to be, convincingly, “him” or not. If the copy knows everything the bio-Kurzweil does and responds in ways that are indistinguishable from the bio-Kurzweil, then it will be declared to be successful and now there will be two Kurzweils and decisions about how to proceed will have to be made.

    In the case of entities existing in virtual worlds, the real-world sensory issues won’t apply and it presents different variations on the parallel-running-copies issue. You could have several copies running in “meat-space” while others are running in virtual-space. You could choose to have them all linked and sharing and learning from the experiences of each copy. The possibilities seem to be virtually endless.

    So, the idea for us to wrap our limited, bio-monkey-minds around is that our attachment to the idea of there being ONLY ONE Chris or connor1231 is only as real as it seems to be because of our current state of evolution. We’ve had no other choice. Once we can have multiple-distinct or multiple-linked Chris’ and connor1231s running around in this world and/or in virtual-worlds, everything we think we know about what “I” means will have to change and keep changing.

    At our current stage of evolution, matter is PRIMARY. We are bound to and limited by material resources. We are bound to one material bio-body. What we’ve been talking about here is a new stage of evolution wherein CONSCIOUSNESS IS PRIMARY and matter is SECONDARY. Yes, we still need some material artifact to house our consciousness, as far as we know.

    Transhumanists view consciousness in a non-Dualistic way, so, until proven otherwise, matter is still necessary to contain the pattern of our “mind-file.” It would be GREAT if, through this adventure of mind-uploading, we non-Dualists discover we are wrong and find out a way to de-couple mind from matter, then CONSCIOUSNESS will no longer be PRIMARY, rather, it will be UNITARY — it will be THE WHOLE SHOW — and we can dispense with any material “box” to put it in. But, the Dualism vs. non-Dualism question is a whole gigantic topic in itself. 😉

  • connor1231

    Yes but the thing I still don’t understand is that the way you describe, and the way I imagine, when you are uploaded the person isn’t “you”. I mean it is by all intents and purposes but you don’t feel or experience what the copy of yourself does. It’s just like an exact identical twin. So what’s the point then? I would not die in my biological form to let a copy of myself live, since its not the same as me. It’s just that: a copy. So why is mind uploading so desirable, when it is our copies who will be experiencing all of it while we biological humans continue to live and die in this world?

  • Chris Armstrong

    Now things are getting REALLY interesting because we’re getting down to fundamental premises instead of just talking about implications of our premises.

    Before I go off on a long and possibly unnecessary tangent, tell me which of the 3 positions below best describes your point of view.

    Even if a perfect copy of my brain was created that contained all my memories, my personality, emotions — every aspect of what makes me ME — to such a degree that myself and everyone who knows me says its indistinguishable from the original, it STILL won’t be ME because…

    The idea of more than one TRUE version ME, is just so strange to me that I can’t accept it. I am ME and nothing else can be ME.

    2. No matter how much it seems to be a perfect copy of me that responds like me in EVERY way, it is just a copy of my physical brain and a physical brain isn’t ALL there is to me…surely. I have a spirit or essence or some intangible x-factor that can’t be captured by merely copying my physical brain.

    3. Neither of these describes my position. My position is: (please explain).

    You can just answer: 1, 2, or 3 (with an explanation) and ill respond accordingly.

  • connor1231

    Well none of the above, but if any I’d say #3. you said that your human self would not experience the same things your uploaded self would. For example, if you uploaded yourself, you would need tests to determine whether the uploaded being was really “you”. You also said that the uploaded you and biological you would, in a sense, grow in different directions depending on what was experienced by each. My mind is open…maybe when we do it, kurzweil will say “woah I can totally feel and perceive everything my uploaded brain does!” But if that doesn’t happen, if its just an identical brain, then it might be considered you except for that you (the biological you) knows its not.

    Once there are uploaded versions of you, it is very easy to see how they could be combined, backed up, stored, erased, etc…but I’m not sold on the idea that it will work going from bio to tech. I’m not opposed to it, but I think the success of a mind upload could be determined very quickly by simply asking “hey ray, is that brain in there you? Are you it?” If the answer is no, all my fears are gone because the infinite torture and hacked minds would simply be copies of me, but I myself (my biological form) would not experience any of it. Correct?

    So I guess my answer is kind of #3 but mostly I’m just saying that it’s not 100% guaranteed to work, and if the uploaded being isn’t being perceived by you, then what’s the point.

  • Chris Armstrong

    Ok good, by not answering that it was #2, we avoided the dualism can-o-worms, for now anyway. 😉 But I still get the idea that #1 may be closer to your position than you realize.

    Let’s see…

    Here’s the key concept we must buy into:

    A sufficiently detailed copy of a person’s brain — not a rough approximation or simulation — is, in EVERY sense YOU. If you make 1,000 ACCURATE copies, every one of them is REALLY YOU…and here’s the hard part: They’re ALL you, just as much as the original bio version of you is. They will all feel and believe, just as strongly as the bio-original does, that THEY are the true connor1231. They may even have doubts about the validity of the other 999 copies AND the bio-original. They will ALL have the same ego-centered sense of self as the bio-original had. They will ALL naturally balk at the idea of being “killed” and that it’s “OK” because “they” will live on through the copies, unless they can come to some philosophical understanding of the validity and PARALLEL SAMENESS of ALL the copies; the same philosophical struggle you’re going through now.

    In one sentence: All copies are distinct individuals AND they are ALSO…ALL EQUIVALENT TO YOU. There is no sense in which the bio-YOU is the “real” you and they are merely copies…as long as they are copied well enough to be indistinguishable from the bio-original.


    It seems that you are stuck to the idea, whether you’re conscious of it or not, of there being only ONE TRUE you, which is COMPLETELY understandable and normal. A person has to go through some sort of explicit philosophical mental alteration to break free of that self-perception. And BTW, there’s no necessity that you accept this BIZARRE idea. You may conclude that it’s just some bullshit philosophical mental masturbation and be done with it. I’m just identifying the thing that is blocking you from accepting the idea.


    There is no sense in which the bio-original and the copies are automatically linked and will experience the same things. You’re holding on to the idea there there is only ONE you and if a copy of you is really YOU, it will experience exactly the same things as you at the same time, because, as in the Highlander movie: “There can be only one.”

    You have said:

    “maybe when we do it, kurzweil will say “woah I can totally feel and perceive everything my uploaded brain does!” But if that doesn’t happen, if its just an identical brain, then it might be considered you except for that you (the biological you) knows its not.”

    “when you are uploaded the person isn’t “you”. I mean it is by all intents and purposes but you don’t feel or experience what the copy of yourself does.”

    You have asked:

    “if the uploaded being isn’t being perceived by you, then what’s the point.”

    “Will you experience whatever the “copy” of you experiences? Like you go on living in the world, but the scan of your brain or whatever lives in a virtual world: do you experience both? Wouldn’t it be easy to find out if it works…whoever volunteered to be a guinea pig could just be asked, “are you experiencing the copy of yourself?” If they say yes, then it works. If they say no, then the virtual you isn’t really you but is really just a clone.”

    These statements and questions show that you aren’t allowing yourself to think of multiple and totally independent and valid, YOUS coexisting. You are thinking that, in order for the copies to be valid, they have to be somehow mentally IN SYNCH with the ONE AND ONLY TRUE YOU, or else they cannot be, by definition, YOU…(cuz, “There can be only one.”). You’re holding on to the idea, or unconscious feeling, that your actual YOU-ESSENCE is in only one place and if that one is destroyed, YOU are destroyed. That’s how it has always been up till now for all living things and of course it’s hard to think any other way. But once we can truly have multiple selves, the ONE TRUE SELF paradigm becomes inoperative and obsolete.

    The uploaded selves are not “clones” or the same as identical twins. Neither of those things have an exact copy of someone else’s life experiences, memories, personality, etc. They are DISTINCT individuals and they are DIFFERENT from other people, while an upload is a DISTINCT individual in the sense that it is not mentally connected to the original and not experiencing exactly the same things, but it is not merely a copy of the original, it IS another one of that original individual.

    If the original and any other uploads were all destroyed, that one remaining upload of you will be EXACTLY as happy as the original was to be alive and to be interacting with your loved ones and every bit of your consciousness that you consider to be YOU will be there planning your future, making your same dumb jokes, suffering the same insecurities and displaying your same strengths. This upload that you are tempted to think of as a mere clone or copy, but not YOU, will express his happiness over the success of the upload process. If someone kidnaps this upload and tortures it, the consciousness of connor1231 will suffer the agony of it, just as the consciousness of the bio-original and all other uploaded copies would suffer.

    Bottom line: There is no reason to fixate ONLY on the suffering of the bio-body in that situation and believe that it is the only one that matters and if the bio-body can avoid the kidnapping, it doesn’t matter if the other copies are tortured because they’re not YOU. The thing that’s so hard for MONO-CONSCIOUSNESSES (including myself) to grasp is that, THEY’RE ALL YOU IN EVERY MEANINGFUL SENSE. We just have to embrace the paradoxical feeling that this idea gives us, because we currently find it impossible to let go of the ONE-ME SINGLE-SELF-IMAGE paradigm.

    Earlier, I talked about people who might choose to have multiple selves running simultaneously: a bio-version, uploaded-versions in meat-space AND virtual-space.

    But this should/could only be done by someone who has totally bought into and made peace with all the implications of coexisting-multiple-selves. Such a person would have no illusions that only one of them was the “real” one.

    But I think, for the VAST MAJORITY of people, they will have decided to at least START with the idea of uploading with the intent to leave their bio-body behind. One possible way to do that would be to put the bio-body into an unconscious state during uploading (assuming that wouldn’t interfere with getting a “good copy” of their consciousness) and leave it in that state while the loved ones of the uploaded person interact with the upload and are convinced that it’s the same as the bio-original. The bio-body could be routinely kept alive in an unconscious for some period of time to let the upload determine if it wants to pull the plug on the old body and move on permanently to a new stage of existence as an upload.


    This discussion has reminded me of an Outer Limits episode from the 90s. I looked it up. It’s called, Think Like A Dinosaur: “Dinosaur-like aliens have set up an installation on the moon to teach humans interstellar teleportation. When an accidental duplicate of a woman is created by the teleportation process, it creates an ethical dilemma.

    In this story, the teleportation process copies the person in some way and transmits that information to the destination where it is reconstructed there. Once it’s verified that the person has been successfully reconstructed, the original body is instantly incinerated to avoid all the problems that can arise if there are two copies of the same person. They both have the same will to live and believe they are the valid one. The dilemma arises because THEY’RE BOTH RIGHT, but there is a protocol that says, in the case of an accidental duplication, only one may survive.



    One further way of insuring that the upload is exactly the same as the bio-original, would be to have some kind of unique interaction with the person before they are put under for the upload. You could have a specific conversation or have them watch a video or do something they have never done before. And then, when the upload is “awakened” people could ask about that experience and see if it knows about it and can talk about it just the way any person could after experiencing something new. If it could, this would be further reassurance that the EXACT person in the bio-body had been transferred into the new platform.

    I assume that Ray Kurzweil could test the validity of his upload by interacting with it and once he has been convinced that it is accurate and without any discernible flaw, just let his bio-body be “put down” and live on in his new state. I think he would have the philosophical and psychological background to do that without reservations, because he will have seen that his upload IS HIM and when his bio-body is euthanized and donated for spare parts, the new “Kurzweil in a box” will pick right up with the life of Ray Kurzweil without missing a single beat, because there will not be A SINGLE BEAT THAT IS MISSING. He’ll have all the same love for all his friends and family and they will still experience the same sweet Ray and the sometimes grumpy Ray and the same odd-ball quirky-genius Ray they’ve come to love.


    I don’t know if you’re aware that Ray lost his father when was pretty young and Ray has saved every scrap of information about his dad in ALL available forms and has them all stored away for a day when technology will enable him to use all of it to construct a kind of “simulation” of his dad. He has no illusions that this kind of piecemeal and superficial info can add up to a valid copy of his father’s true consciousness, but I think Ray may get some kind of satisfaction out of interacting with a simulated father-bot that at least reminds him a little of his father’s personality.


    To sum up:

    We are currently mono-entities by default; no choice in the matter; dictated by evolution.

    Mind-uploading technologies will enable us to become poly-entities by choice; multiple instantiations of THE SAME consciousness functioning simultaneously, but independently.

    At the time they are created, they are all equivalently YOU, but immediately begin having their own experiences and developing their own new histories unless a choice is made to keep them all IN SYNCH and “the same” by updating all of them (including non-operational backups) periodically with the experiences of only ONE of them.

    Regardless of how many paradox-laden feelings and intuitions we may have to the contrary, at the time of SUCCESSFUL uploading, the original and ALL copies, all posses equivalent YOU-NESS. There is no logical basis for considering the bio-self to have more PERSONHOOD-STATUS than the uploads. If interrogated, all selves will demonstrate the same will to live and the same stubborn, ego-driven, insistence that they are YOU as much as YOU will.

    Instead of the motto on the Seal of The United States: E Pluribus Unum – “Out of many, one.”

    The motto of the mind uploading era could be: E Unum Pluribus – “Out of one, many.”

  • connor1231

    I think I’m getting it, but then ill read a sentence and not be so sure. I understand they are all “you”. I understand they will all say they are “you”. And I understand that one shouldn’t be favored over others, since they are all in face “you”. But the thing I don’t understand, is how my bio body would experience what my uploaded bodies do. You said we would all experience different things. That’s what I think too. But then you said if an uploaded me was tortured, the bio me would be in agony. That doesn’t make sense. Even if its me, that version of me is not mentally linked to the bio me. For the same reason, if the bio ray was killed after being uploaded, the uploaded ray wouldn’t feel pain. Right?

    I’m not just asking out of paranoia (I know that’s what it sounds like). I mean that is my biggest fear regarding this technology, but my argument applies to other things too. When the uploaded “me” experiences some awesome simulation, or post-scarcity utopia, the bio me wouldn’t actually experience that. I’m not saying the uploaded versions are any less “me”, or aren’t real, but simply that they wouldn’t be, or couldn’t be, mentally linked to the biological me. We would experience different things. So if one was tortured, or one was in utopia, the other branches of “my” consciousness wouldn’t experience it. I should rephrase that…I could see the uploaded versions being “linked” somehow since they are all uploaded forms, but I don’t see how the bio me would link and experience that.

  • Chris Armstrong

    You said:

    “But then you said if an uploaded me was tortured, the bio me would be in agony. That doesn’t make sense.”

    Yikes, you’re right…doesn’t make sense AT ALL, because I said it badly…incompletely.

    You must be referring to this:

    “If someone kidnaps this upload and tortures it, the consciousness of connor1231 will suffer the agony of it, just as the consciousness of the bio-original and all other uploaded copies would suffer.”

    I definitely didn’t mean to say it that way. It needs a qualifier at the end.

    Here’s the fixed version:

    “If someone kidnaps this upload and tortures it, that uploaded consciousness of connor1231 will suffer the agony of it, just as the consciousness of the bio-original and all other uploaded copies would suffer if they were kidnapped and tortured.”

    Sorry for the confusion that caused…must have seemed like I lost my marbles for a moment…and I guess I did…all fixed now, I hope.

    You said:

    “I’m not saying the uploaded versions are any less “me”, or aren’t real, but simply that they wouldn’t be, or couldn’t be, mentally linked to the biological me.”

    Right. They wouldn’t necessarily be automatically linked just because they’re ALL YOU, but I reserve the possibility that they COULD be linked or kept “in sync” through periodic updates if someone decided they wanted to manage their multiple active selves that way for some reason…possibly including the bio-self (see below).

    You said:

    “I could see the uploaded versions being “linked” somehow since they are all uploaded forms, but I don’t see how the bio me would link and experience that.”

    Yeah, it seems like (with our current primitive understanding of mind/brain) it would be much harder to include the bio-self in any kind of link-up with the non-bio selves, UNLESS…as Kurzweil has predicted…we will continually become cyborg-ian to greater degrees as time goes on, so by the time mind-uploading happens, a large percentage of a person’s brain could already have been replaced (“upgraded”) via lots of non-bio chips and such, so that might make it easier to link-up with no-bio “brains” since the allegedly BIO-BRAIN may already be a partially NON-BIO-BRAIN.

    Another thing to consider is that there could be some advances in our understanding the mind/brain relationship/interaction and the emergence of consciousness via the brain (and other currently unimagined tech breakthroughs) that could allow for consciousnesses to communicate directly on a level that makes bio vs. non-bio interfacing differences irrelevant.

  • connor1231

    Ok that all makes sense now! Especially the cyborg part…I could see us slowly replacing the brain with machine parts or something and then linking that with our uploads.

    Do you think we would have the choice 100% which consciousness we wanted to link? Or could someone hack that too?

    Another question, this one a bit off topic but just wondering your thoughts. The singularity seems like a kind of religion of its own…it will create utopia (heaven) and everlasting life. Do you think religious people could still participate in the movement? I don’t see anything that would inherently contradict Christianity or other religions, could someone be a Christian or Muslim and still be an advocate of this technology do you think?

    Thanks for always responding and patiently sharing your thoughts, Chris. You have good points, state them well, and make me think outside the box so to speak.

  • connor1231

    This is the article that got me worried initially:

    “The worse thing that can happen to you in Morgan’s universe is being copied from a bootleg softcopy of your stack by a sadist who wants to torture a copy of you (or thousands of copies of you) forever.
    If you accept the possibility of continued existence after biological death as a upload (sorry Randal Koene, substrate-independent mind, then you must also accept the possibility of such a virtual hell. In The Perils of Mind Uploading, Seel says: ” The moment you permit your brain to be scanned you’ve lost control. Your computer-virtual is exactly identical to corporeal-you, except that it can be copied without limit and can be hacked by anyone who can get access. The nearest analogue to this situation today is your money. It’s also stored electronically and can be moved around the network. We trust institutions, banks and credit card companies, to keep our digital cash safe, but we know that it doesn’t always happen.”
    Yes, once mind uploading technology is developed, people will use it for good as well as bad ends, and substrate-independent minds will be at constant risk of being hacked and abused. Like Seels, I would like my upload copy to have “high-grade data-encryption, a remote location-finder, and a self-erase function in case it gets stolen.”

    Does this person not understand that the bio you wouldn’t experience the virtual hell? They seem to think that all your consciousness will be linked somehow so you experience what your upload does. But that runs contrary to how it would really work, unless seone purposefully set it up that way. Which I would be hesitant to do. The only thing is, if they weren’t linked, the bio me couldn’t experience all the cool stuff the updated me could. So it’s a dilemma haha

  • Skakried

    I love the article , I love its optimism . However you have forgotten 1 crucial point , human beings are flawed , we arn’t these perfect creatures everyone thinks we are , yes we are the most advanced form of life ever recorded , but that is only from our perspective. This major flaw we have stems from the simple and undeniable fact that we are human , and in being human , we are violent , angry and greedy . Dont you think that if this singularity were to happen , that someone somewhere would want more than everyone else , more power more control ? Whats to stop someone like that taking control of the net ? (which i assume will be hugely vast and one of the most important aspects of life post-scarcity) The fact is we cannot say for certain what will happen in the next 30-40 years , we predict and make guesses but there is one variable that we cannot predict , and that ladies and gentlemen , is humans.

  • Skakried

    Actually you are wrong , the “hours in the day” argument is out dated , You are correct in saying there are never more than 24 hours in a day , but time itself is a human invention to mark the passing of the sun over the sky , time is irrelevant , as is space , space and time are both infinite we just havn’t worked out how to utilise either of them yet.

  • connor1231

    ?? Are you done with this thread?

  • Chris Armstrong

    Nope. I’ll be there soon. 🙂

  • connor1231

    Ok awesome 🙂

  • George

    I take less optimistic view of the singularity. The writer assumes we can escape natural laws as described by Darwin. Pierre Tiellhard Cardin believed interconnectivity, a precursor to the singularity, would free us all and would no doubt agree. But, In my opinion, there will always be those who are better at adapting data to their needs. The animal in us will always seek an advantage. Darwinian models will prevail. It’s how we think.

    Karl Marx, like Chardin, also took an optimistic view of humanity and wrote that removing class would end social conflict and end the cycle of history as we know it. The human animal, a few of them anyway, found a way to manipulate this to their advantage. We saw how that worked out.

    There will always be those who see an advantage and be tempted to use it for personal profit. Even without scarcity, power and control, for its sake alone, will motivate them in ways we haven’t yet imagined. Interconnectivity will provide more opportunity for them. The battle never ends.

  • connor1231

    You must have a busy streak going on here!

  • Chris Armstrong

    I would assume that a system would be created that would enable people who would like to have multiple versions of themselves running simultaneously to determine that one or more of them could be “in charge” and monitoring the others and if someone would try to take one or more of them over, there could be a variety of counter measures that could be used depending on what the situation called for.


    In my experience, religious people often have several issues with Transhumanism (H+). The most fundamental conflict between H+ and religion is that H+ers have no need for a god-concept as conceived by the major religions of earth: an involved, sometime-prayer-answering, personal-god. In addition to that, many H+ers are fond of proclaiming that they are becoming or ALREADY ARE GODS — “We are as gods now.” — which is a SERIOUS heretical/conceit/sin-thingy in the standard human religious models.

    Another barrier to a conventionally religious person making peace with Transhumanism is the concept of immortality. Yes, both religious people and H+ers seek an idealized immortal life, but, while the religious person believes in an immortal “soul” that survives the death of the body, the H+ers tend to view the concept of a soul as a sort of nickname for the sum-total of our experiences, memories, unique personality, and usually replace the faith-based term, soul, with “consciousness,” which is believed to be solely a currently little-understood “emergent property” of the physical brain with no separate existence or supernatural qualities.

    In the Transhumanist view, immortality, or at least the CHOICE of a GREATLY extended lifespan, is not something that is inherently part of what it is to be human, as in the religious view. Rather, anything even APPROACHING immortality is only a POSSIBILITY if we use our intelligence to discover more scientific principles and apply them to an engineering program that will enable us to upload our consciousness into some kind of appropriately configured artifact.

    The other aspect of the H+ view of immortality that is problematic for conventionally religious people is that, by default, they become what H+ers call “deathists,” meaning that they accept and even look forward to death as a liberation from this inferior world. Death is not something ultimately to be avoided, rather, it is somewhat welcomed because that’s when the BEST part of their immortality begins.

    And it is this promise of a heavenly immortal afterlife that is a major selling point of the standard religions. If Transhumanists can offer immortality without the requirement that you have to die IN THIS WORLD, that major selling point has been rendered useless. If a fear of death is a major component of a person’s motivation to believe in and follow a religion, why not just go the H+ route, ESPECIALLY once they can ACTUALLY SEE people uploading and living a sickness-free and greatly enhanced lives, when no religion can provide this kind of concrete proof of its promise of immortality?

    Additionally, I have no doubt that the most FUNDAMENTALIST religious people will actively attack, denounce and try to stop H+ values and practices from being adopted by other, less dogmatic, people. It is, after all, in their minds, a godless, blasphemic, materialist, Satanic attempt to deceive people and lead them away from the true Word of God. I view extreme religious fundamentalism as a form of mental illness and I’m sure they won’t hesitate to oppose H+ with violence if they believe it’s necessary.

    And even those who don’t engage in violence will try to prohibit through force of law any new H+ development that goes against their idea of what is “natural” and “God’s will.”

    There are undoubtedly, MANY other aspects of religion that Transhumanism has no need of and would explicitly reject, but the ones mentioned above are probably the most fundamental of them. The rest are merely details that follow from these fundamentals.

    I’m also pretty sure that there will be A LOT of people who call themselves religious but are, what I call “good news” believers: They focus only on the positive and loving parts of their holy books and traditions and simply ignore the more insane and horrific parts. These are the moderates of the religious world and many of them could find a way in their mind to accept H+ ideas and procedures while still retaining their religious belief.

    There is a group of religious people who have already accepted Transhumanism and have even created an organization to promote their blending of H+ and their religion. They write books, produce podcasts, and hold conferences. They call themselves: the Mormon Transhumanist Association http://transfigurism.org/

    I find this whole idea bizarre and fascinating. It will be interesting to see where they go with it.

    I’m sure that nearly all Transhumanists have no problem with religious people joining the H+ cause as long as they don’t try to impede scientific progress and the core values of Transhumanism. If people on both sides adopt a live-and-let-live attitude toward each other, I can see them coexisting peacefully, although there undoubtedly will be some people on both sides who will INSIST on behaving like TRIBALIST WARING CHIMPS toward each other.

    You’re welcome. This is a good opportunity for me to organize some thoughts and write them down and think about some new angles that I hadn’t concentrated on before.

  • Chris Armstrong

    A lot of extremely intelligent people will work on ways to make all this work to the advantage of the individual uploaded entities and will do all they can to prevent others from taking control away from those entities.

    Yes, the same properties that allow for the positive and transformative aspects of mind-uploading also open up new vulnerabilities. If someone wants to dwell on the worst imaginable possibilities and ignore the HIGH-PROBABILITY that there are EVEN MORE people who are EVEN SMARTER than these hypothesized sadistic, psychopathic SUPER-VILLAINS who will always be working to make systems that can prevent MOST attempts to undermine them, they are welcome to dwell on those negative possibilities, but they seem to have overactive paranoia centers in their brain and an underdeveloped ability to look at the bigger picture of conceivable security measures that techno-geniuses will create.

    No system will ever be 100% safe, but I think the number of “bad guys” are FAR outnumbered by the “smart guys” who work on security issues. Take the Internet as an example. It has similar vulnerabilities as what we’ve been talking about regarding uploaded minds. Here and there people create viruses and compromise some parts of the net from time to time, but these people who waste their lives doing this juvenile stuff are in the minority and most of the time their shenanigans add up to little more than momentary glitches that are handled and then we move on.

    I seriously doubt that villains will be able to carry on some moronic feats of evil INDEFINITELY without security measures kicking in and deactivating whatever entities they’ve hijacked. SURE it’s POSSIBLE that it could happen, but to dwell on such a random and obscure possibility and use that as some serious critique of mind-uploading is little more than short-sighted fear mongering, in my book.

  • connor1231

    Yes those areas would be problems, but I feel like there should be a way to bring the two together so religious people could participate if they wanted. I agree it would be silly to use force against the other side, on both sides. But that wouldn’t be the first time that kind of thing happened.

    Regarding immortality, I just thought of this but would it be true immortality? What happens when all the remaining bio humans die, who powers this virtual world? If all humans died today, how long would the Internet remain up and running? Also, how about running out of resources, etc. if anything happened to earth (meteors, heat from the sun, etc) where we couldn’t sustain the virtual world or Internet anymore, wouldn’t we lose our immortality?

  • connor1231

    I am dwelling on the negative, you’re right. It’s just that everybody always talks about the positives and nobody ever talks about the potential negatives. That makes me feel better about how great minds will always be working on ways to make the technology safe. I also keep forgetting that they will work these things out before they market it, they won’t give us untested dangerous technology. So I guess that makes me feel better. I still do wish there was a way to 100% make sure my horror scenario doesn’t happen to you, though. I feel a loss of control: I’m not the greatest with tech, so I feel like I would be giving control of my consciousness and eternal well-being to other people, whether good or bad. That’s why I keep looking for a way to guarantee your safety…I want to stay in control of my own self. That’s the scary part for me, and why I keep looking for ways to remain unlinked, or control when you want to link, or keep your upload separate and unhackable, etc. that’s where those desires come from lol.

  • connor1231

    And I know you can say “well you rely on technology you didn’t create now. Your computer runs on software and safeguards that you didn’t create” but my response would be that I can always control whether or not I use the technology. I can put down my cell phone, turn off or buy a new computer, take off my google glasses, etc. but once I’m uploaded, there’s a chance that I might get hacked or something and not be able to leave that virtual world (if there was a 100% reliable self erase function my fears would be gone). So that’s why it’s a lot different and scarier.

  • You will note in the article how I state the Singularity is not about mind-uploading: “Singularity is not a seamless merging of humans and technology, neither is it about mind-uploading.”

    I doubt mind-uploading will ever become popular but you never can be certain. There could ways to easily integrate the thoughts-feelings of a copy with an original but generally a copy would be a completely new person.

  • connor1231

    What do you think is the most promising technology if mind uploading doesn’t happen? Do you think we will become cyborgs, like transhumanism? Also, do you think it’d be totally in your control which consciousnesses you link? Last question: if it’s just a copy unless you link them, what’s the big appeal of mind uploading?

  • I think mind-uploading will be possible BUT I seriously doubt it will be popular, it is unneeded. I think biological electronics, computational DNA, organic electronics, synthetic biology, and stem cells are promising areas of technology. Nanobots will also be big, and of course AI will be massive. Generally people subscribing to the idea of cyborgs and Transhumanism are stuck in a misguided 1980s clunking metallic robot fetishism, thus people often forget how biological systems are machines. If DNA can become a computer we could modify our DNA via gene therapy so that we have a chromosome that creates biological computers inside us but there would be no need to upload ourselves to the bio-computers inside ourselves. Anything you do via “uploading” could be done inside you head without actually needing to upload yourself because you are already there inside a biological mechanical system-machine: the human brain. Our brains are computers, we are already uploaded. I think the appeal regarding uploading is the uploaders suffer from a sense of alienation and self-loathing thus they want to escape from themselves, I will be writing an article about the flaws of uploading, which I will hopefully publish here if I ever finish if, so I will say no more until then.

  • Zero cost is exactly the point of Post-Scarcity. Post Scarcity (the Singularity) is, when you study all the ramifications, all about everything being free for everybody. Money will be obsolete, there will be total freedom.

  • Chris Armstrong

    Yes, I am with you on all the bio-angles that will be developed and we could just continue to improve ourselves biologically and get VERY far, but for me, the value of mind-uploading and becoming post-biological has nothing to do with outdated robot fetishism or self-loathing, rather, it stems from a very PRACTICAL and self-protective motivation. There is one reason that mind-uploading into a non-bio body IS needed, or is at least a reasonable option: A biological body, even a GREATLY enhanced one, is just too damned fragile a vessel to house ONE COPY of each person’s unique “software” (consciousness).

    Even if you made MANY bio-clones of yourself, they can all be quite easily destroyed via natural disasters on THIS planet, which is actually comparatively well suited to support bio-entities, let alone disasters visiting us from space. We need to have the option to get off of this one little cosmic spec of dust someday and space travel and other less-earth-like planets are ANYTHING BUT compatible with the preservation of earth-evolved (or even genetically-enhanced) bio-bodies.

    Maybe you do run across a lot of people who have pathological reasons for favoring mind-uploading, but I think you should definitely include these kinds of practical issues and motivations in your article before you just write-off the majority of Transhumanist mind-uploading advocates as deluded loonies.


  • Chris Armstrong

    BTW, I wasn’t referring to you as one of the “negativity dwellers” as much as others whose online comments consist of responding to these ideas with a knee-jerk paranoid scenario that seems to be off-the-top-of-their-head and without looking at a bigger picture and using that as their reason for rejecting the whole Transhumanist/Singularitarian concept with little thought or much further examination.

    YOU, my friend, have shown a great propensity for thought and a willingness to stretch your mind beyond your initial gut-reactions.

    Yep, a loss of control over one’s own destiny is pretty much the worst thing that can happen to a person, but unfortunately there are no 100% guarantees of safety available regarding technology or any other area of life. As always, humans just have to use their intelligence as best they can to guard against whatever bad side-effects they can foresee and move ahead, as we always have.

  • Chris Armstrong

    You’ve honed in on a very important issue here. Transhumanists throw around the term “immortality” rather loosely. When what quite a few of us mean is just to have a CHOICE to live longer than our current “natural” ape-biology dictates. Quite right, true immortality is never really achieved. All we can say at any given moment is: So far, so good!

    We can always be destroyed by some accident of nature or by some other entity, or even OURSELVES through stupidity or even on purpose. If we end up being so stupid that nearly the entire population remains on this planet even when we will have the ability to live elsewhere, and we all get destroyed by a giant meteor, well then I guess we deserve to be wiped for the crime of short-sighted-STUPIDITY.

    As far as: Who would run the world and generate energy to run things and keep the Internet going, etc.?

    WE WOULD, as long as we still need some centralized source of all that. The picture I see ahead is: Not everyone will live in a virtual world — at least no right away. Many people will upload into more sturdy bodies and continue with an regular earthly existence as before — minus the getting old, losing functionality, and dying from some APE-DISEASE parts. The world can still function because WE will still be living in it, if we choose to.

    As part of the MASSIVE changes ahead, I believe all things will become much less centralized than they are today. I don’t believe the Internet as we know it today will continue far into the future. It is a very primitive, first attempt that has been built upon, but will be completely redesigned in the future.

    I see the entire planet as a distributed, decentralized wireless network. It will just be woven into the fabric of EVERYTHING. It won’t be in one place with an off-switch. It will be holographic in nature, in that a hologram can have a lot of information cut out of it and the hologram is still visible because its information is distributed throughout the structure non-linearly and not easily destroyed as more linear structures are.

    We will get energy directly from the sun via MASSIVELY improved solar collectors and cell technology. Entire buildings, and virtually everything exposed to sunlight, will be made of solar energy collecting materials. Form the sun alone, we’ll have all the energy we need without the need of being hooked-up to an energy producing plant. And we will undoubtedly have other forms of energy, some of which we haven’t even begun to conceive of today.

    Our understanding of physics, and all sciences, will be expanded beyond our current comprehension. Anyone who thinks that the chimp-level understanding of science, most of the really USEFUL knowledge of which is only about 100 years old, has comprehended all the fundamental principles about how the universe works and now we’re just filling in details, is suffering from a SEVERE IMAGINATION DEFICIT. We haven’t even discovered all the important FUNDAMENTALS yet, let alone the implications of them.

    And all this I’m talking about is really just tweaks the structure of the world as we know it now. When mind-uploading has become commonplace, the world as we know it will be structured in ways we haven’t even imagined yet.

    Here is the most important advice I’ve seen from Kurzweil, which refers to something I run into every time I talk about Transhumanist ideas with someone who is new to them.

    “Another error that prognosticators make is to consider the transformations that will result from a single trend in today’s world as if nothing else will change.” Ray Kurzweil – The Singularity is Near

    People often consider one MONSTROUS future change while mentally putting it into the world as it is today in ALL OTHER WAYS and then they mention all these problems they see. They forget that in a world wherein the one topic we’re talking about has changed SO DRASTICALLY, MANY other things will have changed too, depending how far in the future we’re talking about…new amazing forms of energy, medical and scientific breakthroughs, MUCH less scarcity, a different economic system, etc.

    So, we always have to remind ourselves that one change we’re talking about won’t happen in isolation — with most of the rest of the world remaining static. It will be one change among MANY and at some point these changes will be not only stranger than we imagine, they’ll be stranger than we CAN imagine, with our current ape-brained world-view.

    Here is a taste of some of the ways Kurzweil envisions our existence changing throughout the future…

    * Nanotechnology will enable the manipulation of physical reality at the molecular level.

    * Nanobots will interact with biological neurons to vastly extend human experience by creating virtual reality from within the nervous system.

    * Billions of nanobots in the capillaries of the brain will also vastly extend human intelligence.

    * Once nonbiological intelligence gets a foothold in the human brain, the machine intelligence in our brains will grow exponentially…at least doubling in power each year. In contrast, biological intelligence is effectively of fixed capacity. Thus, the nonbiological portion of our intelligence will ultimately predominate.

    * The human ability to understand and respond appropriately to emotion… is one of the forms of human intelligence that will be understood and mastered by future machine intelligence.

    * In virtual reality, we can be a different person both physically and emotionally. In fact, other people (such as our romantic partner) will be able to select a different body for you than you might select for yourself (and vice versa).

    * The law of accelerating returns will continue until nonbiological intelligence becomes close to saturating the matter and energy in our vicinity of the universe with our human-machine intelligence.

    * Ultimately, the entire universe will become saturated with our intelligence. This is the destiny of the universe. We will determine our own fate rather than have it determined by the current “dumb,” simple, machinelike forces that rule celestial mechanics.

  • connor1231

    What does that even mean, “saturate the universe with our intelligence?”

  • Chris Armstrong

    An interesting bit of synchronicity just occurred:

    I was continuing to think about the fragility of our bio-bodies as a good reason to upload our consciousness into a non-bio body, when I ran across this video:

    Michio Kaku: The Dark Side of Technology


    These kinds of future scenarios always weigh heavily on my mind and really dampen my enthusiasm for promoting explosive technological progress.

    I’ll call it: The Douchebag Factor.

    It is the realization that possibly the greatest factor that has kept the human race safe from self-annihilation so far is that the relatively few EVIL-GENOCIDAL-DOUCHEBAGS of the world don’t have easy access to the most destructive substances like plutonium, biological warfare agents, or tools that would enable them to make things like this.

    So when I think of MEGA-ADVANCED matter replicators that would transform the world in amazingly positive ways and things like the DNA printers that Michio is talking about in the video, I get somewhat depressed because I can’t figure out a way to have these things widely available and still prevent the few douchebages from misusing them.

    And I actually DO buy into the ideas about post-scarcity reducing the numbers of people who want to destroy large groups of people to virtually zero and for the few who are left — with “broken” brains that cause them to be psychopathic — we’ll know enough about neurology to fix any “hardware” problems they have.

    But these kinds of solutions depend on achieving post-scarcity and neurological advances BEFORE people have the ability to freely and powerfully manipulate the exact forms they’d like certain collections of atoms to take…in other words, before people are able to make ANY material object/substance they want to. So the TIMING and order of certain technological advances worries me.

    And then it hit me, apropos of our discussion here:

    Virtual EVERY problem of scarce resources and existential threats and health/longevity and YOU NAME IT, are only problems because of these ULTRA-FRAGILE bodies that our consciousnesses ARE FORCED to inhabit. So, this issue goes WAY beyond just an individual’s desire to live longer and to avoid being so easily damaged.


    What Transhumanists want is to throw off these biologically enforced limitations and become, not post-HUMAN, because of some self-alienation or self-loathing, so much as we want to become post-BIOLOGICAL, while still retaining our positive human characteristics. It is merely an acknowledgement of our inherent physical fragility and vulnerability, not the result of some odd psychopathology.

    We’re seeking a “CONTINUITY OF CONSCIOUSNESS.” And to that end, to stubbornly hold on to a flawed and fragile bio-body that evolved to survive BRIEFLY on one particular planet, doesn’t make much sense AT ALL. It is nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake. Even a GREATLY biologically/genetically enhanced bio-body with wonderfully advanced capabilities could still be destroyed quite easily by nothing more technologically advanced that A LARGE ROCK, for Pete’s sake. Sure, improved bio-bodies is great in the short-term. I WANT ONE, but it is ultimately just a bandaid on the REAL problem.

    It seems INFINITELY better to put our consciousness into a body that doesn’t require oxygen, water, carbon-based food, CAN LIVE OFF OF THE FREE ENERGY OF STARS OR SOMETHING EQUALLY ABUNDANT, can’t be easily killed by radiation, can’t be easily crushed, pierced, is able to withstand extremes of hot and cold found VIRTUALLY EVERYWHERE OFF OF THIS PLANET.

    And yes, even THIS is just an interim step. Next, we’ll put our consciousness into virtual worlds of our own design and then move on from there to the point where we’ll probably figure out how to have our “consciousness pattern” remain coherent and stable outside of the constraints of a physical substrate.

    THEN the REAL fun begins. This kind of evolution may be why we don’t see more evidence of advanced extra terrestrial life. They have transcended the dependence on matter. They don’t appear to exist because we’re are looking for meat-bag collections of atoms because that’s all we know and they’ve moved past our chimp-level atom-bound existence eons ago.

  • Chris Armstrong

    LORD IF I KNOW. lol

    He has sometimes talked of the universe becoming totally infused with intelligence to the point that it IS intelligence and it WAKES UP and is a consciousness unto itself…or something to that effect…if memory serves.

    But the point I’m trying to make is not whether this PARTICULAR GRAND-HALLUCINATORY vision of Ray’s is correct in its details…whatever they are…or mean. lol

    I gave it just as an example of the kind of BIG-IDEA thinking that we need to practice when thinking of FAR-FUTURE possibilities and to not be intellectually bound by the current limitations that surround us. We need to take these new CURRENT-PARADIGM-DESTROYING ideas seriously and realize the world-changing implications they will have on who we will become and how we will exist.

  • connor1231

    Mind uploading for self protection? The scenario that Singularity Utopia described seems more protective, because you are an isolated upload, so there is no issue of hacking or losing control of your mind. That’s what I meant by an isolated system…if the computer is in your own body, it is isolated and much more appealing to me. I know you disagree but I like our bio world. If we could improve it but still have a real physical existence, that’d be pretty cool.

    I see your point about fragile bodies though. If there was a way to upload into an isolated system and still live in a bio
    Body, and if we needed to not be in our bodies we could change but still be isolated and unhackable, that’d be ideal. If we have the tech to do all that other stuff, don’t you think it’d be reasonable to do that? To find some way?

  • connor1231

    This scenario is pretty appealing to me…I feel safer and more in control with it. Plus I like the idea of a physical existence 🙂

  • connor1231

    True but scary too. I like 100% certainty. Or as close to certain ad we can get…for example it’s almost certain I will not have my mind hacked and abused forever today. That’s the same chance I’d want of that ever happening. I do like your spirit of forward human progress though.

  • connor1231

    Agreed. I was just going to make a comment saying this. Even if everybody has anything they want, there will always be people who want more. Just like money can’t buy happiness. It’s human nature.

  • connor1231

    Right, which is exactly why I don’t want my mind floating around out there for anyone to use and access. I totally agree.

  • connor1231

    I would be all for this, but only if we could have a private or isolated place to upload to. Don’t you think this would be possible by the time we are that advanced?

    It sounds to me like people like Ray want us to turn into gods, or God. Do you think there is still room for a deity in this vision? I wouldn’t consider myself a religious nut, I am open to scientific progress and all of these ideas. But I am a believer in God…would there be room to maintain this belief do you think? I want to participate in the Singularity but still keep this belief. Think the two can coexist?

  • Chris Armstrong

    ANY rational being that valued its freedom would want that number to be as close to 100% as possible. 🙂

  • Chris Armstrong

    I’m sure there will be a lot of ways to do it, once it becomes a commonplace thing to do.

    Ray doesn’t want to become God personally. He thinks the universe, infused with intelligence, will become god-like. At the end of the documentary about Ray, Transcendent Man, Ray says: “Regardless of what you call it, it will be the universe waking up. So, does God exist? Well, I would say: Not yet.”

    Some Transhumanists say that we are attaining god-like powers. We might seem to have god-like powers to someone from 500 years ago (or less).

    And there’s the famous Aurthor C. Clarke quote: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” I would add this qualifier to the end of it: “…to anyone who doesn’t understand it.”

    Increasingly, we will be able to do things that once were only done in stories about gods. I just look at as: We’re beginning to redefine immortality as something that can be achieved through technology and we are also beginning to see that we’ll be able to do many other things with the aid of technology that once were considered to be god-like.

    As far as whether there’ll be room for a conventional deity in the Transhumanist vision, I think that will be something that people will have to grapple with on a personal level. If a person wants to try and mentally compartmentalize these two incompatible world-views so that they can coexist in their mind, that’s fine. I just don’t see any place for a god or gods in the Transhumanist worldview. Not particularly because it is explicitly anti-god, it just has no need of a god or gods. I think most Transhumanists regard conventional religions as ancient pre-scientific ways to explain the world that may have served a purpose in the past, but are no longer useful and are OFTEN counterproductive…creating more harm than good.

    I don’t think it matters if someone wants to be a believer and also embrace Transhumanist/Singularity ideas. I seems to me like it would be pretty hard to reconcile them in one mind since many Trans/Sing ideas would be considered wrong or blasphemous or in someway negative to believers, but if someone want to try embracing both, I see no reason why anyone else should be bothered by it…UNLESS…the believer wants to try to impose their beliefs on Trans/Sing people or prevent them from developing some technology because it conflicts with some religious belief.

    If the two extremes — FUNDAMENTALIST ATHEISTS/BELIEVERS — can control themselves and refrain from acting like DUMBASSES toward each other, the rest of the moderate atheists/believers should be able to get along fine.

  • Chris Armstrong

    If the “computer is in your own body” you haven’t uploaded. He said, “there would be no need to upload ourselves to the bio-computers inside ourselves. Anything you do via “uploading” could be done inside you head without actually needing to upload yourself because you are already there inside a biological mechanical system-machine: the human brain.”

    He is against uploading and says it’s “not needed” so he’s not describing a “better” or safer way to upload. He’s explaining why NOT TO UPLOAD.

    The whole point of uploading is to transcend the limitations of biology, he appears to want to tweak those limitations through bio-technology, but even after all that is done, you’re still left with a fragile and EXTREMELY EASY TO KILL flesh and blood body as the “fortress” in which to protect your consciousness. Not very reassuring for someone who wants to live a LONG TIME and with the option of space travel and living on planets that are MUCH LESS HOSPITABLE THAN EARTH toward these FUNDAMENTALLY FRAIL (regardless of any clever bio-tweaking) primate bodies.

    I see no problem with your idea of retaining a bio-body and having a protected upload or multiple uploads. I’m sure all kinds of variations like that will crop up, for security purposes as well as just for a variety of multiple experiences of many “avatars” for one primary-entity to choose to integrate into its consciousness if desired, or who knows WHAT other, even freakier, combos will evolve.

  • Chris Armstrong

    I believe that certain technological developments will have a seriously huge effect on what is considered today to be, “human nature.”

    In our current scarcity-driven CHIMP-WORLD, possessions are all tied up with people’s view of their self-worth and their assumed self-worth in other’s eyes. This is because possessions represent success, more precisely, financial success, which, in a scarcity-driven monetary system (i.e., Capitalism) is the measure of virtue, character, strength, power, STATUS.

    At one time using a cell phone in public was something rare and gave one the air of being in an elite class, at least in the eyes of the superficially impressed, now it is SO commonplace that its use confers no special status and no longer impresses ANYONE.

    When the use of something approaching the level of a matter replicator becomes commonplace, hoarding vast amounts of (formerly) EXPENSIVE possessions and putting them on ostentatious display to pump up one’s malnourished ego will no longer serve any purpose, since even the “poorest” person can fabricate the same thing.

    Eventually it will become obvious that this tech destroys the very concept of there being an ELITE. There will no longer even be any POINT in being ELITE. The idea of economic class strata will become an obsolete, archaic, vestigial concept. There will be no point in hoarding things/money to provide for your immediate tribe, or to feed your maladjusted ego, when anyone can replicate ANYTHING, the idea of hoarding things will be seen for what it is: “a value system disorder.” They will be seen as pathetic mental patients and not “ballers” as they are today.

  • Chris Armstrong

    Please see my comment to Skakried above. It may give you some food for thought. 🙂

  • connor1231

    Right but don’t you think when everyone is on equal footing, some people won’t like that and will want to get power and status above people again? That’s how it seems to me…for example everyone has a cell phone now but the elite need to have superior kinds of cell phones. If everyone had an identical cell phone I bet the rich wouldn’t just be content…they would find a way to make or buy better ones. That’s why I think even if everyone has everything, there will always be people who want more. Or rather, they’ll want to have more than others.

    On a completely unrelated note, something I struggle with is that with all of this amazing technology coming soon (apparently within our lifetimes), how do you stay motivated? I see in your profile pic you look like a beast (if that’s you). But if we will eventually have awesome bodies, or not even need bodies, and be geniuses, etc…how do you stay motivated to work out in your bio body, and study and improve your “chimp
    Brain”? It’s tempting to just look ahead to the future with the mentality “it doesn’t matter what I do, ill be a super genius with a physics-defying body one day”. At least if you really buy into all the singularity ideas. Even if you don’t buy into it, there will be enough biological improvements that its tempting to have the same mentality.

  • connor1231

    I agree. Well I hope you’re right…as silly as it probably seems to you, I would like to be one of those to reconcile the two.

  • connor1231

    “I’m sure there will be a lot of ways to do it, once it becomes a commonplace thing to do”

    This was comforting to read 🙂

  • connor1231

    Well my main point I was trying to make is that you could upload to. Secure, private, isolated location to store those backups. And linking consciouses was up to you and in your power. That’s why that “computer in your head” idea was so appealing to me.

  • Chris Armstrong

    The reason people have such a hard time imagining that we could get to a point where the desire to acquire power and money and status is that we currently live in a scarcity-driven monetary system that actually REWARDS sociopaths and even psychopaths.

    To understand how we could evolve a society wherein these kinds of people would no longer get perks from being megalomaniacs, we need to examine the current motivations for acquiring money/power/status. All of these things are ways of combatting scarcity. A person wants a lot of money because it provides them with FREEDOM, from what? Scarcity. With money, they can have access to MANY things, both needs AND wants. It also provides them with social status, which makes them feel important and powerful. Status can lead to even more money, which leads to more power and more status.

    This is a serf-perpetuating loop in a scarcity-driven monetary system.

    Now, imagine if we reduce scarcity to nearly ZERO. What benefit would having a better cell phone than someone else give you? It could have more features and better functionality. Those are legitimate practical benefits and someone may want those. But remember, anyone else can also fabricate the “best” cell phone as well. There’s no point in money anymore, so any design will be freely available. People will design the greatest cell phone possible just because it’s cool. That’s what creative people DO.

    Having a different cell phone than someone else won’t provide you with more status, because people will have long ago decoupled the idea of status and self-worth from the accumulation of objects, because object are freely available. The hyper-acquisition of objects no longer provides the “hoarder” with social status because people no longer associate a large collection of objects with personal achievement, intelligence, character, power, etc., because ANYONE can have the same stuff at the press of a button.

    Nearly all people — SANE PEOPLE — will be utterly oblivious of the hoarder except to have compassion for their mental illness. If there are a few people with BROKEN BRAINS who are hoarders, they will be candidates for medical treatment and not praised and given great social status and respect for their magnificent hoarding ability as they are today. These will be marginal people in a world that has mastered the ability to manipulate matter at the atomic/molecular level. MOST people will have “gotten the memo” that the possession of a great many objects is nothing to be impressed with.

    The most important concept to remember is:

    The world does not have a shortage of atoms. It merely has a shortage of atoms IN PARTICULAR DESIRED AND NEEDED CONFIGURATIONS.

    Once Atomically Precise Manufacturing is ubiquitous, coupled with large amounts of decentralized and free energy, objects can continually be recycled by being broken down into their basic elements and reconfigured into a more desirable atomic configuration. (This includes food and water, BTW, which is the most transformative aspect of all molecular manufacturing.)

    As far as keeping motivation to stay in shape etc., here is an online article I wrote on this topic and how it relates to Transhumanism. The stuff about Kurzweil’s “Bridge” concept will answer your question directly.

    Transhumanism and Powerlifting: Don’t Be An H+ Poser


  • Chris Armstrong

    “Blessed are the peacemakers,: for they will be called sons of God.” — Matthew 5:9

    “Blessed are the cheesemakers” — Life of Brian

  • connor1231

    I like the article 🙂 that’s really cool you’re so into fitness. The only thing is that i don’t like only looking forward to how humans will be…it makes me feel inadequate at the moment and that any work I put in wont even matter eventually. You know?

    Also, your theory sounds good but it hinges on the assumption that everyone gets the technology at once. If everyone gets awesome bio upgrades and matter replicators at once, then sure scarcity might vanish. But how it would actually work is the elite and rich and powerful will get everything first, and who’s to say they will give it to everyone else. The technology we are discussing would give them a HUGE advantage over others and create a massive gap between classes. Scarcity won’t be gone yet, so I’m sure many of these powerful people will want to keep this advantage. And then the people without the technology are at a huge disadvantage with no way to get the tech or close that gap.

  • Chris Armstrong

    Cool. I’m glad you liked the article, but I don’t really get what you said: “i don’t like only looking forward to how humans will be…it makes me feel inadequate at the moment and that any work I put in wont even matter eventually.”

    If you feel inadequate, you can change something about yourself or make peace with yourself as you are. And doesn’t it make sense that you should always try to improve your intelligence and emotional stability, because these are the most important things that you will be uploading? And being physically fit and healthy is just a necessity right now if we want to have even the tiniest chance of living long enough to see some of these things happen.

    I really do think that MANY of the things we’ve been talking about will take a LONG time to get to the beneficial levels we’ve been speculating about. I think you are younger than me, but even you may have to wait a long time before you get to the point where becoming more fit would become useless because you’re just gonna get a shiny new robot body.

    Yes, to reap the HUGE benefits of molecular manufacturing technology, these devices need to be EXTREMELY widespread and easily accessible. That’s why I said, “Once Atomically Precise Manufacturing is ubiquitous…” Yes, it is ALWAYS the TRANSITION phase that is the problem…creative destruction…catastrophic success…when the old ways are breaking down and the new ways aren’t fully ready to replace them yet.

    At first, las with all high-tech of the past, it will be expensive, but also like all high-tech of the past, it will later become inexpensive and widespread.

    In the beginning, it will create a further loss of jobs, but more than any other tech, this one provides the solution to that problem, once it reaches an advanced stage and is widely available. At some point, people won’t need jobs to earn money to buy things when they are able to produce the things they need and want with this device. They will be able to spend their lifespans on creative and enjoyable things rather than doing pointless repetitive work that can be automated.

    Yes, before we have discovered ways to fix the brains of sociopathic megalomaniacs, it’s conceivable that there will be a few warped people like this who will try to horde this tech and keep others from benefitting from it. They will always TRY…it IS “their way” after all. That’s the way sociopathic megalomaniacs think. It is their HABIT that has been reinforced by a scarcity-driven competitive monetary system.

    But there a few factors that have been developing in recent years that will eventually defeat them. There is a strong DIY and Open Source movement that will take this tech underground if necessary until it can be brought to everyone. But, even more important than this is something that is inherent in this technology itself.

    In addition to world-changing things like food and water that these devices can produce, there is something else they can produce that will eventually foil the plans of any mentally ill person who wants to keep the world in scarcity.

    And that is…(wait for it)…MORE PRINTERS. It can make a copy of ITSELF, until the cows come home and until anyone can get their hands on one. Even at our current kindergarten, tinker-toy level of development, people have already created 3D printers that can print a copy of themselves. This will eventually defeat these evil, power-hungry, misfits.

    Once people can see the ability of this tech to transform the world from one of scarcity to one of abundance and all that that transformation implies, the 99.9% of the SANE people will not let a minuscule number of morons who think they are ELITE to hold the whole world hostage by their misguided and dysfunctional world-view.

    Think about it: There are ALL KINDS of technologies and information in the world RIGHT NOW that give non-elites an advantage and the ability to better themselves, but these allegedly all-powerful ELETES that so many people fear and think will run the world FOREVER have not been able to keep it ONLY for themselves.

    This tech is actually the ANTIDOTE to economic elitism and the concentration of power in the hands of a few who can hod the world hostage by controlling scarcity. Of course, the power to cure power-hungry douchebags of their elitism will make them fight that much harder against it. But I think there are enough INCREDIBLY SMART people who will work to bring this tech to the masses, that the puny and malicious desires of a small band of MENTAL PATIENTS will be unable stop it.

    We shall see…

  • Chris Armstrong


    Having said all that…that’s just one possible way things could go. There are certainly other possibilities. The chimp-brained power-mongers could prevail. That possibility is very demoralizing to me, but it won’t totally kill my positive outlook and my will to promote the positive possibilities.

    We shall see…

  • Gear Mentation

    I kind of think that a lot of the posts on this page have an underlying assumption. That is, that we will always be as social a set of intelligences as we are now. But being highly social might be only a transitory period. If we weren’t so socially needy, we would have much higher security. Some of us would go off into the universe, and would not be subject to psychopathic disruptions. And the rest of society, while still close, would perhaps be less vulnerable. There are reasons we might want to stay in touch, but we might also have large gaps between us. It’s like plague, it spreads easily in cities, but not so easily in the countryside. You’re no doubt all city people, which is why you didn’t think of this (:

    Remember much of our sociability may come about because we are materially dependent on each other. What if we didn’t need each other’s stuff, or each other’s services? How much contact would we seek out purely for the sake of pleasure? What if we needed only a few services from each other? The world of supertechnology would be much safer.

  • Gear Mentation

    Also, there’s some silliness below about “printing” other universes. You can’t print a universe. You can’t even print a star or a planet. You might be able to print, or otherwise manufacture, some apparatus that could create other universes. However that is not a given, it may be against the laws of physics, which no amount of intelligence may be able to break. Further, it might be fundamentally impossible to go from one universe to another, even if you could create one. The method of creating other universes might be as simple as creating a black hole, but without full control of gravity, you could not use that black hole to get to to the other universe you created, and perhaps not even then. It is not responsible to speculate much beyond 2030 or 2045, let alone speculate about other universes, as if these things are necessary outcomes of human/machine convergence.

  • connor1231

    What I meant is that it takes away the “American dream” in a sense. Right now, you can work your way to almost anything. If you’re willing to work hard and put the time in, you can get stronger, smarter, richer, whatever. And at the end of everyone’s life, death is still the great equalizer. With the tech were talking about, it takes all that away. You could spend years devoted to powerlifting (like you have, and that’s awesome), and some lazy couch potato who got the technology before you would be 100 times stronger and there’s NO WAY you could ever work to his level. As far as jobs go, people with the technology would be super geniuses, and no matter how hard other people studied and worked, they’d never even come close. It’d be such a huge gap, with no way to close it. Right now, you could be born poor but work your ass off in school and die wealthy. You could not be the brightest kid but study hard and still get awesome grades. That’s taken away with the new technology, and people without it have no chance. That’s what I meant by feeling inadequate in my current bio form. Whoever gets that technology will be levels above me no matter what I do or how dedicated I am.

    Which leads me to the next point…why would the few people with this massive advantage ever want to give it up? It’s a lot different than cell phones…. People without cell phones could do just fine in life. People with cell phones have a slight advantage in communication and convenience, but nothing that is so life-changing and class-altering as the technology were talkin about. If people can’t afford cell phones, they cn still get perfectly good jobs, and be equal to or better than people with cell phones. Same goes for almost all the technology out there right now. It’s all just tools that help the human use his capabilities. But once we start to CHANGE the human and make people SO much more evolved and better at everything, I don’t think distribution will necessarily follow that of cell phones and current tech. It has the power to make a few people so elite and the rest of humanity practically useless. And if you’re not a lucky one to get the technology, you’re really screwed. That kind of class separation is scary, and there’s nothing anyone could do to “pull them up by their bootstraps” if they couldn’t afford or weren’t offered the newest technology. They’d be just too far behind.

    If it goes underground and is distributed that way to everyone, that’s awesome. But who underground is going to have that kind of time, money, materials, and ability?

  • Chris Armstrong

    I think it all comes down to our differing worldviews.

    We each filter these visions of the future through our perceived paradigms of the way the world works now and how those paradigms will change, or NOT, in the face of radical technological change.

    I view anyone who would want to use their money/power to “make a few people so elite and the rest of humanity practically useless” and remaining in poverty, when there is a REAL solution available, to be nothing less than malicious, psychopaths.

    I believe the numbers of those kinds of severely mentally ill people would be EXTREMELY SMALL relative to the OVERWHELMINGLY large numbers of sane people in the world. I don’t believe this small group of mental patients would be able to hold the ENTIRE WORLD hostage while only THEY get the benefits of this technology.

    They would have to institute a violent and dictatorial WORLDWIDE police state to keep the knowledge and the actual technology away from THE ENTIRE FREAKING WORLD. Even if they were able to subdue one country, other parts of the world would see the value of this tech and let it be freely available in their countries. As the rest of the world saw how the people in these countries flourished because of this tech, they would join in and spread the tech in their countries as well.

    I do not believe a statistically MINUTE number of sadistic INSANE PEOPLE can conquer, subdue, and maintain, what would amount to a worldwide state of SLAVERY over the ENTIRE POPULATION of this planet, just so their diseased and warped littles egos can continue to feel like they’re are oh so special and ELITE. People with a level of mental illness that makes them want to torture the entire planet are dysfunctional, NOT POWERFUL.

    This is the way I see it.

    However, in your worldview, which seems to me to be a fear-driven sort of victim-oriented vision, you can see these evil and QUITE INSANE elites controlling and depriving the ENTIRE WORLD of lifesaving technology. You believe their power is greater than 99.99% of the rest of the SANE people ON THE ENTIRE PLANET, even when you can see examples today of VERY rich and powerful businessmen who are ALSO dedicated to making technology and scientific advances available to even the non-elites.

    People like: Ray Kurzweil, Peter Diamandis, Bill Gates, Dean Kamen, Elon Musk, Paul Allen, Richard Branson, Nicholas Negroponte, Warren Buffet, Oprah Winfrey, Marc Andreessen, and the list GOES ON.

    I just can’t see your imagined group of power-mad, world-hating, psychopaths turning the entire world’s population into their slaves and playthings, especially when EVERYONE ELSE will clearly see the unprecedented benefits that this tech would have for all the SANE people of the world. No sane person or country would stand to be pushed around by these hypothesized Dr. Evil’s you’re proposing.

  • connor1231

    You seem to really hate these insane, psychopath people, and I do too. I’m not trying to empower them. And with any other technology, I’d say of course a few people couldn’t keep it from the rest of the world. But this is different: think about the article this whole thread started about. People might upload their minds, and “be” the internet or virtual network. People might have hundreds of copies of themselves, all with amazing bionic bodies and backups in case they die. People might have those matter replicators you speak of, and be able to create anything they wish. With technology of this scale, I think a few people could hold power over the entire world. It is complex enough where it isn’t easy to just develop underground, and I think the world would have a tough time stopping somebody with a substrate independent mind, who exists in the form of super robots, but also online and could access all our technology. I mean, who knows what will come first, but I’m just saying that if the wrong people develop this kind of stuff first, it could be really bad. And as much as we all might hate them, and think they are disgusting and hoarders and mentally ill, what would we really be able to do to stop them? With our chimp brains and fragile human bodies?

  • Chris Armstrong

    I have compassion for anyone with a broken brain, but I DO become QUITE CROSS if people try to inflict their illnesses on the rest of humanity as would happen in your scenario.

    If we’re talking about a future time when: “People might upload their minds, and “be” the internet or virtual network. People might have hundreds of copies of themselves, all with amazing bionic bodies and backups in case they die. People might have those matter replicators you speak of, and be able to create anything they wish.”

    If all of this is already happening in the future, MANY PEOPLE, if not EVERYONE will have access to this technology. The cat’s already out of the bag and if some madman wants to try to use it to enslave people, EVERYONE ELSE will have the same possibility of using the technology to combat this madman and thwart his delusional plans for world domination. He wouldn’t necessarily have a technological advantage over the whole world. And there will be a HELLUVA LOT MORE people fighting against him than are on his CONQUER-THE-WORLD team.

    BTW, when I mentioned people going underground to develop this tech, don’t think of small bands of nerds in basements with few resources. Instead, think of nearly EVERYONE ELSE on the whole planet (besides the comparatively small gang of BRAIN-DAMAGED WANNABE-DICTATORS) who would be available to work on this tech…millions of engineers and scientists and others who will work to bring this tech to the masses. Underground movements have historically done well against greater opponents with more technology than them. It’s not like the underground will have NOTHING to work with.

    You also said: “…if the wrong people develop this kind of stuff first, it could be really bad.” And you mentioned a madman copying himself to make an army of super robots that could be used to conquer the world. Yes, you certainly have a creative imagination and seem to be able to think up all kinds of scenarios to keep yourself worried, ad infinitum.

    The bottom line is: Neither, I, nor anyone else, can offer enough guarantees or a long enough list of precautions to be taken, that will make someone feel comforted who seems intent on scaring himself by dreaming up things like a future high-tech, sadistic madman with an army of super robots and a desire to dominate the world. Your imagination can always defeat any rational argument, because your imagination is LIMITLESS and unconstrained, while rational arguments are bound by certain limitations.

    The two opposing sides we’ve been taking on this issue are called:

    The Precautionary Principle vs. The Proactionary Principle.

    There are several flavors of the Precautionary Principle, here is one definition:

    World English Dictionary

    precautionary principle

    — n

    the precept that an action should not be taken if the consequences are uncertain and potentially dangerous

    Many critics of The Singularity and Transhumanism believe that some things should not even be attempted because they cannot be 100% guaranteed — sound familiar? — not to have a VERY BAD outcome.

    I think you would like many of these critics. Some of the more famous ones are: Francis Fukuyama, Hugo de Garis, Bill Joy, and Bill McKibben

    The Bills, Joy and McKibben, incidentally, offer the concept of RELINQUISHMENT: “to limit development of the technologies that are too dangerous, by limiting our pursuit of certain kinds of knowledge.”

    You will probably like a lot of what they have to say, as well as several of the critics in the 3 part documentary called, Technocalypse, which you can find on iTunes and other places online.

    I prefer the approach offered by the Proactionary Principle…

    The creator of the Proactionary Principle, Max More, describes it this way:


    “I developed something called the ‘Proactionary Principle’, which is a much more balanced decision-making principle. It takes into account a lot more effects and it requires you to think very comprehensively, to use the best knowledge we have of decision-making, of probability, of risk analysis. It’s really a set of ten principles all brought together to encourage optimal decisions about technology and the environment. So it’s much more progress-friendly – the idea is to recognize the value of progress and to take proactive measures to progress, while also thinking of the possible down sides, planning ahead and minimizing those problems because you can’t fully eliminate them.

    It’s really based on the idea that you cannot understand the best decisions to make until you start taking actions. So you may start small with experimental steps. But you can’t wait until you know everything about the outcome because you’ll never know the outcome unless you start actually taking action. You have to learn by doing.”


    There are several organizations that work on preventing foreseeable problems with future technologies.

    One is The Foresight institute:

    Foresight’s mission is to:

    • speed development of nanotechnology and other key transformative technologies,

    • promote beneficial uses of these revolutionary technologies,

    • reduce misuse and accidents potentially associated with them.

    Another is the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies:

    The Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET) is a globally-oriented think tank that promotes the work of experts who examine the social implications of scientific and technological progress.

    And a third one is the Lifeboat Foundation:

    Mission Statement:

    The Lifeboat Foundation is a nonprofit nongovernmental organization dedicated to encouraging scientific advancements while helping humanity survive existential risks and possible misuse of increasingly powerful technologies, including genetic engineering, nanotechnology, and robotics/AI, as we move towards the Singularity.

    I think you’ll find plenty of more realistic things to be worried about on websites like these. In addition, you’ll also find a lot of information from people who have spent a lot of time and brain power coming up with possible solutions to potential problems.


    You gave me an idea for an article, when you said: “…who knows what will come first, but I’m just saying that if the wrong people develop this kind of stuff first… it could be really bad.”

    In order to make people who are quite fearful of the Singularity and Transhumanism (and any other kind of scientific/technological progress), feel more more comfortable with these things, it might be interesting to propose that there be a certain order in which we create certain technologies.

    If, before any of this powerful tech-stuff is finally created, we worked on, what many call, “moral enhancements” to the brain, many people might be less fearful of imagined “Dr. Evil” scenarios like we have been discussing. If people with severe mental pathologies have been fixed via technology/treatments that replace these destructive brain-states with positive ones, the general public will have had the experience of seeing FAR FEWER dick-ish and sociopathic people in the world senselessly doing bad things to people and generally misusing technology in negative ways.

    In this kind of environment, wherein the mysteries of the causes of mental illness have been essentially SOLVED and effective treatments are available to all, I think people would be far less likely to have a knee-jerk reaction to any new and powerful technology and not automatically assume it will be abused by the MANY mentally ill people who are free to roam the earth looking for ways to torture other beings…because there WON’T be all those examples of mentally ill people.

    Much of the negative aspects of what people assume is our “human nature” may actually turn out to be nothing more than pathological brain-states that we’ll soon have the option of turning off and then, BINGO, they’re no longer part of “human nature.”

    I’ll quote something again that I used in an earlier post:

    “It seems quite likely that within a couple decades we will have ways of enhancing our personality, our generosity, our selflessness our empathy, genetically, pharmaceutically, nano-neurally and with information-technology. We may be able to take a gene-tweak to increase our natural ecstasy production (I’m talking about the drug here, not the experience.) without the dehydration and a cognitive tweak to improve our emotional intelligence. We may be able to provide our children and ourselves with electronic superegos reminding us of our own moral code, pointing out lapses or even subtly adjusting our motivations and feelings so that we act more selflessly and generously.”

    This kind of approach will help people who have brain chemical issues and we’ll undoubtedly be able to help people surgically who have physical brain damage that may cause bad behavior.

    For people who are motivated to act out negatively towards humanity at large because of the many scarcity-driven deprivations that people suffer from today, future abundance of resources and alleviation of many of today’s inequities will completely prevent the creation of that kind of angry-at-the-world person.

    Of course, the trick will be to get virtually everyone to accept these treatments and enhancements, but if we can accomplish a great deal of this kind of thing, people will naturally have FAR FEWER fears that SOME people will want to use all this powerful tech for destructive purposes. And EVEN BETTER, not only will there be less fear, there will be far fewer ACTUAL DR. EVILS to worry about.

    I’ve never heard of anyone proposing that we wait for moral-enhancement technologies before we develop other world-changing technologies, but I’ll think about it and research some issues and see what I come up with. Maybe it’s an idea that could make a lot of sense to many people and could catch on.

  • Chris Armstrong

    P.S. Over the past couple of days, while I was writing the post above, I was also watching an episode of Charlie Rose that was about Obama’s new Brain Mapping Initiative. If this thing remains funded long enough, we just may get to the point in the not too distant future where we’ll be able to fix the negative brain/mind problems we’ve been talking about…


  • connor1231

    Yes I should clarify what I meant. If everybody possessed the same technology, I definitely don’t think any dr evil could run the world. I meant if the tech is first developed in the wrong country or by the wrong person, or maybe even underground to some “dr evil”, then they would be the only person possessing it and thus they’d be harder to fight against.

    I guess that’s all the more motivation for us “good guys” to develop the technology first! I also like your strategy of curing mental illness before we release such powerful tech! It would make me much more on board.

  • connor1231

    Also, just another thing I was thinking about. How do you think we will be able to afford for everybody to have this technology. Right now we can’t even afford to give everyone food…there are starving people all over the world. How much harder it will be to provide androids or matter replicators which cost millions of dollars to literally billions of people. I feel like that’s very optimistic thinking but a little unrealistic. Just another reason I could see this technology staying in the hands of just a few (at least for a long time).

  • Chris Armstrong

    Yes, and the most important thing to remember is that there are are a HELLUVA LOT more “good guys” in the world, generally, so there will also be a lot of them working on these things and figuring out how to do them in beneficial ways.

    Yes, it will be be a wonderful day when we can thoroughly fix broken brains.

  • Chris Armstrong

    We’ve already been over this and I addressed it in my very first thread on this page and even earlier in THIS thread. You are thinking from a “scarcity mindset.” Your assignment is to answer this question: What is something completely different about advanced replicator technology that makes it WORLD-CHANGINGLY powerful in a way that is incomparable to any kind of “manufacturing” we have today and will solve the problem you have posed?

    Hint: It’s something unique (relative to current manufacturing tech) that it can replicate. What is that?

  • connor1231

    Well you said it will end jobs and once everyone has one and the “transition phase” is done, it will end scarcity. But my thinking is how will the transition phase ever end? One we make a few hundred of these, where’s the money going to be to make billions more? And it’s not like matter replicators could just make money because then inflation just skyrockets haha

  • Chris Armstrong

    Keep looking…

  • connor1231

    I can’t find it! Just tell me haha.

    Besides these matter replicators, how about android bodies or surgeries that enhance the brain or body? These would be extremely expensive, only available to the elite, but without the qualities of a matter replicator that would make it available to all. I could even see mind uploading being widely available because people could just line up, get hooked up, uploaded, and leave. But with android bodies, and any bio enhancing surgery or anything, I see availability being a problem

  • Chris Armstrong

    The most direct answer is in this thread, but some of the elements were mentioned in the original thread.

    The answer is: It can make copies OF ITSELF. One replicator can make MORE replicators with ease. It only needs some energy and recycled raw materials whose atoms will be broken down to be used to make ANYTHING, including food and water…AND MORE REPLICATORS.

    Energy will be (unlike today) plentiful, free, available to you directly, without the need to “buy” it from a power company, in the form of MEGA-ADVANCED solar technologies that will be integrated into virtually every building and every man-made thing that is in sunlight. There will also be other sources of energy that we haven’t even begun to imagine yet.

    And if you think far enough into the future, when physicists have truly become MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE (Think Star Trek level tech here), they will be able to implement the ultimate implications of Einstein’s E=MC^2 — the equivalency of energy and matter — and be able to convert energy to matter and back again at will, so even the need for recycled raw materials broken down and reconfigured via atomically precise “nano-factories” will be a thing of the past.

    If you’re going to think about a time when we have incredibly powerful matter replicators, you have to abandon your “scarcity mindset.” It doesn’t mean you’re “stupid” for thinking this way. This has been the ONLY mindset available on this planet thus far.

    Money developed as a way of trading value for value between people who possessed different resources and had different skills that made them able to produce goods or services that others didn’t have, but wanted to acquire. In this kind of scenario, you need to go to someone (or a business) that has some scarce resource that they had to spend other scarce resources to produce and trade something of value to acquire their good or service.

    In a world wherein you can fabricate anything you need because scientists have mastered the manipulation of matter at the atomic level, the concept of money becomes inoperative, obsolete. There is no longer anyone you need to go to and offer some symbolic and totally FICTITIOUS unit of value (money) to, in order to get things you need/want.

    This is the shortest answer. There are a lot of details and many kinds of human habits, customs, and mindsets that will have to change in response to this new capability. We will no longer have a system that glorifies people hoarding possessions as symbols to the world of their power, success, admirable work-ethic, strong character, etc. Neither will the kind of psychopathic “value system disorders” that enable people to become great HOARDERS of possessions, be rewarded by a competitive, winner-take-all scarcity-driven/creating/worshipping monetary system.

    Yes, in the transitions there will be problems. People today are more and more proposing that we transition to some kind of “guaranteed minimum income” for people because a lot of jobs are disappearing and are not going to be replaced. But jobs will only remain a problem during the painful transition.

    Eventually, we’ll transition to a point were jobs and money no longer serve any purpose and people will be able to spend their lives creating things, not because they want to become “rich” from them — an obsolete desire — but because that’s what creative people DO. And there’s no point in hoarding their creations so they can have MORE POSSESSIONS THAN EVERYONE ELSE, because EVERYONE ELSE will be able to have whatever possessions THEY want and hoarders, if they exist AT ALL, would be viewed as mentally-defective people to be fixed and not great SUCCESS STORIES as they are viewed today, in our scarcity-driven world.

    People will make their creations available to the world and gain the admiration and appreciation of others because of their creativity and not because they are the BEST ACCUMULATOR AND HOARDER as we see “rich” people today. People will create new technologies and advance medicine, science, arts, etc., because these things are good IN AND OF THEMSELVES and not because they need to earn some symbolic unit of value to feed their stomachs or their shrunken egos.

  • Jack Steeb

    I agree with the sense that the singularity is not about god but I need a little clarification on the rest of it. If you are saying that the technological singularity is an “athiest metality” I would very much have to disagree, kindly, that is. I need not delve into determinist or constructivist theories, but creation is very much the work of a higher power. This is where singularity theory comes into play. Level of intelligence is a singular topic. We can separate living organisms on this earth into singular categories. An amoeba’s awareness is, for practical purposes, pretty much zero. An ant may be aware of its surroundings, using chemical signals, but has no idea what lurks high above it. A dog steps much above the ant and for this example we’ll end with humans on top. Each one of these leaps in intelligence could be considered a singularity. Assuming the vastness of the universe, we are not alone. There have most likely been many other species, on many other planets, that have done, or are trying to do, the same thing as us and our ancestors. With this being said there is no reason not to believe that many levels of singularity “jumps” in intelligence exist above us. Some of which cannot be directly perceived or understood. Finally the exponential trait of singularities clearly defines an asymptote, representing infinity. This represents the ultimate intelligence that over time we squeeze ever closer and closer to but will never fully touch. This is where god exists. The limit is god. Just as you say we may have the ability create universes based on probable multiverse theories, would that not prove that someone/something made ours?

  • Being able to create a universe does not mean our universe was created by someone. Things can evolve naturally. When humans bio-print organs or grow organs via stem cells, this ability does not mean all human organs were grown or printed by a scientist, humans were not intelligently designed.

    I think there is only one Singularity, yes the leap between amoeba, insect, dog, and human is great but despite the radical leaps of intelligence the increasing intelligence levels have never broken free from scarcity, we have never reached intellectual escape velocity. This is where the Singularity differs from previous stages of intellectual evolution.

    Science allows us to see all creation is easily explained, easily repeated, thus if there is a God, which I decidedly think is logically impossible because an intelligent being able to create universes would never be so unethical to allow its intelligent creations to suffer in the way humans suffer, then God would not be God, God is merely a scientist. Great knowledge, even infinite knowledge, does not make a person God, it is simply science. God is merely a way for people to explain the world when their understanding is limited, when they cannot actually explain the world, thus greater understanding makes God obsolete, we realise the Earth is not the centre of the solar system, we see there is no creator, we see that scientists should not be called Gods.

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  • John Laurie

    Of course there IS the possibility that the singularity has indeed happened…….but we as humans get ‘bored’ with limitless everythingness. So just for fun we put ourselves into old skool VRs where we ‘forget’ about the singularity, and live temporarily in more constrained times- like the early 21st Century! Then, maybe we can once again re-enjoy the arrival of the singularity in VR form.

  • Nekosite

    You’re a little derpy if you think or capacity for violence is a direct result of scarcity.

    If anything immortality tech and post scarcity will show an increase in violent activity.

  • YellowYam

    How can you be sure it hasn’t already occurred but that it’s keeping itself a secret as part of it’s instrumental logic? If you don’t know what its goals are, then you don’t know what it would do.

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