The Golden Age of Pill Robots
Marc Stiegler’s 1989 short story “The Gentle Seduction” maintains the idea of technological Singularity in a rate-ofchange sense, with one of the characters superimposing the idea as “a time in the future. It’ll occur when the rate of change of technology is very great - so great that the effort to keep up with the change will overwhelm us.” The heroine of the story lives in a timeline where a majority of mankind is more willing to swallow a pill to restore one’s youthful state, or take a pill to boost one’s mental acuity. An un-imaginative, outdoorsy woman, who is hopelessly
petrified of technology, she is forced to live a technologically-impaired, forsaken life she doesn’t want. One day, the woman ends up taking a new pill, and transmutes from a techno-neophyte to an organic intelligence. The women stops aging as centuries go by, she no longer needs her physical body and can choose to leave it behind and explore the universe as a type of pure mental-energy state. The ‘seducer’ is the technology itself, as the woman lives through Singularity, and is seduced by its wonder, bit by bit.
Stiegler’s interest in a post-singularity civilization began in 1984 when he coauthored Valentina: Soul in Sapphire to cover the galloping progress of artificial intelligence, genetics and nanotechnology. Now, three decades later, we’re approaching a moment when humanity – our bodies, our minds, our civilization – will be completely and irreversibly transformed by Singularity. It’s impossible to think about accelerating technological development and where it may be taking us, without accepting the idea of Singularity. As it turns out, life-extension advocates, cyborgs, neuroscientists, Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurs and transhumanists, are entirely
convinced that merging technology and human beings will turn us into beings of pure and immutable thought.
This particular techno-millenarianism of
Singularity could be noted in Elon Musk’s widely reported recent comments at the world Government Summit in Dubai. In some ways, he insisted, we are already cyborgs. with all the digital tools that we have, our phone, our computer, that we can ask a question and instantly get an answer from Google and other things, we humans, already have a digital tertiary layer. In order to avoid becoming obsolete, we need some sort of merger between biological intelligence and digital intelligence. “It will be some high bandwidth connection to the brain that will help us achieve a symbiosis between our brain and artificial intelligence.”
After Singularity, the most talkedabout topic is life-extension. Singularitarians see biological boundaries that most people think of as perpetual and inescapable as solvable problems. Aging is an illness. So is death, like any other, intractable illness. what do you do with illnesses? You cure them. After all, Singularity cannot be plotted on the graph without biological evolution.