The Golden Age of Pill Ro­bots

Technowize Magazine - - Front Page -

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.

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