The Singularity Conundrum

Perhaps you have heard of “The Singularity.”

“The singularity is the hypothesis that accelerating progress in technologies such as artificial intelligence will cause non-human intelligence to exceed human intelligence for the first time in history, causing human civilization to be radically changed or possibly destroyed.”

I work with technology every day, and I wish I could give you Singularity people some encouragement.  If machines were smarter it might make my life simpler. Personally, however, I do not feel any footsteps racing up behind me from the computer world.  If such an occurrence is even possible, I don’t see it happening anytime soon.

But let’s say for a moment that these predictions from Ray Kurzweil and Vernor Vinge are completely plausible and accurate.  Let’s pick a date, say, April 15, 2045 for The Singularity to occur.

How will technology have arrived at the point that it stands poised to take over the world and make the human race a byword in history?

It will have taken a HUGE amount of creativity, technology, and engineering to arrive at that point.

Knowing a bit about human nature from my 50+ short years on this planet, I can guarantee you that someone is going to try to take credit for the advent of The Singularity.  There will be books such as, “I Created The Singularity,” or “The Singularity and Me: How I Led The Revolution,” or “From Artificial Intelligence to New Species: How I Developed AI and Overthrew The Human Race.”

No doubt Al Gore will be on the talk show circuit telling folks how he invented The Singularity.

Here’s where things get a little sticky.

A lot of those who are working diligently on the artificial intelligence that is supposed to morph into superior intelligence and put the human race out of business do not believe that they themselves are creations.  Many do not believe in God, the concept of a “higher power,” or any sort of “Supreme Being.”  Certainly not the Christian God.

At the conclusion of the documentary “Transcendent Man,” author, scientist, and philosopher Ray Kurzweil answers his own question: “Does God exist?  Well, not yet.”

Apparently to Kurzweil (and scores of others who believe like him), we are a cosmic accident.  We are the top of the pyramid and we sit on the throne of God.  Humans, according to the line of thought, are the ultimate authority in the universe.

What I find difficult to fathom is that someone who is expending so much effort in creating a sentient robot cannot countenance the idea that they themselves are a creation and not just some freak cosmic accident.

They cannot acknowledge that they themselves, who are sentient and so much more complex and mysterious in their origins than the machine they are creating, have been created by a Creator.

Isn’t that sort of arrogant?

My DNA is more complex than any computer program known to man.  My cells can continue to regenerate perfectly to replace worn or damaged cells.  I have the capacity to think, and reason, and contemplate my existence.  I can even replicate a new being from my being to pass the torch of life through the ages.

Yet some scientists can’t bring themselves to acknowledge God?

Is all of this not evidence that we are a creation?

If there were not legions of scientists working diligently on the various scientific disciplines required to bring about The Singularity, would it be possible for The Singularity to occur?  Would The Singularity happen whether we developed the technology or not?  Is it possible?

Some scientists like Kurzweil believe that The Singularity will be a huge advance in the evolutionary process.  But this advance cannot take place randomly.  It could not happen without a massive investment of time, energy, resources, and organization.  It is a very focused creative endeavor.

If The Singularity is even a possibility, it will not come about by accident or mere “evolution.”  It will be through a very deliberate process.

Evolution or Engineering?

That’s ultimately the question scientists need to be asking when contemplating the origin of human life.

Personally, I could not imagine how I could be an atheist if I were a scientist because the more I look into life and the universe the more mind boggling it becomes, the more miraculous it seems, and the more implausible becomes the idea that humanity is not an engineered creation.

I don’t understand why intelligent design cannot be taught in school when it is actually the only logical conclusion that can be arrived at when considering the origins of our existence.

Well, should The Singularity actually occur, let’s hope the sentient beings that are created from this enormous collaborative effort of creativity and engineering are more grateful toward their creators than we have been to ours.

Reprinted from the Book:

My Two Cents:  On Politics, Religion, Sex, And All The Other
Things We’re Not Supposed To Talk About At Thanksgiving Dinner

(A Compendium Of Observations And Common Sense Solutions To The
Issues Threatening The Survival Of America)

 by Patrick A. Taylor
Copyright 2005-2014, by Patrick A. Taylor
All Rights Reserved

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References:

“Does God exist? Well, not yet.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_singularity

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