Never remember anything that you can write down.—Albert Einstein
Soon we’ll be able to write down everything.—stonyhill
I’m still mulling willwindow’s provocative post (and the ensuing conversation) about the robots taking over the world. I’m second guessing myself now — why couldn’t the transfer of consciousness to the machine world be gradual, as an enhancement to continuous biologically based consciousness? Is this already happening? I feel that a significant percentage of my social interaction takes place online, on places like last.fm, twitter, facebook. To some extent it continues even when I’m not staring at a screen. Last.fm adds to my music listening history, tagged photos appear in my facebook galleries, people start following me on twitter. Getting back online reconnects me to my social consciousness, expands sensory input in a way that was impossible just a few years back.
Top Five things I found on the internet:
5. My biodiesel car (thegreencarco.com)
4. An open community of incredible music (jamendo.com)
3. How to ask the right questions (letmegooglethatforyou.com)
2. My house (johnlscott.com)
1. My spouse (thank you, craig)
I’ve been reading Ray Kurzweil’s The Singularity Is Near. While he wasn’t the first to talk about the singularity, he has become one of the most visible and vocal proponents of this hypothesis. I find myself reading with a barrier of skepticism, with the assumption that there is still a qualitative gap between biological hardware and the machine world. Yet more and more of what I do online seems organic in nature: Social networking, discovering art and music, communicating. These are complicated, subjective endeavors that require pattern recognition—the “human” stuff that machines aren’t supposed to be good at yet.
So I guess I’m not too worried about the coming singularity/apocalypse, because I think it’s going to be gradual, voluntary, and that to some extent it’s already under way, at least for those parts of ourselves we can write down so that we don’t have to remember.
- What offline part of your life have you recently moved online?
- Or are you moving the other direction?
- Are you uncomfortable with the concept of a cybernetic future?
- Does it make it better or worse to think of it as an enhancement and extension of your biological self, rather than a replacement?