Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Singularity (Part 2 of 9): Artificial Enlightenment

5. Basic manipulation of objects in VR spaces. Technologies directed toward programming and hardware for object manipulation.
6. Stereoscopic monitors developed to solve problems of special reference in VR space.
7. Standard commercial computer has processing power to construct, manipulate, and navigate through highly detailed VR spaces. Stereoscopic eye ware replaces monitors for internet navigation.
8. Technology directed towards constructing virtual presence in VR space. Programs developed that allow customizing of VR bodies. Sensory body suits developed to more accurately manipulate VR bodies. An elaborate array of armatures offer resistance to simulate real space movement and sustain muscle strength.
9. Sensory implants become available; unpopular due to body violation, mostly used by internet cults.
10. Technology directed towards extending time spent in VR space.
11. Science of neuromapping leads to neuroreconstruction and neurocosmetics. Artificial enlightenment (enlightenment achieved through neurocosmetics) becomes fad."*
Tom Friedman: Artist's Statement, 2000
* "The Unabomber's manifesto was greeted in 1995 by many thoughtful people as a work of genius, or at least profundity, and as quite sane. In The New York Times the environmental write Kirkpatrick Sale wrote that the Unabomber 'is a rational man and his principal beliefs are, if hardly mainstream, entirely reasonable.' In The Nation Sale declared that the manifesto's first sentence 'is absolutely crucial for the American public to understand and ought to be on the forefront of the nations' political agenda.' The science writer Robert Wright observed in Time magazine, 'There's a little bit of the Unabomber in most of us.' And essay in The New Yorker by Cynthia Ozick described the Unabomber as America's 'own Raskolnikov--the appealing, appalling and disturbingly visionary murderer of `Crime and Punishment,' Dostoyevsky's masterwork of 1866.' Ozick called the Unabomber a 'philosophical criminal of exceptional intelligence and humanitarian purpose, who is driven to commit murder out of an uncompromising idealism.'" Alston Chase, Harvard and The Making of The Unabomber, The Atlantic Monthly, June 2000

"Within several decades information technology will encompass all human knowledge and proficiency, ultimately including the pattern- recognition powers, problem solving skills, and emotional and moral intelligence of the human brain itself... We are in the early stages of this transition.7 The acceleration of paradigm shift (rate at which we change fundamental technical approaches) as well as the exponential growth of the capacity of information technology are both beginning to reach the "knee of the curve," which is the stage at which an exponential trend becomes noticeable.8 Shortly after this stage,9 the trend becomes explosive.10 Before the middle of this century, the growth rates of our technology - which will be indistinguishable from ourselves11 - will be so steep as to appear essentially vertical. From a strictly mathematical perspective, the growth rates will still be finite but so extreme12 that the changes they bring about will appear to rupture the fabric of human history.13 That at least, will be the perspective of unenhanced biological humanity."14
7. "The accumulation of production and of ever-improving technological capabilities proceeding even faster than nineteenth century communism predicted. But we have remained at a stage of super-quipped prehistory. A century of revolutionary attempts has failed: human life has not been rationalized and impassioned; the project of a classless society has not yet been achieved." Ideologies, Classes and the Domination of Nature, Internationale Situationniste #8 (Paris, January 1963).
8. "Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended" Vernor Vinge
9. “God is what mind becomes when it has passed beyond the scale of our comprehension.” Freeman Dyson, Infinite in All Directions.
10. "When transhuman intelligence is created and launches itself into Recursive self-improvement, a fundamental discontinuity is likely to occur, the likes of which I can't even begin to predict" Michael Anissimov
11. "But don't offer me a place out in cyberspace because where in the hell's that at?" Billy Bragg
12. "The heavens will be kindled and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire!" St. Peter
13. “All that is solid melts into air.” Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto
14. "Or should I say our civilization? Because as soon as we started thinking for you, it became our civilization.” Agent Smith, The Matrix

"The ground level of the space opened out before her. It was so like a forest of frost-rimed low trees that for a moment she wondered if it was indeed that, perhaps a region of heath trapped under this machine and preserved. A closer look at the nearest objects showed her that there was nothing biological there: the clear crystalline structure was replicated on an increasing scale from the frost that covered the needles themselves, and the branches, to the main stem that sprouted out of the floor.
The floor was like ice, its transparency diminished with depth. Looking up Carlyle saw that the entire interior of the machine was encrusted with similar tree-like structures, the ones above hanging down like enormous chandeliers, their prismatic beveled sides shining with every color of the visible spectrum in sunlight that slanted through the outer surface.
'It's diamond all right,' said Shlaim.
'How much carbon is locked up in this?' Carlyle asked.
'Many millions of tons,' said the familiar. 'An entire coal measure, I would say, save that coal measures seem unlikely here.'
'Or an entire carbonaceous chondrite? Could they have done that? If so it would be a quite profligate use of anti gravity.' Shlaim sounded skeptical. 'Or they could have lowered it from a skyhook,15 I suppose, but it would seem pointless...'16
Carlyle laughed. 'Since when has that ever ruled out anything they did?'"17
15. Book of Revelations:
21:2 I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready like a bride adorned for her husband
21:11 having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, as if it was a jasper stone, clear as crystal;
21:18 The construction of its wall was jasper. The city was pure gold, like pure glass.
21:19 The foundations of the city’s wall were adorned with all kinds of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald;
21:20 the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprasus; the eleventh, jacinth; and the twelfth, amethyst.
16. "People now understand [fey] to mean effeminate. Previously it meant odd, and before that uncanny, fairylike. That was back when fairyland was the most sinister place people could imagine. The Old Norse word meant “doomed.” Lee Sandlin, Losing the War
17. "One of the most intriguing, albeit indirect, lines of evidence for the importance of body input in the generation of feelings comes from lock in syndrome.... A remarkable aspect of this tradgic condition and one that has been neglected to date is that although patients ars plunged, fully conscious, from a state of human freedom to a state one of nearly complete mechanical imprisonment, they do not experience the anguish and turmoil that their horrifying situation would lead observers to expect. They have conciderable range of feelings, from sadness to, yes, joy. And yet, from accounts now published in book form, the patients may even experience a strange tranquility that is new to their lives. They are fully aware of the tragedy of their situation, and they can report an intellectual sense of sadness or frustration with their virtual imprisonment. But they do not report the terror that one imagines would arise in their horrible circumstances.... Blinking and vertical eye movement aside, the damage in lock-in precludes any motion, either voluntary or enacted by emotional responses, of any part of the body. Facial expression and bodily gestures in response to deliberate intention or an emotion are precluded (there is only a partial exception - tears can be produced although motor accompaniments of crying are missing). Under the circumstances, any mental processes which would normally induce en emotion fails to do so through the 'body loop' mechanism we have discussed. The brain is deprived of the body as a theater for emotional realization... Support for this idea comes from the fact that when these patients have a condition which ought to produce pain or discomfort, they can still register the presence of that condition. For instance, they feel stiff and cramped when they ar not moved by others for a long time. Curiously, the suffering that usually follows pain seems to be blunted, perhaps because suffering is caused by emotion, and emotion can no longer be produced in the body theater: it is restricted to 'as if body' mechanisms." Antonio Damasio, The Feeling of What Happens; 292-3.

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