Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Robert Metcalf

Immortal mortals in 2100: What is “Singularity University”? (Dec. 17, 2009)

Do you know there is a “Singularity University” that was instituted in NASA compound ground this summer of 2009?  Forty students out of 1,200 candidates were selected to attend 9 weeks of focused conferences and workshops, directed by prominent and top researchers and multinational entrepreneurs such as Vinton Cerf (father of Internet), Robert Metcalf (inventor of Ethernet protocol), George Smoot (Nobel Prize of physics in 2006), the astronaut Daniel Barry, and Larry Page (founder of Google), in additional to a wide range of specialists in mathematics, medicines, and space researchers.

What are the purposes of this special summer mental retreat or summer camp? 

A British engineer, Simon Daniel, who attended the sessions wrote a series of articles in the “Financial Times” and said: “An underlying common and recurring theme is that everything is possible. If you can conceive an idea then a capital risk investor will finance it, and technology will produce your concept before you though it was plausible”.

For example, students have to reflect on this question “How would you feed one billion individual on earth?”  Since what we eat is organic matter,  we should be able to manufacture a machine equipped with nanorobots that will produce edible food from mud and algae.

Thus, the Law of Moore (founder of Intel) has been proven countless times in the last 4 decades, and which states:  “The number of transistors on an electronic chip doubles every two years at constant cost”.

All scientific fields are witnessing the application of Moore’s law at the same rate of acceleration and are interacting with one another.  It appears that technological progress is experiencing an exponential explosion.  “The next century will account for 20,000 years in technological progress computed at today’s rate” said engineer Ray Kurzweil who published “Humanity 2.0. The Bible of change” and who is the driving force behind this movement of thinking.

Kurzweil is adamant that new computer generations will have cognitive performances and will pass Turing test so that people interacting with the computer will believe that they are communicating with an intelligent human instead of a machine by 2020. Thus, this trend in technology will attain the “Singularity” goal, which is “a universe of matters and energies enveloped in a mist of “intelligence” totally detached of biological origins and human brain”.

Kurzweil admits taking 250 different pills per day and half a dozen intravenous injections per week in order to staying young and vigorous.

Who is the spiritual mentor? 

He is the mathematician Vernor Vinge who wrote science fictions and predicted this phase in knowledge development as if “we are entering a regime as different from our past as human fared with animals”

The “singularity” movement has been active for over 20 years and been disseminating its ideology via Internet sites. The idea is that the “transhumanists” or “extropians” will counter the inevitable organic degradation with a permanent increase of information. The movement has its own lobby.

The sociologist James Hughes directs the Institution for Ethics and Emerging technologies associated with the movement.

The founder of this university, Peter Diamandis, claims that technology will feed man and abolish all his physical pains; thus, the older members want this immortality technology to be applied now so that they could live one thousand years.

Students visit factories where algae and bacteria are produced for bio-kerosene; they lunch with capital risk investors; they play with the latest generations of Lego that are programmed for computers; they reflect on worst case scenarios, for example, “Intelligent robots decide to annihilate biological man and an experiment contaminated Earth”

Immortality is the critical theme: religions were instituted to cow the human specie into accepting God’s pre-ordained schemes; thus, man reacted to defy God’s plans. Maybe we might live longer and technology might aid us survive a while longer, but how can we do that after earth demise?

Copenhagen conference for climatic change was not a success.  Are investment allocated to spaceships that will save a few elite human species and transfer them to another habitable planet of any benefit?

So far, technology is out of control and unregulated on the ground of “How can we regulate human imagination and human drive for immortality?




June 2023

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