As a young doctoral student decades ago, one of my thesis projects was to analyze a revolutionary new technology for traveling in the deep ocean. The person who was head of the company was Sylvia Earle. He ideas, then and now, have revolutionized our thinking about the connection between life support systems, humans and biodiversity.
Sylvia Earle, the foremost ocean scientist and advocate for biodiversity has just won the TED prize. She has been a staunch advocate for waking us all up to the threats to biodiversity, threats to the future of humanity. Her key point, if we do not protect the oceans, to protect the living sea, to make the sea sustainable for our children, then the game is over.
The unknown impact of killing the oceans and this impact on human health and the future—the destruction of mankind’s life support system–are known. This potential disaster in the making can be stopped. It is in our interest to protect the living sea. The climate, food chain and public health are at risk. We have 50 years before game over. Even if you disagree with the climate change data, no one can disagree with the hard evidence that we are killing the oceans. And we can change this now.
Syliva Earle’s acceptance speech is moving. Enjoy.
Clearly the global economy is in free fall and despite what actions any government takes, we need a financial liposuction to trim the fat, so to say. The fat in this case is the funny money deals, lack of any regulation, voodoo economic theory and enough stupidity to go around, from consumers to Wall Street. It is time for adult supervision.
My position on this is that the global financial crisis will last best case 2-3 years, worse case 3-5, and I think that is unlikely, as the global economy, led by the US and EU, is fundamentally sound. GDP is stable and even growth will return. I think there is a confidence issue that is fueled by the sky-is-falling-media and many people will be hurt. But a recovery is in the cards and soon.
While we are reassessing our lifestyle, consumerism, retirement and work in general, a return to basics is in order. Do we really need all the stuff in our lives? Do we really need the consumption on steroids that has got us here? Is “greed is good” the only moral standard?
I forecast that the trend toward sustainability, a new Conservation Economic model will emerge. More simplicity, sustainable consumption, reasonable choices, evaluation of lifestyles are all in order. Conserving money, resources and living a bit more aware of the future will be a part of this new awareness.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today, the Personal DNA Security Progam, that upgraded genomo-metric technology is in place at major U.S. ports of entry, and most international visitors should expect to use the new technology when they enter the United States. This will make the entry process faster and more accurate, enabling DHS officials to focus their attention on people who may pose a risk to the United States. Have a nice day.
You may have now heard about Singularity University, a new school sponsored by NASA and Google based on the ideas of the Singularity, when computer intelligence surpasses human beings. Ray Kurzweil, the author and inventor, popularized this idea.
A few of us got together recently to found this new university that has a quite outrageous mission: Preparing humans to understand, forecast and ready civilization for the Singularity to better humankind. The first Singularity University program starts in June.
Singularity is Now
Though this sounds like too much sci-fi, my position on this is that this phenomena, the Singularity, has already begun. Streaming global networks encircle the earth communicating in various machine languages, unknown by humans today. Ten billion computer chips, Internet routers and digital switches mediate billions of transactions per second between humans, machines, networks, quite invisible to their human hosts. A stealthy techno culture has already emerged that is pushing towards the Singularity as end game.
Evolutionary Phases of the Singularity
The Singularity is an evolutionary process, an emergence birthed by the co-evolution of humans and technology–nano-bio-IT-neuro. To name a few key drivers, a next level cut would include: Synthetic biology, personalized medicine, robotics and AI.
Evolutionary Phase 1 of the Singularity has already happened: Deep Global Connectivity. Networks, chips, systems, media, infrastructure, wireless connectivity. As more media convergence emerges, digital TV, wireless, Internet, radio with more aware always-on platforms such as GPS, satellites, video and RFID, deeper global connectivity will be created. I see this as it fits into a future construct that may shape the Singularity.
Optimized self-healing and self-organizing networks already exist that manage the global Internet, voice and data traffic that defy human measurement of Exabytes and Google Plus level of high speed complexity. This is today. No one actually knows how large the Internet has grown to be or how much data flows per minute.
The immensity of the data and networks that are connected and number of transactions of all forms is incalculable. This is the foundation of the Singularity, a global connected platform, a dynamic information sea.
Evolutionary Phase 2 is Exponential and Accelerated Development. As all strategic technologies, nano, bio, computers, networks double every 12 months, grow in power and capability exponentially, this will create an acceleration, a velocity that will hasten the emergence of the Singularity. Think Moore’s Law applied to every technology.
Evolutionary Phase 3: High Convergence. More then simple connectivity, convergence of all technology platforms is coming: Media, genomic, medical, chemical, logistics, retail that look for optimized ways to enhance the performance (at first) of those platforms, then the optimization and efficiency, then sustainability (survival?). Think SkyNet. Google this.
Evolutionary Stage 4: Super Intelligence. This is the emergence of the super intelligence of computing networks. Smarter computers tasked with bigger problems in need of solutions. Hunger, climate change, war – just to name a few. Next on this path is accelerated network based intelligence–systems that think. This stage will not require smarter-then-human-technology.
These systems will manage the global systems of information and operations management of security, water, health, defense and many other strategic domains such as learning, drug discovery, global food logistics and model climate change remediation.
Evolutionary Stage 5 may happen sooner then we think: Self-Awareness. Self-aware global systems are coming. Self-aware minds. Connected minds. Self-organizing minds. This is when the global integrated technology platforms become aware of their own existence. This AI, self-awareness cannot be compared to human awareness or even human intelligence.
Singularity self-awareness is not required for the emergence of super intelligence that equals or surpasses human beings. A rudimentary self-awareness will emerge that will be based not on human-like senses, cognition or emotion, but something else.
Evolutionary Phase 6 will be Higher Cognition. This is the Singularity end game – when computer intelligence or when AI, artificial intelligence, is greater then human intelligence. This could be a network based quantum computing mind that integrates all of the other phases into a Unified Synthetic Consciousness, or not.
How we will know when we have reached this phase is when major challenges that face the planet, such as climate disasters, poverty, war or unlocking mysteries of physics or curing cancer and disease can only be discovered by these AI’s.
This is the penultimate of Singularity, to leverage this intelligence to better find solutions to problems humans cannot solve or to find opportunities to expand humanity’s reach into new domains of discovery, such as space.
Stay tuned. Ideas from humans and AI’s welcome.