The Singularity is coming.
A future of unfathomable technological change awaits. But will it be a future of liberty and abundance? Or a future ruled by tyrants and cold machines?
This is the question at the heart of my latest series SINGULARITY SUNRISE. A five-book cyberpunk espionage saga, it is a globe-trotting adventure packed with psychic spies, killer bots, and superintelligent artificial intelligences. You can find back it on IndieGoGo here.
Singularitarians posit the Singularity as an unqualified good. They point to hypothetical technologies such as swarms of doctor nanobots in your blood, utility fog that can take on almost any form you want, gene therapy to eliminate congenital diseases, cybernetic augmentations, superexplosion in computing power, and the holy of holies, rapid exponential increases in intelligence through fusing man and machine. When humanity, or its machine agents, have discovered the secret to rapid recursive self-improvement, the Singularity will manifest, bringing humanity into a brave new world of unimaginable change.
But why would it be change for the better?
Technology is simply a tool. It has no morality but that of its user. Likewise, while the Singularity may lead to unpredictable technological progress, the general direction of technological progress can still be influenced and directed through government and corporate grants, mandates and directives.
A post-Singularitarian society that focuses its energies on space exploration, medicine and rapid manufacturing will be vastly different from one that turns to the development of weapons of mass destruction, omnipresent surveillance tools and human hive minds.
SINGULARITY SUNRISE focuses on the intelligence explosion hypothesis. In this scenario, an upgradeable intelligent agent initiates a runaway reaction of self-improvement cycles, each iteration smarter than the last, until it becomes a superintelligence that surpasses the limit of human intelligence.
Such a phenomenon isn’t likely to occur all around the world simultaneously. In the famous words of William Gibson, the future is already here. It’s just not very evenly distributed.
Such a scenario can only take place in high-tech civilizations with the knowledge, industrial and technological base to create an intelligent agent, much less one capable of self-improvement. Right off the bat, this eliminates a goodly fraction of the world. To create a self-improving intelligent agent will require pushing past the boundaries of known science and technology, and sustaining it for a long time. This further narrows down Singularitarian candidates to high-tech societies focused on innovation and technological development. Within such societies, only a handful of players realistically have the resources to pursue such a far-fetched dream.
Governments and megacorps.
In the world of SINGULARITY SUNRISE, politics, business, war and tecnology collide in an epic struggle. At stake is nothing less than the fate of humanity.
The first nation to achieve the Singularity will dominate the world. The first actor to initiate the Singularity will decide the direction the Singularity will take.
Industrial Revolutions, both of them, brought incredible changes to the world. In the space of the space of a lifetime, countries experienced unprecedented population and income growth, societies shifted from an agrarian to an industrial-based economy, entire continents witnessed the introduction and rise of mass manufacturing and electricity.
The Singularity will have an even more profound impact than both Industrial Revolutions. Where the Industrial Revolution profoundly shook up manufacturing and industry, the Singularity will alter the nature of humanity itself.
The key drivers of emerging technologies are the GRIN technologies: genetics, robotics, information technology and nanotechnology.
Nanotechnology enables precision manufacturing of novel materials and goods, the delivery of custom-made drugs, and more. Information technology leads to software that augment human cognition and capabilities. Robotics augment human physical capability. And genetics allows humans to edit the strands of life. The synergy of the GRIN technologies empower humans to shape their destiny and choose the direction of evolution.
He who controls the Singularity controls the destiny of humanity. Therefore, everyone will seek to be the first to realise it.
In the history of the world, no conflict has had higher stakes than this. This is a war of all against all, with factions struggling to express their vision of the future–or to destroy opposing ones.
At the same time, the world of tomorrow is a dangerous world. A world filled with kamikaze kill bots, snipers that never miss, spaceplanes loaded with hypervelocity kinetic munitions, lasers that can burn down the heavens. To avoid mutual assured destruction, the Singularity War is war of the shadows, a covert war fought by proxies and pawns, a war where dollars and computers are just as deadly as bombs and bullets. If not more so.
As the war to shape the Singularity rages, two questions remain. Will superintelligent agents render their human creators obsolete? Does the rise of a machine god mean the end of the God.
These themes, and more, are the subject of Singularity Sunrise. I will explore these topics in future blog posts.
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If you want to see the world on the brink of massive change, back Singularity Sunrise on IndieGoGo now!