Author Jon Evans, regarding the following TechCrunch article, has a good record of #BasicIncome
advocacy, so his illogical #Singularity
criticism is disappointing.
Jon Evans wrote (11 Oct 2015): "I don’t think it’s coincidence that most proponents of the Singularity claim it will happen just soon enough that they might live to be raptured up by it themselves. Religion has often tried to assuage the fear of death and promise life afterwards."
Jon is partially right. Singularity interest at this point in history is not coincidental.
The reason for the interest is very logical, very valid because it is based upon clear evidential technological progress.
Singularity interest in 2015 has an extremely lucid grounding in factual accelerating technology. The fact that many people alive now will live long enough to experience the Singularity is not mere baseless yearning to avoid death, it is not comparable to religion.
Instead of empty "coincidence" we are considering a congruence regarding how science coincides, very logically, at this point in history with rational human desires.
The criticism by Jon Evans is metaphorically similar to castigating a cancer suffer who is logically awaiting the expected positive results of a clinical trial. The point is the science is valid. We are in the realm of scientific possibility where seemingly fantastical desires are congruent with expected scientific progress.
If Singularity interest was happening in the 1960s,
when the needed technology was absent, then Jon Evans would have a valid point about empty non-scientific yearning for immortality.
The reason there was no massive Singularity interest in the 1960s is because there was no scientific reason
for the interest. The 1960s, unlike 2015, was a point too early for Singularity interest to be logically valid. Singularity interest in the 1960s, regarding a person aged 40ish, would at that earlier point have been a religious type of belief if they expected the Singularity to happen in their lifetime. The needed evidential progress was absent in the 1960s.
Since 2010 and earlier it has been very clear we are making astounding technological progress. Already one AI has solved a genetic problem in mere months, regarding yeast genes, while humans struggled fruitlessly for forty years to find a solution. Another AI solved an intractable mathematics problem, unsolved by humans, but the proof was too long for humans to check. Another AI solved a 120 year old biological mystery regarding planarian regeneration, while another discovered the source of an embryogenesis problem.
The above partial list of #artificialintelligence
achievements already seems to be close to explosion, or at least it indicates a growing level of AI progress. I could also mention how AI is being used to reduce drug development times by half, or how AI is discovering valid treatments for diseases where humans can see no treatment.
In additional to AI we have major advances in robotics, 3D-printing, gene-therapy, biotech, synbio, nanotech. The evidential technological progress clearly indicates amazing advances in the not too distant future.
Finally I will make the point about how some branches of Singularity thought (not the branch here) do have a religious taint. I refer to the event horizon model, the "we cannot predict the unfathomable mind of God" type of Singularity thinking. Similarly the idea that the Singularity will end in the world in the manner of the Second Coming does have a religious taint, thus world-ending Singularity cataclysm is rejected here.
Here at Singularity 2045
the unfathomable, perilous, or unpredictable view of super-intelligence is firmly refuted. Likewise the mind-uploading viewpoint, which could be very possible, should not be considered part of the Singularity because corporeal (in vivo) bio-immortality (stem cells etc) is a vastly easier route to immortality, thus there is no need for an incorporeal rapture into the Cloud.
One final point, is that people interested in the Singularity do worry very much about poverty. Often via Singularity 2045 the issue of Basic Income, technological unemployment, and Post-Scarcity are addressed. Even Singularity University (the elite programme for business types) has discussed the merits or not of Basic Income.
What Jon fails to appreciate is greater awareness of the Singularity can accelerate progress, via allowing people to realise what was thought to be impossible is actually possible. This method for accelerating progress hinges upon financial investment in the possible, whereas if Jon convinces people the Singularity is not possible there could be less investment in the needed technology, which means we do have the power to make the Singularity happen sooner instead of later; or in the cause of Jon Evans he could delay the Singularity via deterring investors regarding the requisite technology.
Thankfully the AI development race seems unstoppable, but the AI scaremongers or the Singularity critics could in a small way delay progress, which considering age-related disease results in around 100,000 people dying each day, this is a horrifying loss of life. If the Singularity is delayed (or not hastened) by only one year it is possible 36.5 million people will have died needlessly just before we can finally biologically cure mortality.
Jon Evans wrote: "I don’t think there’s any point in arguing with Singularity believers. (Again, I don’t even think they’re necessarily wrong. My problem is that I don’t think they’re necessarily right, either.) But I do think it’s worthwhile to put to them something like Pascal’s Wager in reverse. Even if you do believe in the Singularity, it’s best to proceed as if it isn’t going to happen. If it happens, what you do doesn’t matter at all; and if it doesn’t, what you do might make every difference in the unexpectedly limited world."
Interest in the Singularity is about making a difference in the world NOW, or least this is so regarding the Singularity 2045 viewpoint.
Here are a couple of Jon's articles, where Basic Income is mentioned, which I agree with: http://techcrunch.com/2015/07/04/so-about-that-whole-tech-eating-jobs-thing/