Saturday, 15 December 2012

My Response To Utopia Get Real

You can read a slightly earlier version of this blog-post, with minor editing, via Singularity Weblog, titled Utopia is Inevitable.

Someone recently alerted me to an article on Singularity Weblog written by Steve Morris, which criticised utopia via the title Utopia Get Real. Steve's criticism demands a response.

For starters let's consider the following quote from the article: "It’s all too obvious that humans simply aren’t equipped to build a Utopia or even to live in one."

Yes humans do have lots of failings. A big failing is the inability of some humans to see the almost certainty of utopia, which we're approaching. Technology creating utopia is essentially inescapable. The logic for utopia is compelling. The likelihood of technology not creating utopia is so implausible we can state utopia is inevitable.

Typical human flaws are a brilliant reason why humans are being redefined via terms such as "H+" or "Transhuman." The point is we are leaving behind the outdated human baggage regarding racism, homophobia, idiocy or any other human failings. We are becoming more than human. The Singularity is all about Transhumanism, it is about transcending limits. We are transcending human flaws, or more precisely we're surpassing inhuman flaws, we are enhancing our humanity, we're becoming more civilized, thus H+ is a common term within futurism circles.

Steve Morris is correct when he states humans aren't equipped to build or live in utopia, likewise we must note humans aren't naturally equipped to communicate instantly with anyone around the world. My point is one of augmentation. From phones to the internet, or aeroplanes to Space-stations, or reading-glasses to microscopes, humans utilize technology to become more than human. Artificial Intelligence will soon represent a truly explosive augmentation. Certainly it's clear many humans aren't equipped to contemplate utopia, but technology will solve this via augmenting humans who are ill-equipped. Our future is not one where humans are ill-equipped, it is a future where Transhumans are perfectly equipped to tackle any problem. The wonders of nanotechnology, synthetic biology, or Stem Cells clearly demonstrate our progress towards becoming more than human. I do recognise there is a long way to go, but I also note how the speed of progress is accelerating.

It is also pertinent to note how intelligence is a relatively new phenomenon for the human race. The idea of civilization is not very old. The Stone Age only ended sometime between 4,500 BC and 2,000 BC. Humans in our current form evolved no earlier than 200,000 BC. We are a young species. It is only recently humans have largely abolished slavery, or given equal rights to women. The mistakes humans have made and continue to make are purely due to our intellectually immature state. We are mere children, we are learning. Metaphorically regarding our intellects we stumble when trying to walk. Initially we could only crawl. Now we are learning how to walk therefore we often fall thus grazing our knees, but we are progressing. One day we will walk without stumbling and then we will run; shortly afterwards our intellectual capacity will become supersonic. It is a mistake to think the current culture of humans is the sole representation of intelligent civilization forever. We are changing, we are evolving, intelligence is increasing.

Steve Morris presents a typical argument about people disagreeing regarding the definition of utopia, thus he states: "Even if we had a Utopia, it wouldn’t be to everyone’s taste." This is a common fallacy, the idea of people not agreeing about what actually constitutes utopia, it is based upon a failure to understand how all conflict is arises from scarcity. Every crime, every form of dysfunctional behaviour, every disagreement, and every religion is based on scarcity. Technology relentlessly pushes us towards a Post-Scarcity situation. All forms of scarcity will be eradicated thus everyone will be perfectly satisfied. Logic in the future will be utterly dominant, all irrationality will be obsolete. The Singularity is about intelligence millions of times greater than human intelligence, we are contemplating at least 20,000 years of progress (based on the rate of progress in year 2001) condensed into only one hundred years. It is a future where everything is free, nobody dies, everybody is eternally young, all governments are abolished, crimes are abolished, and everyone is utterly self-sufficient therefore free to zoom off independently into Space, whereupon people will create strange worlds according to the desires of each individual.

If the preposterously insane situation of people disagreeing about utopia does occur in the future (it really won't but let's consider it), then it will be very easy to create a new universe, for each individual, therefore you can escape into infinity. It will be possible in the future for anyone to be utterly separate from anyone who possibly disagrees with you. The level of intelligence we are contemplating is utterly awesome thus we will leave childish worries very far behind.

Finally we should note there is a difference between Utopia the novel or place (capitalised) and utopia the concept (lower-case). My name could however be confusing because my name refers to the concept but due the capitalisation of names my surname is capitalised but that capitalisation does not mean I am a novel or place, it is merely the capitalisation of a surname and my surname is regarding the concept of utopia not the novel or place. The concept refers to a perfect system, a perfect way of life. When I state "perfect" I mean utterly flawless for all people (everybody). The future circa 2045 will be utopia for everyone. This is not fiction we are dealing with.

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