Monday, 17 June 2013

Logcial Fallacy Regarding The Singularity

A person named "Adam" commented on a recent blog-post of mine regarding the Singularity not happening in the year 2013. Adam thought my views were religious. Sadly Adam's logical fallacy is common amongst Singularity criticasters.

The name "Adam" is a good starting point for explaining Adam's error because "Adam" has a religious resonance, but merely having a name such as Adam, or Eve, does not mean you are religious. Not everyone with the name Adam is the first human created by God. The point is, dissimilar things can share attributes but sharing attributes doesn't mean disparate things are similar-identical.

An example of shared factors regarding disparate things not entailing similarity is gasoline and water, which are both liquids but it isn't refreshing to drink gasoline when you are thirsty.

A better example than gasoline and water is influenza and hay-fever, which can both cause you to sneeze but it doesn't mean everyone who sneezes has flu or hay-fever. Pepper can also cause people to sneeze. If someone sneezed after inhaling pepper it would be wrong to say they had flu.

Some medical procedures, for some people, can seem miraculous, and are described in such manner, but this does not mean the hypothetical wondrous medical procedure is actually a miracle. Science has the ability to make our lives considerably better. God, according to religious people, can also make our lives considerably better, but this does not mean everything that makes our lives better is the work of God, science is not God.

If science progresses to a level of extreme sophistication where all diseases can be cured, some people could mistakenly think God has granted us eternal life but scientific life-extension is actually the application of scientific and technological knowledge, it is not the work of God, it is not religious.

Immortality does have a resonance with God's afterlife in heaven, but similar to how the name Adam does not mean every "Adam" is God's first human, immortality via science is not a miracle or religious.

Arthur C Clarke has stated any advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, but I would add a qualifier by stating: only if you are unaware of science. Adam's problem is that he is unaware of science, he is are unaware of the rate of progress thus he cannot imagine how science and technology will progress over the next 30 years, thus my explanations regarding technology in the year 2045 seem like miracles or magic to Adam.

Try to imagine how a human from 2,000 years ago would have reacted to electric lights, cars, iPhones, computers, the Internet, elevators, spaceships, 3D-printing, heart-transplants, stem-cell regrowth of organs, mechanical hearts, and all the other marvellous inventions in the year 2013. They would probably think we are devils, Gods, or wizards; they would fail to comprehend how it is merely the application of science.

Technological acceleration is difficult to grasp therefore instead of the year 2045 try to imagine how our world will have changed in the year 22045, that's an extra twenty thousand years. Think about how much humans have achieved during the past 1000 years and think about how a large part of the achievement only happened during the past 150 years. Why did the majority of achievements happen only in the last 150 years? What were humans waiting for? The answer is simple, knowledge is initially difficult to acquire during the early stages of learning but when sufficient knowledge is gathered the pace of learning accelerates, this is why electric light bulbs were only being first installed in homes in the early 1880s, and it is why the first successful telephone transmission of speech only happened in 1876. Now try to realise how our rate of progress is accelerating.

I would be, or the Singularity would be, religious if I was saying: "God will tell us how to make super-efficient 3D-printers with ultra-powerful on-board AI."

There is however no praying, magic, and no God regarding the Singularity, it is purely about very advanced science and technology, which arises from humans diligently learning, experimenting, and inventing. The world will be made a better place via scientific and technological progress, massive breakthroughs. Looking at the evidence regarding technological progress it is clear we will see around 20,000 years of progress this century based on the 2001 rate of progress.

Ironically people sometimes think the Singularity is religious, it is ironic because the religious taint upon civilization has hindered the ability of people to think logically, thus logic is deemed religious. The Singularity, due the scientific focus, is actually the opposite of religion, the Singularity is very logical, but the legacy of religion is that people often don't know how think logically thus we have logical fallacies where people make wild assumptions, they see a very loose similarity and assume identicalness, it is the error of failing to look at facts, a failure to ask questions, thus people assume the world is this or that then they close their minds to the truth.

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