|The Singularity goes mainstream?|
|Written by nuncio|
|Thursday, 17 June 2010 09:40|
While it's heartening to see the mainstream press trying to get to grips with the ideas behind the Singularity, I wonder if they are missing the point.
We're told that the TV show "Fringe", "explores a number of Singularity-like concepts". This may be the case and I may have to watch it to find out. I'm not sure why The New York Times is rehashing a story about "Fringe", as it has been out for a while (probably just a contrived way of getting reasonable coverage for a Singularity story). I have, thus far, avoided "Fringe" because I get bored with much of the so-called sci-fi dross screened on Sky. "V 2010" is an example of the kind of genre I'm talking about: a crack team of gorgeous Yanks furrowing their brows in earnest analytic contemplation of impending doom.
One of the key ideas behind the Singularity is its rapidity. We may not really have a lot of time to contemplate and agonise over the consequences as the exponential wave of change breaks over us.
Singularitarians/Extropians/Transhumanists are, on the whole, an optimistic lot. I suppose some of us do get carried away with the idea of a technological Utopia, and don't really think hard enough about the potential downside. On the other hand there are many who go out of their way to highlight the "existential risks" inherent in Singularity-like technologies, in an effort to convince dogma-laden politicians that they need to start thinking and planning for this right now. Others, more in the Extropian camp, argue that the failure to adopt potentially life-saving technologies earlier is the real crime.
It might be interesting (although probably not) to see if/how "Fringe" tackles Singularity-type issues. The quote from executive producer Joel Wyman doesn't inspire much confidence: “The whole series is based on science being out of control". Now, where have we heard that before?