This article reflects the very common anthropocentric assumption that humankind will be integrated into future phases of the overall evolutionary process. One that can be traced from at least stellar nucleosynthesis right through to the evolution of technology within the medium of the collective imagination of our species.
The construction of a 'brain' that will soon equal and then surpass that typical of our species has for long been a work in progress. Not as a result of any deliberate human 'design' but rather as the result of an autonomous evolutionary process that can be seen to have run its exponential course since humankind acquired the ability to share imagination; a feature which we know as language'.
Very real evidence indicates the rather imminent implementation of the next, (non-biological) phase of the on-going evolutionary 'life' process from what we at present call the internet. It is effectively evolving by a process of self-assembly.You may have noticed that we are increasingly in a sense enslaved by our PCs, mobile phones, their apps and many other trappings of the net.
We are already largely dependent upon it for our commerce and industry and there is no turning back. What we perceive as a tool is well on its way to becoming an agent. Consider this: there are at present an estimated two billion Internet users. There are an estimated 13 billion neurons in the human brain.
On this basis for approximation the internet is even now only one order of magnitude below the human brain and its growth is exponential. That is a simplification, of course. For example: Not all users have their own computer. So perhaps we could reduce that, say, tenfold. The number of switching units, transistors, if you wish, contained by all the computers connecting to the internet and which are more analogous to individual neurons is many orders of magnitude greater than two billion. Then again, this is compensated for to some extent by the fact that neurons do not appear to be binary switching devices but can adopt multiple states.
Without even crunching the numbers, we see that we must take seriously the possibility that even the present Internet may well be comparable to a human brain in processing power. And, of course, the degree of interconnection and cross-linking of networks within networks is also growing rapidly.
The culmination of this exponential growth corresponds to the event that transhumanists inappropriately call 'the singularity' but is more properly regarded as a phase transition of the ongoing life process.
The broad evolutionary model that supports this contention is outlined very informally in 'the goldilocks effect'. What has serendipity ever done for us? A free download in e-book formats from the 'unusual perspectives' website.
Peter Kinnon - New Zealand
New technology will not solve the major problems we face; inequality between humans, loss of biodiversity and fertile land etc. We need to develop other sides of humanity rather than exactness. We need to develop ethics rather than control.
We need to develop healthy living conditions rather than cures for obscure diseases casused by pollution and bad habits. We need to discuss who is controlling what in society within and between nations before we design technologies that conduct the control.
Birgitta Rydhagen - Linköping, Sweden, PhD Technoscience, BTH
Peter should be writing for your website me thinks. An interesting response and very informative opinion.
Thomas Pilkerton - UK