Transcendent Man

Whoever was in charge of the special effects/graphics in that movie needed to be slapped a few times. The movie was way, way too heavy with CG and titles. That person also needs to be taught the difference between “it’s” and “its”. GRAMMAR people. “It’s” not that hard.

I came away from this documentary with the feeling that the director was more interested in lampooning Kurzweil than in talking about him objectively. It wasn’t as if the director was doing voiceovers and driving the film with leading questions or what not, but the way it was edited really seemed a bit “yellow” in the journalistic sense. It leaned towards being sensational and emphasizing Kurzweil’s seeming of crackpottery; I suppose though that it’s extremely difficult to not do that, given the “bigness” of his ideas.

It’s hard to talk about Singularity, I think because it’s hard to divorce from the ego and arrogance we’ve cultivated as a species. It’s basically about coming to grips with species mortality/obsolescence, which is an even greater thing to grapple with than personal mortality. Clearly there will be an end to the species, but what will the ultimate legacy and destiny for it be? Will the information that makes up humanity become a part of the post-human world that will blossom from the advent of advanced technology, or will it just be the forgotten code that is used to bootstrap the superior information processors that will be created? Framing it in terms of technological actives versus passives, I think it’s pretty clear that actives have the best shot at being a part of the post-humanity future.

I’m glad that they gave Kurzweil the chance to frame the future the way it should be framed: that it’s our challenge to guide whatever is created with the values we’ve developed as a species. I think that this is the kind of thing that will happen naturally anyway, because value is the fundamental moral underpinning of the universe (in the sense that it’s moral for two hydrogen atoms to bond to an oxygen atom, and that all morals and values arise inherently from the basic fundamental “rightness” of the universe). But maybe we can help smooth out the process along the way.

I think my favorite line was from Ben Goertzel, where he basically postulated that we’d spark the creation of machine super-intelligences who would then immediately figure out how to communicate with an alien species in another universe and they’d say: “FINALLY! Somebody smart enough for us to talk to!”