SOUND SCULPTURE '!' @ 'TECHNOLOGICAL SINGULARITY' (AMSTERDAM, NL)
When: 25 March to 25 April 2010
Where: PLANETART: Medialab Artspace Volkskrantgebouw Wibautstraat 150, Amsterdam
A singularity is a point at which an otherwise continuous mathematical progression becomes effectively infinite, implying that all continuous extrapolation breaks down beyond that point. Technological singularity refers to the hypothesis that technological progress will reach such an infinite or extremely high value at a point in the near future.
The idea is inspired by the observation of accelerating change in the development of wealth, technology, and humans’ capability for information processing. Extrapolating these capabilities to the future has led a number of thinkers to envisage the short- term emergence of a self-improving artificial intelligence or superintelligence that is so much beyond humans’ present capabilities that it becomes impossible to understand it with present conceptions.
It is alternately suggested that a singularity could arise through amplification of human intelligence to the point that the resulting transhumans would be incomprehensible to their purely biological counterparts. The technological singularity is posited as a metasystem transition or transcendence to an entire new regime of mind, society, and technology.
Many prominent technologists and academics dispute the plausibility of the notion of a technological singularity, including Jeff Hawkins, John Holland, Marvin Minsky, Daniel Dennett, and Gordon Moore, whose eponymous Moore’s Law is often cited in support of the concept.
Then, a metasystem transition is the emergence, through evolution, of a higher level of organization or control. Prime examples are the origin of life, the transition from unicellular to multicellular organisms, and the emergence of symbolic thought. A metasystem is formed by the integration of a number of initially independent components, such as molecules, cells or individuals and the emergence of a system steering or controlling their interactions.
As such, the collective of components becomes a new, goal-directed individual, capable of acting in a coordinated way. This metasystem is more complex, more intelligent, and more flexible in its actions than the initial component systems. The concept of metasystem transition was introduced by the cybernetician Valentin Turchin in his 1977 book “The Phenomenon of Science”, and developed among others by Francis Heylighen in the Principia Cybernetica Project. The related notion of evolutionary transition was proposed by the biologists John Maynard Smith and Eors Szathmary, in their 1995 book The Major Transitions in Evolution, and developed among others by Richard Michod.