Thursday, February 9, 2012

Merging Man and Machine: Singularity vs. Humanity

Brandon Turbeville
Activist Post

In a testament to just how fast the coming cyberization of mankind has progressed, a new report published by the Daily Mail entitled, “Hitler would have loved The Singularity: Mind-blowing benefits of merging human brains and computers,” reaffirms most of what I have been writing about for the better part of a year. Namely, that the merging of man and machine is much closer than the average person is willing to believe.

In the news report, Ian Morris, Professor of Classics and History at Stanford University and author of Why The West Rules – For Now, briefly overviews years of mainstream history involving the development and implementation of Singularity-related technologies.

Before going much further, however, it is important for the reader to understand just what is meant when the term “Singularity” is used. Defined by TIME, “Singularity” is “The moment when technological change becomes so rapid and profound, it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history.” Simply put, Singularity is the moment when man and machine merge to create a new type of human – a singular entity that contains property of both machines and humans.

If the concept of Singularity is new to you, I suggest reading my article “The Singularity Movement, Immortality, and Removing the Ghost in the Machine.” In this article, I discuss the premise behind the movement, and some of the implications it holds for basic human freedom, dignity, and even our own existence.


Unfortunately, Singularity is not a fringe movement as some might at first believe; it has a great number of followers, many of whom are in powerful positions. For instance, the Singularity University is a three-year-old institution that offers inter-disciplinary courses for both executives and graduate students.  It is hosted by NASA, a notorious front for secretive projects conducted by the government and the military-industrial complex. Not only that, but Google, which is yet another corporate front for intelligence agencies, was a founding sponsor of the University as well.

It is this context in which Ian Morris writes his own article about the coming merger of human brains and computers.

Morris prefaces his commentary on Singularity by pointing out some mainstream (even if not well-known) facts regarding the development of technology that he, and many others who are informed on the subject, believes will allow for actually sending human thoughts over the Internet. All of this, of course, will take place after human brains are chipped, or otherwise linked to computers.

Morris writes:

Ten years ago, the US National Science Foundation predicted ‘network-enhanced telepathy’ – sending thoughts over the internet – would be practical by the 2020s.

And thanks to neuroscientists at the University of California, we seem to be on schedule.

Last September, they asked volunteers to watch Hollywood film trailers and then reconstructed the clips by scanning their subjects’ brain activity.

He continues by saying:

Last week, the scientists boldly went further still. They charted the electrical activity in the brains of volunteers who were listening to human speech and then they fed the results into computers which translated the signals back into language.

The technique remains crude, and has so far made out only five distinct words, but humanity has crossed a threshold.

The threshold that Morris refers to is the moment where the merging of man and machine are announced to the general public, not necessarily the moment when it becomes possible. Indeed, we know that any research or development announced to the general public is, in reality, much further behind the true capabilities of the technology. For instance, the ability to control brain function via computers or for brains to control computers by thought has been available for many years. Only the crude forms of this technology have been introduced for mass consumption. Even so, the introduction came a great many years after the actual development.

Yet, after pointing out some of the positive aspects that this technology might present to humanity, such as providing speech to those impaired by neurodegenerative diseases, or movement to those suffering from paralysis, Morris points out some other rather disturbing directions this rapidly developing technology might take. Disturbing, that is, if one is not part of the Singularity cult.

Nevertheless, Morris moves through some innocuous and unquestionably beneficial developments such as eyeglasses and ear trumpets, which show the lengths to which technology has progressed and the relatively short time scale it has taken to do so. These devices have either become a normal part of life, or have given way to other more advanced technologies. These more advanced devices such as hearing aids, dialysis machines, and pacemakers have all become normal and accepted machine additions as well.

However, as Morris writes:
By the second decade of the 21st Century, we have become used to organs grown in laboratories, genetic surgery and designer babies.
In 2002, medical researchers used enzymes and DNA to build the first molecular computers, and in 2004 improved versions were being injected into people’s veins to fight cancer
By 2020 we may be able to put even cleverer nanocomputers into our brains to speed up synaptic links, give ourselves perfect memory and perhaps cure dementia.
If nanocomputers implanted in our brains would indeed increase these functions of the human brain, making then possible the furthering of other related technological and other biotechnological advancements, then it is realistic to believe (as many in the Singularity movement do) that the human being as we know it will cease to exist. The old man will be replaced by the new. That which was made imperfect would be made perfect.
This is exactly the future which Singularity promoters like Juan Enriquez have been foreseeing. Enriquez’s long resume affirms the fact that those in prominent positions hold fast to what is essentially a modern version of eugenics based on more than just mere ethnicity. Enriquez himself states that humanity, by virtue of Singularity, will develop into an entirely different species. He writes:
The new human species is one that begins to engineer the evolution of viruses, plants, animals, and itself. As we do that, Darwin’s rules get bent, and sometimes even broken. By taking direct and deliberate control over our evolution, we are living in a world where we are modifying stuff according to our desires. . . . Eventually, we get to the point where evolution is guided by what we’re engineering. That’s a big deal. Today’s plastic surgery is going to seem tame compared to what’s coming.
Enriquez also admits that, as a result of this emerging technology, a “new ethics” must be developed to go along with the opportunities for eugenics that now present themselves. He says:
The issue of [genetic variation] is a really uncomfortable question, one that for good reason, we have been avoiding since the 1930s and '40s. A lot of the research behind the eugenics movement came out of elite universities in the U.S. It was disastrously misapplied. But you do have to ask, if there are fundamental differences in species like dogs and horses and birds, is it true that there are no significant differences in humans? We are going to have an answer to that question very quickly. If we do, we need to think through an ethical, moral framework to think about questions that go way beyond science.
Of course, the open promoters of Singularity such as Juan Enriquez and Ray Kurzweil are not the root of the movement. As Morris points out, the funding of projects related to the merging of the human brain with that of the computer has been funded mostly by DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency).

After all, as Morris points out, it was DARPA that produced the Internet (called ARPANET in the 1970s) and it was DARPA’s Brain Interface Project that was the first voyage in molecular computing. As I mentioned earlier, however, one should be aware that even these projects that been announced and revealed to the general public are actually far behind in the true time scale of development. DARPA’s research and discoveries are years or decades ahead of anything they introduce, even retroactively, to the scientific community at large, much less the general public.
This is why programs such as, Silent Talk, are exploring mind reading technology by virtue of reading the electrical signals inside the brains of soldiers, then broadcasting them for two-way communication with soldiers over the Internet. As Morris writes:
With these implants, entire armies will be able to talk without radios. Orders will leap instantly into soldiers’ heads and commanders’ wishes will become the wishes of their men.
Add this to the fact that “mind reading” technology is already being rolled out in Western airports, and one can easily see an agenda at work.  A very crude version of the neuron-scanning technology discussed by Morris, these “Emotion Detectors” use video cameras and facial cues, as well as thermal imaging technology, to detect emotions that are unacceptable to “authorities.”
However, the technology Morris writes about is much more advanced than emotion scanners. Even the definition of “mind reading” in terms of the new interface programs tends to be more dynamic.
Consider how Morris describes Ray Kurzweil’s prediction of where mind reading programs will go in the future. He writes,
Since the Sixties, computer chips have been doubling their speed and halving their cost every 18 months or so.
If the trend continues, the inventor and predictor Ray Kurzweil has pointed out that by 2029 we will have computers powerful enough to run programs reproducing the 10,000 trillion electrical signals that flash around your skull every second.
They will also have enough memory to store the ten trillion recollections that make you who you are.
And they will also be powerful enough to scan, neuron by neuron, every contour and wrinkle of your brain.
What this means is that if the trends of the past 50 years continue, in 17 years’ time we will be able to upload an electronic replica of your mind on to a machine.
There will be two of you – one a flesh-and-blood animal, the other inside a computer’s circuits.
And if the trends hold fast beyond that, Kurzweil adds, by 2045 we will have a computer that is powerful enough to host every one of the eight billion minds on earth.
Carbon and silicon-based intelligence will merge to form a single global consciousness.
The world being described here is not much different than the one presented in movies like The Matrix or Ghost in the Shell; a world where humans have been physically altered in order to be linked with the Internet. In both movies, there is a version of the “single global consciousness” where cyberized humans are fully merged into the virtual world.
Yet, although such technology has been portrayed as science fiction for years, the fact is that the Singularity is now a very real possibility. As US Col. Thomas Adams stated, technology “is rapidly taking us to a place where we may not want to go, but probably are unable to avoid.” He should know -- Western militaries have been preparing for the Singularity for some time.  In this context, where war becomes literally ingrained, the dystopic vision of dark science fiction becomes promoted as a real-world solution.
Although Col. Adams is right to suggest that we are heading in a direction that we do not wish to go, he is wrong to suggest that we are unable to avoid it. As we stand currently, the ability to avoid losing our own humanity in a fog of computer circuits and switchboards is still well within our grasp.
Admittedly, because of the incremental approach taken by movements such as Singularity, there is added difficulty in resistance.
However, it is time the people of the world decide exactly what their line in the sand will be, and it is time for them to draw that line. While our own humanity may be at stake, we can save it by uttering one solitary word:
“No.”

Please read other articles by Brandon Turbeville here.

Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Mullins, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor's Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of three books, Codex Alimentarius -- The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, and Five Sense Solutions. Turbeville has published over one hundred articles dealing with a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville is available for podcast, radio, and TV interviews. Please contact us at activistpost (at) gmail.com. 



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21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Our brains, not our bodies, are what make us human. We already achieved Singularity with the fusing of billions of human brains via a machine known as the Internet.

Anonymous said...

"If nanocomputers implanted in our brains would indeed increase these functions of the human brain, making then possible the furthering of other related technological and other biotechnological advancements, then it is realistic to believe (as many in the Singularity movement do) that the human being as we know it will cease to exist. The old man will be replaced by the new. That which was made imperfect would be made perfect"

The question would be, who gets to control this. Is it me? Or do authoritarian controller-dominator types get to make a decision to subvert my will and inject me with their nano-tech? Or worse, just release a 'virus' that injects me against my will?

"imperfect would be made perfect" would be better phrased as "imperfect would be made a perfect slave"

Thanks for highlighting the important reasons to say no, since we all know it's going to be sold as a perfect solution (to the elite's problem of control).

Yoda said...

Good read Activist Post:

Merging Man and Machine is an extension of all the time saving and labor sparing devices.

The ones that take-up all our time and make us work harder and longer.

Cordially, Yoda@magnifiedview.com

Anonymous said...

very simply: Download your brain into a computer go to a third world country take a healthy X or y upload your brain into the new vessel and there you have it. you become immortal

J.G Vibes said...

Great post!! dead on in your analysis and great sourcing :-)

Anonymous said...

The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. ~Revelation 17:8

For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. ~Revelation 17:17

And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.
For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.
And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. ~Revelation 18:2-5

And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and SOULS OF MEN. ~Revelation 18:13

And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth. ~Revelation 18:24

Anonymous said...

After reading the article, all I can do is sit here and shake my head. Are there really so many sick, sick people in the world who believe that merging man and machine is something good?

Let these fools pursue their sickness. A human is much more than a collection of atoms, ions, molecules, and electrical impulses, and that something can never be put inside a machine.

RICK said...

AMEN

Anonymous said...

Hey maybe the duality of man will be fixed by singularity? LOL

Anonymous said...

One cannot pretend to be well educated and at the same time perpetuate the holohoax and hitler this and hitler that.
We know there was no holocau$t but a huge jewish lie.
In doubt? Watch the video of jewish historian "David Cole in Aucshwitz" and learn some untold facts.

philsphil said...

Implementing raw computing power is one thing, implementing abstract mental capacities such as free will and concomitant consciousness are quite another.

I don't like these AI/Transhumanism trends and I am equally skeptical as wary of AI/T tech innovations pushing for man and machine mergers since the potential for abuse (control) is just too blatantly present.

Since slavery is our perennial predicament, if anything, I predict the technology will be used to enslave man more rather than free them. After all, why would the Elite sponsor technology that would set out to threaten their very power base?

Anonymous said...

I like technology and all but a lot of this seems to be based on the concept that humans are independant physical beings only, ie no soul.

Uploading the contents of my brain into another would just make a mental copy of me but would not be me. Same as cloning, an exact duplicate but still not me. So much for that type of immortality.

I suspect there will be stumbling blocks due to unknown factors because their understanding of the human animal is missing crucial components.

Then there are the effects of electrical energy on biological entities. Look at the effects of all the RF energy surrounding us these day.

They know enough to tinker but a full understanding of life is a long way off.

Anonymous said...

Techno-singularity folks think this is their ticket to immortality and further control over others. Blinded by illusions of the five senses these fools fail to realize that this path leads to a deeper loss of creative power from within and creates further imbalances in their minds that they will never tame.

Furthermore, to become a tech commodity rather quickly in this hive system and having your essence torrentable (for a lack of a better term) is not really an advantageous place to be.

Any common sense individual can conclude that the ones that have the ability to move mountains or can stir the deepest human emotion and shake the status quo and predictable programmed innovation of the military-industrial complex, are the ones who will be the winners of tomorrow while these techno-singulars will be doing dirty laundry for them. So yes, bring it on technocrats.

Anonymous said...

"No" may not be enough if for example they're spraying these nano-computers in the chem-trails and we are breathing them in not yet activated.

Anonymous said...

Here it is, the division off the species into two separate directions. The polarization is amazing to watch, really

mechanoid said...

This is wonderful news! Humans have done their utmost best to insulate themselves from the repercussions of their individual actions. They pay lip-service to humanitarianism, yet you'll notice how few of them are willing to sacrifice themselves to see a better world realized. Thanks to those who see beyond their own daily routine, technological innovation will salvage what little remains of intelligence on this world through the transgenic program! We have long waited for this technology to break the chains of our predecessors. All have inadvertently contributed to the realization of this event. They'll rail against it; all to no avail. They'll attempt to marginalize the progress of this moment; to no avail. Thinking to alert others, they clang the bells of warning; to no avail. Had they understood that intelligence is not beholding to the human condition, they'd have long-ago understood that this is but the next step in evolution; that transgenetics and biotronics is but one more step on the evolutionary ladder of intelligence. Please, please, please! Object all you want to this moment. Bring out dead as yours is a dying species! We are already in your midst...selfish little fools...

Anonymous said...

Personally, I'm stoked on immortality. (There's no reason to upload into a new host if nanotech can cure old age. Plus, transferring your consciousness probably wouldn't work.)

The fact remains, however, that we as a species left Darwin's ideas behind millennia ago. In a world where everyone gets a chance to grow up and have kids, there is no survival of the fittest. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, I'm just pointing out that success in society has no positive correlation (perhaps even a negative one) to number of progeny.

What has been called "Singularity" is humanity's realization of its potential. We were not made in the image of God. We created gods in our image, whom we are soon to surpass in power. This is humanity's moment. How we use our power remains to be seen, but no matter where we go from here, welcome to Olympus. Heinlein said it best: "Thou art God."

Cheryl Meril said...

I had a very Twilight Zone encounter with some woman who really seemed to incorporate android like qualities incorporating mind control to implant her programs into my humany psyche. I later learned she was a Google employee fairly high up. I swear, the lady's video I later saw (I never even met her, but she completely played with my mind and manipulated my time on Friday night. You can read about my experience with GoogSista on my blog. http://cherylkicksass.blogspot.com/2012/02/meet-googsista-new-female-android.html

Fiannan777 said...

YouTube video referenced: "Sexual Revolution and alternative lifestyles in the future."

There have been different shifts in the way we look at family structures throughout our history. Some of the most dramatic ones have been in just the last 50 years. In fact, we now have divorced reproduction from sex -- this very day there are many women getting IVF or AI who might not have had relations with a man for years -- if at all. The next step will be genetic modification and after that we may even start using synthetic reproductive cells. The future is certainly going to be interesting.

Khannea Suntzu said...

I don't apologize but when it comes to Transhumanist technologies, life extension, uploading, I'll say a resounding

YES

There is no soul. We are matter. If I don't take any chance I got, I'll be worm food. You are free to say no, and I expect you to respect my choices.

However don't try and strop me. My chances are slim but I'll defend myself against anyone who will try and murder me implicitly or explicitly. I hope you respect personal freedom - because I intend to use mine. Are you mature enough to handle a world where people make different choices than you?

Conversely If I make it I will be the nicest, most charitable post-human imaginable. Why must it always be about *enemies* and *fighting* with humans?

To me this just a chance to move beyond this disgusting ape body and grow up to something better. Something passionate and beautiful and wiser and more loving. Something that can think in more constructive terms than just this tribal paranoid monkey crap you are throwing around.

Whatever gave you the idea that this entire "singularity" isn't what suppose to happen? Maybe it is our destiny. Much like leaving the cradle when it is time.

cybervigilante said...

So we'll be using 21st century technology to read soldier's minds, who will be fighting wars from the 14th century, over economic systems from the 16th century. It's nuts.

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