Acceleration: The Forces Driving Human Progress

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Kurzweil, I do not think we should willingly give up our humanness in return for the possibility of attaining unlimited non-biological intelligence. That strikes me as a very bad bargain, a downgrade rather than an upgrade, and in this book I will explain why I passionately believe we should not go down that road watch my related videos on The Singularity. Right now, in , computers simply do not have the power, the chips are still too big, networks still do not have the speed, and the electricity grid by and large cannot support machines that would need this much power. We need to be ready for the Singularity : open yet critical, scientific yet humanistic, adventurous and curious yet armed with precaution, entrepreneurial yet collectively-minded.

Science fiction is becoming science fact Very soon, machines will be able to do things that once were the sole domain of human workers—blue collar and white collar alike —such as understanding language, complex image recognition, or using our body in highly flexible and adaptive ways. By then, we will no doubt be utterly dependent on machines in every aspect of our lives.

3. Globalization and the Pace of Change - Competition Policy Review Panel

We will also likely see a rapid merging of man and machine via new types of interfaces such as augmented reality, virtual reality and holograms, implants, brain-computer interfaces and body parts engineered with nanotechnology and synthetic biology. If and when things such as nanobots in our bloodstream or communications implants in our brains become possible, who will decide what is human?

If as I like to say technology does not and probably should not have ethics , what will happen with our norms, social contracts, values, and morals when machines run everything for us? For the foreseeable future, machine intelligence will not include emotional intelligence or ethical concerns, that much is certain, because machines are not beings — they are duplicators.

Yet eventually, machines will be able to read, analyze and possibly understand our value systems, social contracts, ethics and beliefs—but they will never be able to EXIST in, or BE a part of the world as we are what German philosophers call Dasein. Nevertheless, will we live in a world where data and algorithms triumph over what I call androrithms, i. Again, doubling from 4 to add to 16 to 32 a whole lot different doubling from 0. This is one of our toughest challenges today: We must imagine an exponentially different tomorrow, and we must become stewards of a future whose complexity may well go far beyond current human understanding.

In a way, we must become exponentially imaginative. Gradually, then suddenly. Increasingly, we will see the humble beginnings of a huge opportunity or threat.

What are the economic, social and political implications of this relentless disruption?

And then, all of a sudden, it is either gone and forgotten or it is here, now, and much bigger than imagined. Think of solar energy, digital currencies and the blockchain, or autonomous vehicles: All took a long time to play out, but all of a sudden, they are here and they are roaring.


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History tells us that those who adapt too slowly or fail to foresee the pivot points will suffer the consequences. Thus, we need another strategy for defining and retaining what makes us human in this quickly digitizing world. Rather, traditional profit-and-growth-driven open markets will only escalate the challenges of humanity versus technology because these very same technologies are likely to generate opportunities worth trillions of dollars per year.

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Replacing human qualities, interactions or idiosyncrasies with technology is simply too much of a business opportunity to question. Irresistible new frontiers, indeed. In the near future, we are certain to see some very tough battles between opposing world-views and paradigms with gigantic economic interests facing off against each other. For example, now that oil and fossil fuel is declining as the driving force of politics and military concerns, the US and China are at the forefront of an accelerating technological arms race.

The new wars will be digital and the battle is being waged for leadership in exponential game changers such as AI, human genome modification, the IoT, cyber security, and digital warfare. Europe including and especially Switzerland, where I live is somewhat stuck in the middle, more concerned with what many would see as lofty issues such as human rights, happiness, balance, ethics, sustainable and collective well-being.

There are already global tribes of opinion leaders, serial entrepreneurs, scientists, venture capitalists, and assorted tech gurus and yes, futurists as well busy promoting a voluntary departure from humanism altogether. Interest in this notion of transhumanism is on the rise, and to me it is one of the most troubling developments I have observed in my 15 years of being a futurist. In my view, it is a rather delusional idea to try and achieve human happiness by seeking to transcend humanity altogether through technological means. For context, here are two contrasting positions on transhumanism, as laid out by Transhumanism advocate and US Presidential Candidate Zoltan Istvan and the philosopher Jesse I.

Bailey :.

The bold code of the transhumanist will rise. It is the future. We are the future, like it or not. And it needs to [be] molded, guided, and handled correctly by the strength and wisdom of transhumanist scientists with their nations and resources standing behind them, facilitating them. It needs to be supported in a way that we can make a successful transition into it, and not sacrifice ourselves—either by its overwhelming power or by a fear of harnessing that power. You need to put your resources into the technology.

Into our education system.

Gerd Leonhard

Into our universities, industries, and ideas. Into the strongest of our society. Into the brightest of our society. Into the best of our society. So that we can attain the future. I argue that by threatening to obscure death as a foundational possibility for dasein [human existence], transhumanism poses the danger of hiding the need to develop a free and authentic relation to technology, Truth, and ultimately to dasein itself.

TOKYO (1 a.m.)

Transhumanists often make one of two claims: Either the body we inhabit now will be able to live for hundreds of years or our consciousness will be downloadable into multiple bodies. The accelerating pace of extinctions could tip Earth into the first mass extinction since non-avian dinosaurs died out 66 million years ago. Industrial farming and fishing were identified by the report as major drivers of the crisis, with climate change caused by burning the coal, oil and gas produced by the fossil fuel industry exacerbating the losses.

The page executive summary was approved by representatives of nations, and details how our growing footprint and appetites have compromised the natural renewal of resources that sustain civilization, starting with fresh water, breathable air, and productive soil.

3. Globalization and the Pace of Change

Giraffes and zebras congregate under the shade of a tree in the afternoon in Mikumi National Park, Tanzania, last year. AP Vicious cycle. An October report from the U. Climate change and biodiversity loss, it turns out, feed off each other in a vicious cycle. Deforestation and industrial agriculture are major drivers of species and ecosystem decline, but also account for at least a quarter of man-made greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change, in turn, is pushing thousands of animals and plants out of their comfort zones, and intensifies the kind of heat waves and droughts that recently fuelled unprecedented fires in Australia, Indonesia, Russia, Portugal, California and Greece.

For the first time, the U. By a long shot, the first two are diminished or degraded habitat, and hunting for food or trade, often illicit, in body parts. All but seven percent of major marine fish stocks are in decline or exploited to the limit of sustainability, despite efforts by regional management organizations to fish sustainably. Climate change is third on the list, but is likely to move up as the burning of fossil fuels makes it too hot, wet or dry for some species to survive.


  1. Read Intro – Technology vs Humanity: the coming clash of man and machine.
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Technology Feels Like It’s Accelerating — Because It Actually Is

Sign in. Forgot your password? Get help. Password recovery. Singularity Hub. Driverless and Electric, or Car-Free? This article will explore Kurzweil's explanation of this driving force, which he dubbed the law of accelerating returns, and the surprising implications of technology's acceleration. That's because over the last five decades the number of transistors—or the tiny electrical components that perform basic operations—on a single chip have been doubling regularly.

So, what's going on? Kurzweil's big idea is that each new generation of technology stands on the shoulders of its predecessors—in this way, improvements in technology enable the next generation of even better technology.


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  • Today, they are designed on computer workstations with the computers themselves working out many details of the next generation's design, and are then produced in fully automated factories with only limited human intervention. They grow until they've exhausted their potential, at which point a new paradigm replaces the old one. Because the future is approaching much faster than we realize, it's critical to think exponentially about where we're headed and how we'll get there.


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