By Guest Author Frank H. Levinson
In the previous three segments of this series, we looked at what a singularity is and as part of evidence for the possibility of a technology singularity, we studied the frequency and impact of five scientific revolutions. Let us now catalog the modern intersubjective realities (ISRs) that have co-evolved with the ever faster scientific revolutions and push to see how these have historically interacted and why things may be breaking down today.
Let’s now list key social structures that humans have evolved over time. Remember that all of these are really just different ISRs; thus, they are things we agree to treat as real. In other words, their reality derives only from our agreement. For instance, a $20 bill has very little intrinsic value, it is our nearly world-wide ISR agreement that gives it value.
We see that by the end of the Renaissance, we had defined nearly all modern large scale ISRs.
The evolution of each one of these ISRs took millennia/centuries to reach their existing refinement. That is because testing social constructs, i.e., testing shared intersubjective realities – requires multiple human lifetimes to encounter all the problems that flawed implementation of any of these can have. Succession, ethics, human social growth, and environmental stability cannot be tested in seconds, hours or even a single year. These social and biological based systems cannot evolve as fast as scientific or engineering ideas because they require normal human lifetimes for a full cycle. The only exception may be corporations.
In contrast, the technologies evolving and driving us towards the singularity can be tested on a much faster time scale. So, they evolve faster and with greater precision. What happens when we try to evolve biological and ISR evolution to keep up with technology like computers, networks, and AI?
I believe we have dramatic and global social fractures because the human ISRs cannot keep pace with technology that can evolve new generations perhaps 1 billion times faster?
As a reminder, here is what a singularity looks like graphically –
Just 10 points in from the end, we are only slightly larger in value than all of the previous 40 points, but in the next 10 points we literally go to infinity! Again, if someone “buys” their way out 2-3 dots in the above graph they might become 2-5x more effective than others around them … not 10-20% but 200 – 500%. Such leverage was not possible in the past but today it certainly is present, tempting, and happening. And it is this ability to buy into a future that allows some people to be drastically better off than others that is destabilizing.
In the concluding installment of this essay, we will look at how each of us experience this personally and how our most important social structures are under duress today in ways that never happened in the past.
This segment is a part in the series : Man and Superman