Singularity Politics and philosophy

We are approaching a critical time in world/American politics. As I discussed in my last post, the American public see-saws between two very similar political evils: spend lavish amounts of cash on imperialistic wars based on false evidence and shower corporations with lavish tax breaks according to conservative doctrine; or spend lavish amounts of cash on corrupt and laughably ineffective social programs and stimulus according to liberalism.

Look very closely at those two. You will notice BOTH camps spend lavish amounts of money. Conservatives evoke my ire due to their constant assurance that their philosophy demands fiscal responsibility, when they quite obviously spend like drunken sailors on their own special interests. The democrats mean well, they just lack the intelligence and political gaul to turn their idealism into real action (see health care reform).

The American people, and I would argue global citizens, desperately need an alternative to an aging, and rather useless political argument that has shaped our world view for far too long. So much of politics revolves around the use of public money and the role of Government in the every day lives of citizens. It is my observation that government (and I would also argue corporations just to  balance the rhetoric) functions best when striving toward some great common goal. Something the general populace can support with almost unanimous agreement. The closest thing that comes to mind is the moon landing.

Now I won’t glorify the space program in any way. Nasa has experienced its own political cannibalization in the face of drying up public funds. The important thing is to look back upon the night of the moon landing and think nostalgically. Very few people would argue that the Apollo mission was a complete waste of tax payer dollars, and the tech that has grown from those missions has greatly benefited mankind in so many ways.

In order to avoid simple nostalgia and idealistic rambling of better times, I will jump to the point. Government in its modern paradigm obsesses over maintenance of the status quo. Whether conservative politics demands non-interference with corporate  operations, or liberals provide funds for grants or economic welfare, both philosophies aim to maintain an equilibrium.  Republicans trust the magic of the market, neglecting the sometimes chaotic nature of their mistress, while liberals regulate to the point of stagnation. Conservativism=hard progress with terrifying  risk, liberalism=safety at the expense of progress.

We desperately need a goal. We must stop this incessant navel gazing that obsesses over the proper actions of government and corporations. The simple truth of the matter is that we need both the fast progress of conservative ideals, and the relative regulation and social welfare of the liberal agenda. What we lack is a central theme to tie these uniquely tailored, though hopelessly flawed extreme positions to a real, clearly defined point of focus.

That point should be the technological and human singularity.

Defining the singularity to the unfamiliar is no easy task. The chief figure for the modern coneption of the singularity is Ray Kurzweil: a bright, though somewhat psychotic inventor who’s writings obsess with laying down a timeline for the eventual dawn of a mathematically predictable point of time in which human intelligence will be rendered obsolete by the capabilities of super advanced machines. I do not adhere completely to Kurzweil’s conception of the singularity. It is a concept mired more in mysticism and religious thought rather than scientific process. Yet Kurzweil’s primary contribution to the culture of the singularity was outlined quite well by Wired magazine(http://www.wired.com/medtech/drugs/magazine/16-04/ff_kurzweil). Kurzweil believes that once we construct the rapidly accelerating artificial intelligence, we will likely become part of it.

This conveniently erases the fear and loathing associated with the common science fiction conception of the singularity as a final extinction for man, or a mere restless obsoletion. Kurzweil constructs an image of the singularity that should comfort and inspire. In the world of the singularity, the human mind stretches beyond the confines of the flesh, as the brain can easily be replicated by artificial intelligence exponentially greater than what the brain itself can produce.

To put it simply, the singularity is the ultimate goal of politics: the final outcome world governments strive for. It is a point of progress that eliminates the need for progress itself. Hunger and poverty could eventually become concepts alien to humanity, as we eliminate the inherit need to consume food for biological reasons. Health reform, education, environmental issues, economics, all of these key areas affected by the liberal/conservative divide would face a radical reformation brought on not by political intervention or policy, but a transformation of the human itself. Singularitans would never face the divisions that savage the american and world psyche.

The path to the singularity has been outlined by countless scientific thinkers. Now it is time for politics to invest in this fantastic premise. The exciting thing is that technology brings this science fiction idea closer to reality every day.

Marx and Engels based the history of humanity in class struggle. Capitalists based the future upon innovations brought about by market forces. The singularity, in whatever form it may ultimately take, is the destiny of humanity, combining the ideal world vision of Marx with the raw and uncontrollable innovation of a well functioning capitalist system. Our history is the slow yet steady march toward its advent. Its dawn will be based upon the resolution of liberal and conservative politics, cooperating in hopes of creating a new Renaissance for mankind: a rebirth beyond small minded divisions in policy.

We must seek a new Genesis. The evils that plague our world reside not in extreme politics, and no political philosophy can construct a world free from conflict and struggle. Evil and chaos rest within the decay of our current form. To escape them we must take another.

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One Response to “Singularity Politics and philosophy”

  1. Poignant and thought-provoking article — thx!

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