Documenting the Coming Singularity

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Calling Dr. Moreau. Calling Dr. Moreau.

Perhaps you've heard about the 85%-sheep, 15%-human chimera (a supposedly grotesque amalgam of different species of the kind featured in the novel and both versions of the film, The Island of Dr. Moreau) created by scientists at the University of Nevada. The news was published a few days ago, so I'm not breaking the story or anything, but I wonder if you've considered the implications of this development. As with so much of the news we receive about technology advances, we often think, Hmm, interesting, and then move on with our lives with nary a thought about the big picture.

As we approach the knee of the curve (the exponentially accelerating curve of technological progress, the knee being the part where the acceleration becomes noticeable to the public), announcements like this one start to make our heads spin and we lose the inclination to keep up. Consider the much slower pace of technological progress of just a few decades ago. Your parents might have picked up the paper and read about a stunning new development perhaps every few years. Now they are coming at us like bullets from a machine gun on full auto.

In this scenario, it helps to take a closer look at the context of these developments. What do they mean? Where are they taking us? Some see a frightening future where mad scientists are creating monsters by the bushel. Yes, there are dangers to be guarded against, but there are also fantastic benefits to be reaped. In the case of the sheep that is 15% human, we're talking about creating an abundant supply of replacement organs for human patients who need them.
We are talking about radical human life-extension that will eventually be available to everyone.

The combination of these three areas of technology, advancing in tandem-genetics, nanotechnology and robotics (GNR)-will bring about opportunities that most people have not even imagined. This development represents only one of uncountable steps forward towards that bright future. Once again I say, stay informed!


Joe E. Holman said...

Hi, Barry. This is "(JH)" from... and Just saw that you commented on my blog.

Nice to meet another ex-minister. Sorry for failing to acknowledge your existence this long after!

Nice blog, and best of luck!