Wednesday, June 16, 2004

There is an interesting article on the 'Singularity' concept now quite fashionable in certain techno-evolutionary circles, or with futurists. Without being dismissive, as many people are, I do think it has important issues, and concerns how human-techno partnership will evolve in society.

Monday, June 07, 2004

This is a synopsis from an article in the New York Times - I thought it worth quoting, especially since it refers to a 'civilization-changing event'. Whatever the trigger may be, I do certainly feel that a 'critical instability point' is getting more probable all the time:

Proceed With Caution

New York Times, June 6, 2004

Bill Joy says he thinks the probability of a "civilization-changing event" is most likely in the double digits, perhaps as high as 50 percent.

He doesn't merely ascribe these odds to terrorism; he suggests a pandemic disease might arise from a sudden accident or as a consequence of cutting-edge research. For disquieting evidence, he points out that a couple of years ago scientists assembled polio in a lab.

He says he believes that businesses doing research in areas deemed risky by their peers should be forced to take out insurance against catastrophes. He also says that science guilds should have the authority to limit access to potentially dangerous ideas.

It is worth noting that not only technology is advancing our evolutionary potential - both in terms of tools and applications - but also our scientific investigations into quantum phenomena. In fact, it seems most probable that the quantum field will be the next shift. Quantum computers are already being used for phenomenal calculations, and, perhaps more importantly for the investigations here, quantum physical behaviour is emerging as the next 'big thing' in research: biophysics.

In these terms I specifically refer to quantum coherence, and the concept of biophotons, and bioholography. For an interesting article on this area, see 'Quantum Coherence and Conscious Experience' by Mae-Wan Ho: also available through the 'Co-Globalize' link on this blog.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

The idea of a 'collective intelligence' does not seem so remote if we consider it in terms of merging technology. This is now an increasing field of inquiry - serious inquiry - from talk of the 'virtual commons' to a shared 'nervous system' of knowledge. If we consider the state of blogging today - a phenomenon that has increased considerably in the last year or so. And each new technology is being taken up at increasingly exponential rates. Blogging, especially with RSS feed syndication (hopefully coming to this site in the not-too-far-distant future) allows information/knowledge to be tracked and to follow threads as if in a 'cosmopedia' (termed borrowed from Levy - see list below). Grassroots networking has also greatly benefited from techno-networking and is now one of the major social forces. See also the concept of 'smartmobs' (Rheingold) that allows a coordination of social action in near-instantaneous time. Although there is disparity in terms of global access/connectivity, with less-developed regions foregoing the industrial revolution and jumping to the Information Age (sometimes jumping straight to wireless infrastructure) I see this gap being narrowed.

Conscious Evolution then is intimately connected to the issue of how we are connected, and this indicates a merging relationship with our technologies of communication. Although what is being said here is not new, the consequences of a globally-linked species are still, I feel, under-realised. It will be immense and will catalyse the emergence of a wholly new global social structure.

Some texts worth considering:

-Bloom, H. (2000) Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century
-Chardin, T. d. (1974) The Future of Man.
-Goonatilake, S. (1999) Merged Evolution: Long-Term Implications of Biotechnology and Information Technology.
-Levy, P. (1999) Collective Intelligence: Mankind's Emerging World in Cyberspace
-Rheingold, H. (2003) Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution.
-Rosnay, J. d. (2000) The Symbiotic Man: A New Understanding of the Organization of Life and a Vision of the Future
-Russell, P. (1995) The Global Brain Awakens: Our Next Evolutionary Leap
-Vinge, V. (1993) 'The Technological Singularity'