The merging of technology and humans will create some major interpersonal disruptions that will effect all levels of society. This article by Barton Kunstler (see link) explores the world where technologically enhanced people interact with unenhanced individuals or “norms” in a workplace setting.
There is no doubt this will be profoundly influential AND disruptive to business, education, and society in general. Since we all will not immediately get the enhancements (AKA not being a billionaire or just choosing to pass), there will be a have and have not environment that will emerge first.
It is hard to imagine the effects on society when enhanced people with extraordinary physical abilities as well as super intelligence start impacting competitive corporations, universities, the military and world governments. Is this armchair futuristic dreaming? It is happening now. See the blog-feeds on the right column for recent headlines related to the Singularity. The military is already behind leading edge technology projects (for example check out the US military’s DARPA http://www.darpa.mil/about.html ).
The RetirementSingularity.com blog will focus on the personal financial, investment and retirement planning implications. However, I will also post info on background and updates on The Singularity. For instance, the section at the end of the article by Kunstler is a nice, brief overview dealing with “What is the Singularity?”
A QUICK GUIDE TO THE SINGULARITY
By Patrick Tucker
Editor of The Futurist Magazine
THE SINGULARITY–WHAT IS IT?
The Singularity “is a future period during which the pace of technological change will be so fast and far-reaching that human existence on this planet will be irreversibly altered. People will combine our brain power–the knowledge, skills, and personality quirks that make us human–with our computer power in order to think, reason, communicate, and create in ways we can Scarcely even contemplate today,” according to Ray Kurzweil, writing in the March-April 2006 issue of THE FUTURIST. In his various novels, Hugo Award winning science-fiction writer Vernor Vinge has portrayed the Singularity as a sudden explosion in human intelligence.
THE TECHNOLOGIES BEHIND THE SINGULARITY
1. GENETICS. Our ability to manipulate the human genome will allow us to turn the expression of certain genetic traits on or off, resulting in longer life spans and fewer instances of congenital illness, according to biotech researches such as Gregory Stock and Ian Wilmut. Some future watchers believe we may use genetic science to improve our brains and greatly enhance our physical performance as well. Aubrey de Grey, author of Ending Aging (St. Martin’s 2007), has stated that genetic science could expand the human life span well beyond 150 years.
2. NANOTECHNOLOGY. This refers to the manipulation of objects less than one-billionth of a meter in size, literally designing medicines and other products on the molecular level. Nanotechnology is confined mostly to materials science, but some doctors are finding medical applications. A research team from the University of Texas was able to send gold nanoparticles directly into tumors (in mice) and then irradiate the particles, releasing heat. This improved the mice’s response to radiation therapy. Robert Freitas, author of the Nanomedicine series, has stated that future nano-robotic therapies could make us stronger, smarter, and healthier than we are today by several orders of magnitude.
3. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE. Computer intelligence will surpass all biological (regular human) intelligence by the year 2030, according to Kurzweil. Long before then, people will incorporate computers into their biological functioning and thinking through cybernetic implants and nanodevices.