What is Reality?

Paris (or is it?), [Photo: R. Wottrich]

“Animus in consulendo liber,” Free spirit to decide, Cato the Elder (234-149 BC), Motto of NATO

What is reality? Is the photo above a photo? The elephant is a plastic 3D printed figure. The gladiator is video streaming via Netflix. The backdrop is projected. The manikins are positioned to emulate a crowd. Or is it a smart phone image processed by an Intel chip?

The Technological Singularity is usually espoused as the supposed triumph of artificial intelligence (AI) over humans. In this definition AI ‘evolves’ via repetitive self-improvement. AI becomes capable of replicating ever superior iterations of ‘itself’ and coordinating that ability with other machines and robots. But is the Technological Singularity that point in time when humans perceive and believe that they can no longer control AI ‘evolution’ and indeed are subservient to AI?

The Cloud = humans aggregating demand = point-to-point distribution = the surrender of individual autonomy to a collective technology matrix = equals less human control. Ergo the Technological Singularity and our fear thereof.

Technology is accelerating vis-à-vis Moore’s Law headlong directly at humanity racing from the opposite direction to remove risk from everyday life. The point of impact is the Singularity.

As technology advances rapidly the entire concept of data centers will change, as Cloud systems leap into satellite networks, electricity transmitted by air, use of light instead of electricity in computers, and into quantum bio-computing systems emulating the human brain. The iterations are unknown unknowns. To think we can control this evolution is a particular conceit of humans.

Benjamin Franklin wrote the following singular observation for the Pennsylvania Assembly in its Reply to the Governor (November 11, 1755), “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”