About this blog...

LewyLand's raison d'ĂȘtre (or, unpacking the tag line through autobiography):

"The ramblings..." - I have an (as yet) undiagnosable, chronic, random tiredness problem with symptoms akin to ADD usually involved too (more details see my 'Illness CV'). Because of this I am usually unable to do tasks that require active concentration (like reading large blocks of text) or involve a high level of abstraction (like mathematics). Hence I can not construct ruggedly cogent arguments and analyses of technical subjects based on thorough research. However, I find that typing thoughts straight from my head is often easier than reading the equivalent volume of text, especially on a topic that is currently of deep interest.

"sci/tech contemplations" - With the 90s being my most formative years, I feel I have grown up with the concept of continuous (technological) progress embedded in my psyche. Computers really helped me shine as I reach secondary school education, so Moore's Law is something I *knew* well before I had a name for it. Excelling at science, particularity physics, I mistakenly undertook a degree in the subject: I was looking for the deepest kind of understanding (and to make a difference to the future through academia), but disillusion crept in as I struggled with progressively drier derivations, that failed to fulfil my A-level intrigue built up by pop-science books. Contemporary technology may all fall out of subtle revelations in the field of physics, and will continue to from a myopic viewpoint, but it is otherwise empty, too abstract to yield broad enlightenment.

"...Singularitarian" - In my first undergraduate year, but unrelated to my degree, I hit upon the book "The Physics of Immortality". It took my existing scientific understanding of reality and ran with it out to the end of the universe, towards a logically inevitable afterlife and the existence of everything imaginable in an Omega Point Singularity. Like David Deutsch, I grabbed hold of F.J.Tipler's core concept with both hands, while taking his connections to Christianity with more than a pinch of salt.

Concurrent with starting the degree that I should have done in the first place, Cybernetics, I discovered Wolfram's "A New Kind of Science". Then more significantly still, Ray Kurzweil's flavour of singularity: the technological kind. Again, my implicit beliefs were crystallised. Suddenly the future had a time scale, one that put infinite promise within my probable life span. It turns out that ultimate meaning is something that is being built as you read this; it is unstoppably escalating complexity itself; evolution and diversification of genes, memes and temes (in most recent terminology).

'The Singularity' (as coined by Vernor Vinge) can in no way be dismissed as a heap of wishful thinking riding on an obscure proof (as with the Tiplerian kind, above); everything points towards this phenomena, more blatant than the a hand of a God. From the rate of brain size increase in hominids, to world GDP, to the dozen siblings of Moore's Law (applying to various types of technology), all inscribe a part of the same exponential curve. Looking closer, progress actually exceeds exponential trends, so steep it is near asymptotic: a burning bright wall beyond which it is actually impossible to predict what will happen, however much closer that time comes.

Some expect the creation of a 'seed AI' that is able to (single handedly) improve itself, bootstrapping an explosion of increased intelligence and capability. Others expect a more gradual shift without any singular event. What this "rupture in the fabric of human history" will bring is even more debatable. Being an optimistic liberal, who had a largely secular upbringing, I fully expect it to deliver utopia of some description. Reconciling the personal implications of the last decade of 'accelerating progress' is not something most people factor into their conceptions of 'self' and 'happiness', let alone speculating on the overwhelming number of paradigm shifts they look likely to encounter in the future.

The Singularity is such an important concept that I think it is worth (re)evaluating everything using the framework of it's core ideas.