Singularity v. Extinction

Will we reach the singularity before we commit species wide suicide and take the  rest of life  on Earth with us, or not?  This was  a question that  took up  about a minute of conversation tonight at the  poetry reading, but I think it’s a real good question.

Of course, there are  many factors to consider.  First, what are  we defining as The Singularity, because I’ve  definitely heard  different definitions, but the way I’m defining it here is that point in  the future when we can just upload our knowledge, our memories, our  sense of self, into the computer where it  will merge and mingle (actually, I think the mingling version might be  a lot less  scary  than  a full  on merger) into a single, great, absolutely immortal species  mind.  Disembodied, sure, and some would say that makes it not worth it, but it is  immortality, along with a kind of omni-cognizance, so I  think it would be pretty cool.

Now, how close to that possibility is one question, and how close are we to extinction is the other.  I’m kind of an optimist on the second question.   There are some really bright people who are working on alternative energy sources, and how to restore the right  balance of  carbon  and hydrogen, and all sorts of cool, green stuff, bullet  trains and electric  cars, and so much, so  much more.  All it takes is a  sharp, sudden shift in the public consciousness and we’ll get that as soon as a developed and populated land mass suddenly  ceases  to exist.  So, yeah, I think humanity will take  it right to the  brink, because we’re stupid, but will pull  back  from the  brink, because we’re not  actually suicidal.
How far away is the  singularity?  Hell, I don’t know, but things do appear to be developing at a swift pace, both in  brain biology  and cybernetics, and each development feeds on the last in  a wonderful, cascading  effect, so I’m guessing 20 or 30 years, based on nothing.


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