Micah Redding — faith in humanity's future

The Singularity: Why the Future is Closer Than You Think

This past Saturday, Ryan Hogan, John Yates and I delivered a presentation and panel discussion on the future of accelerating change at Nashville Podcamp. The session went well, and we had a lot of great questions and discussion from the audience. We mainly used our slides as a jumping-off point for discussion, but they should give you a bit of the flavor of that discussion.

If you can’t view the presentation below, click here to go directly to a fullscreen view.

We start by introducing the concept of Moore’s Law, and how that results in a Singularity sometime in our future. Then we talk about how the effects of accelerating technology gradually and catastrophically break into other parts of society, as evidenced by upheavals in the entertainment industry, book publishing, and governments.

Most significantly for individuals, our next five years are always harder to predict than the last five years were. This means that we personally are entering into a state of perpetual future shock.

We can see this in society as “movements” are being replaced by flash-mobs, spontaneous events which have no future and no past. Occupy Wall Street is perhaps the epitome of our times - a movement that is really just an ongoing flash mob.

Then we look at how humanity has always been integrated with our technology - from campfires to stone tools to cellphones - and how that integration is only increasing. We are all cyborgs now.



I was wondering about your take on singularity. Personally, it deeply sickens me, while managing to give me a huge chill down my spine. I've read the technocratic optimism of Lévy with disgust, without even being capable of understanding how could someone be so positive about something that is, at large, the end of the human species.

Brad Blackman:

I wear hearing aids. I can function all right without them, but nowhere near as well. Some people have cochlear implants where the core of the ear, the cochlea, has been removed and replaced with a cybernetic ear. I never did it since the technology wasn't there yet, but it's getting closer.