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Rene Daalder
Los Angeles, US
Immortal since Jan 18, 2007
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    Polytopia
    The human species is rapidly and indisputably moving towards the technological singularity. The cadence of the flow of information and innovation in...

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    Living towards the Singularity
    Project: Polytopia
    As the intellectual contours of Polytopian existence are coming into focus in Wildcat’s recent writings, the condition he describes still leaves us without the more conducive sense of a “mind habitat” expressed in this pre-polytopian post. When SpaceCollective received an invitation to join the upcoming Singularity Summit in San Jose it made me think that several posts by Wildcat and other contributions to the site are exploring the existential implications of the same trajectory that will ultimately lead to the Singularity, albeit in a more engaging and creative way. Sort of like we represent the Humanities in conjunction with the Singularity's Science & Technology focus. I must admit that I was impressed with the recent announcement by Intel’s chief technology officer’s pledge to bring the Singularity within reach 4 decades from now.


    Image: CERN's Large Hadron Collider

    I'm not suggesting that Polytopia should be looking for similar validation (to my knowledge none of our contributors are engineers), but it wouldn’t hurt if our own discourse would somehow become more actionable, even though I'm still not quite sure how that can be accomplished. Obviously, continuing to think about the subject and articulating a more complete philosophical vision remains extremely valid, especially if it becomes a more collective exercise. But we should simultaneously capitalize on the creative bend of the SpaceCollective community and revive earlier expressions of interest in creating models for a new society. Coining the name Polytopia was a great start, and, as Alan Smith has proven with his post about Nationhood giving a visual identity to such an initiative has a lot of potential to effectively brand the proposal for a newly established Society of Mind and turn it into more of a perceptual reality. Writing manifestos, bylaws, etc. can be an exciting thing to do as well, and Spaceweaver's commitment to develop the concept of Polyethics will give the project critically important added substance. Practical contributions like notthisbody's post Towards a Polytopa are of course very welcome as well.

    Another potent aspect of the Polytopian position is that its principles can be considered revolutionary and could well be framed in terms of a movement. If people know it or not, they are already partaking in a revolution which may be largely invisible but is nevertheless a pivotal world-transforming event. However, I feel that our own acute sense of already being part of this all-encompassing transformation is one of the impediments that has prevented us as like-minded thinkers and creators to coordinate our efforts and give projects like Polytopia the critical mass needed to manifest in the outside world. Just think about it, the Singularity movement came about simply because sci-fi writer/academician Vernor Vinge established the initial concept, which was then embraced by the more practical thinker/inventor Ray Kurzweil and now Intel’s technology director. As a result a broadly recognized idea has taken root in the world built around little more than a catchy word, a succinct definition (the moment when machine intelligence surpasses human intelligence) and Intel's co-founder Gordon E. Moore’s formulation of his now famous law.


    Illustration by Bryan Christie

    In light of the tremendous power of thought and creativity which has emerged on this site in a mere 8 months, I find it hard to believe that SpaceCollective wouldn’t be able to similarly push the envelope to the next level. I dare say that we are equally committed to pursue our own viable ideas, and on a creative level represent as versatile a force as anyone currently involved with the Singularity. Besides, Intel’s commitment as well as Moore’s law are working as much on our behalf as that of the Singularitarians. In fact, we’re in this together with them – as long as we continue to assert our own agenda and fulfill at least some of its potential to engage in the larger scheme of things. To be continued.

    Fri, Sep 5, 2008  Permanent link

    Sent to project: Polytopia
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    Wildcat     Tue, Sep 9, 2008  Permanent link
    First of all congrats for being invited to the singularity summit. This proves that the work done here on SC is more important than it may appear to a casual glance.
    At this point I think that the main objective should be to present the fact that the Polytopia offers an open-ended narrative. Unlike historians, social scientists or future historians for that matter, Polytopians do not know precisely where the/ their story leads.
    A polytopian narrative in this context need be explained, for the plot and structure of the narrative/s are emerging with the Polytopian/s existence and thus do not have a written script to which they can adhere.
    That in essence is the foundation of a Polytopian narrative, it is fresh and free to become, whatsoever the Polytopian desires/needs it to be.
    In a fashion it will be true to state that a Polytopian narrative is as much an emotional Endeavour of freedom of mind as it is a desire to better oneself and humanity.
    A Polytopian narrative can alleviate both our aesthetic needs and our ontological strivings, simultaneously allowing our empathic capabilities to engage.
    Given our mirroring neurological capabilities, and taking into consideration the extension of our brain/minds via tech devices into the grid, the emergent Polytopia by implied necessity is and will increasingly become an empathic phenomenon. That is where I see the convergence of the concepts Singularity and Polytopia.

    A Polytopia to my eyes is an aesthetic/humane response to the rational of a tech singularity.
    This is only an initial response, more thought and mind resources need be invested to respond to this post.

    Meanwhile this came out: (and it somehow made me laugh, not sure why)







    carel     Mon, Oct 6, 2008  Permanent link
    Kevin Kelly recently gave a good argument against the likelihood of the Singularity event here
    The argument boils down to: A super intelligent AI can think all it wants, but it will need something to chew on. Building and feeding the database for this super intelligent AI will always remain the limiting factor as each exploration and discovery generates ever more questions that need further exploring in the physical world.



















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