Interpreting the Singularity

December 17, 2007

Interpreting the Singularity
with Ken Wilber

Moore’s Law has shaped the technological and social change of the past 50 years. Technically, the law states that the number of transistors that can be placed on an integrated circuit doubles every two years, which translates to both an increase in computational power and an overall decrease in cost. Moore’s law is also used to convey the exponential acceleration of technology itself. We can see this acceleration throughout human history, as the amount of time required to advance through major technological shifts is shorter with each new breakthrough. For example, perhaps there were a couple hundred thousand years of foraging, ten thousand years of agriculture, a few thousand years of horticulture, five hundred years of science and industry, and just over 50 years of digital technology, each new stage taking only a fraction of the time that the previous one did.

This acceleration continues on at a staggering rate. In fact, inventor/futurist Ray Kurzweil, who often talks about a point sometime in the next 50 years when our rate of technological progress will approach the infinite—an event he calls “the Singularity.” This “Singularity” represents the event horizon of our own technological evolution, beyond which we simply cannot imagine. Is there actually something to the concept of the Singularity, or is it merely a mythical Rapture for tech geeks? What are the implications of such exponential advancement of technology to human consciousness? As more data becomes free, and therefore more ubiquitous, what role does the Integral vision play within the “global brain” currently under construction? Listen in, as Ken shares his thoughts.

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