The merger of biology and technology: Intelligence, Mondays, on CBS

March 5, 2014

It was stunning to see that the 2/17/14 episode of the TV show, Intelligence, actually included the topic of “the singularity.” The TV series, itself, is not an “A,” but this particular episode and the main character, himself, illustrate the accelerating pace of the merger of biology (in this case, the human body) and technology.

I first learned about “transhumanism” and “the singularity” during a seminar led by Jose Cordeiro at a conference of the World Future Society, and I was fascinated!  In brief, as Wikipedia describes,

  • Transhumanism (abbreviated as H+ or h+) is an international cultural and intellectual movement with an eventual goal of fundamentally transforming the human condition by developing and making widely available technologies to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities. Transhumanist thinkers study the potential benefits and dangers of emerging technologies that could overcome fundamental human limitations, as well as study the ethical matters involved in developing and using such technologies. They predict that human beings may eventually be able to transform themselves into beings with such greatly expanded abilities as to merit the label “posthuman“.
  • “The technological singularity, or simply the singularity, is a hypothetical moment in time when artificial intelligence will have progressed to the point of a greater-than-human intelligence, radically changing civilization, and perhaps human nature.  Since the capabilities of such an intelligence may be difficult for a human to comprehend, the technological singularity is often seen as an occurrence (akin to a gravitational singularity) beyond which the future course of human history is unpredictable or even unfathomable.”

Ray Kurzweil (You may have seen a television ad in which he appears and says, “I invented Siri.”) has been a thought leader in this realm, has lectured and written widely about it.  If you would like to know more, you may want to read one of his books.  You could also watch Intelligence.  Today, it is science fiction.  Tomorrow?

The concepts are exhilarating and frightening and will, undoubtedly, be cause for heated (and important) debate as the future unfolds!