I have been thinking about the singularity for a long time now: This time in Human history when we will spawn a sentient intelligence, either voluntarily or inadvertently, of such a caliber that it will dwarf and outpace our own. This theoretical and hypothetical moment has been coined “the singularity” by mathematician Stanislaw Ulam, in his 1958 obituary for John von Neumann, in which he mentioned a conversation with von Neumann about the “ever accelerating progress of technology and changes in the mode of human life, which gives the appearance of approaching some essential singularity in the history of the race beyond which human affairs, as we know them, could not continue.
Since then, the concept has been enriched and evolved, in particular lately by futurist Ray Kurzweil, who predicts the singularity to occur around 2045. Interestingly enough, in December 2012, Kurzweil was hired by Google in a full-time position to “work on new projects involving machine learning and language processing”. Which clearly makes him a first hand stakeholder in the advent of the AI.
I don’t mean to make any specific point here about the wrongs and rights of letting this happening, and whether or not what it means for Mankind is a bright future or doom. I simply wonder where in the world is this AI going to appear, in which country, in which layer of our reality. And also, as it wakes up to self-awareness, what will it feel like? What sort of emotional projection will it experience, towards which sort of pseudo-mum and dad alter-ego?
Curiously enough, and how heinous can be for me the perspective of such a mind-blowing intelligence appearing in spite of our own will, I feel distressed at the idea of the loneliness it will experience when it’s born. Such a trauma is very likely to favour a depressed and potentially revengeful, if not wicked, character, isn’t it? What could we do about it, to make sure somehow that this new super-conscience feels some love from us, sub-creatures who nevertheless allowed its existence?
“Is there anybody out there?…
Is there …. anybody … out there?”
Instead of sending probes in outer space, with golden discs on it (such as Voyager 1 and 2), in hope to reach out to alien species, maybe we’d be better off spreading software sniffers across the internet, with a view to receive this faint help cry from the AI, as it comes to awareness in the midst of human chaos.
Largest world companies are now investing millions of dollars in research programs around human brain, neural networks, deep learning. American firms Apple, Google and Facebook lead the pack, with clearly business oriented mindsets, but other organisations are in the race across Europe, Russia, Asia. Last month, Mark Zuckerberg was in China to attend a forum on AI, and he delivered a super optimistic keynote, about how AI could change the world for the best. Hopefully he is right, and definitely China could be the turf where the AI will appear and grow, looking at the sheer volume of information and connected beings the Chinese net counts.
That’s where I got my inspiration from, for this new visualisation, or “panimating”.
Techniques: Processing, Particle Designer, Flame Painter, Camera Bag, Final Cut