2 min readThe singularity: a philosophical analysis

How do we take control of the intelligence explosion? How will we navigate the inevitable singularity of the future?

In this 2010 article for the Journal of Consciousness Studies, David Chalmers says that there is no doubt that the singularity will happen, but that the bigger question is: how does it look like and how will we negotiate it successfully? 

Chalmers says that we need to build appropriate values into machines, if we hope to ensure humanity’s survival, and to proceed with caution before allowing machines access to our own world. He also mentions the reality that building virtual worlds to test the outcome of human-level AI (what he calls as AI+) and artificial super intelligence (what he calls as AI++) has its own challenges. Chalmers also raises various concerns on the capacity of the human being to truly control these technologies in our current biological make up. 

In this work Chalmers also asks another important question: will mind uploading be able to preserve consciousness? Will the uploaded version be the same person? Chalmers says that if done gradually, consciousness in an upload may be preserved, and though he would like to take an optimistic stance on personal identity, Chalmers is forced to accept that there is no guarantee that the digital version of a human being is the same as that of the original. 

Implications for AI 

Chalmers’ work is important because it offers to us a glimpse of the kind of logic we are bound to employ if we simply look at the human being as a mechanical entity, whose personal identity and consciousness can be replicated through physical means. It shows to us the complications we must navigate should developers create a super intelligent AI. 

In this respect, we may say that Chalmers echoes our position – we must not be haphazard in creating artificial general intelligence (AGI) because it can cause massive disruption in our societies. 

Note, however, that Chalmers’ position concerning consciousness and mind uploading comes only from a materialist mindset, and hence, his inevitable conclusion is that there is no other way for the human being to survive the coming intelligence explosion without integrating with machines. 

We maintain that there are human capacities that remain untapped because our sciences do not accept the primacy of consciousness. Human beings, based on our researches, have the capacity to tap into a field that is beyond the physical. When in that field, we gain the capacity to shape physical realities, a feat that is difficult for materialist science to acknowledge, but is nevertheless are already being proven by various scientists [see Lessons From The Global Consciousness ProjectEnlightenment And The Evolution of Matter].

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