An Indian Civilizational Perspective

Preparing for The Super Convergence: Rise of The Bio-Info-Nano Singularity

matai1.jpgIn 1900, Lord Kelvin famously stated, “There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement.” Five years later, Albert Einstein published his paper on special relativity, which challenged the very simple set of rules laid down by Newtonian mechanics, which had been used to describe force and motion for more than two hundred years.

Asymmetric Opportunities and Risks

Information and communication technologies — of all kinds — double their power measured in terms of price performance, capacity and bandwidth almost every year. As a result, we are witnessing accelerating trends of exponential growth in the Bio-Info-Nano (BIN) revolution unfolding all around us. Just as soon as we have grasped the relevance of some new BIN innovation, we are challenged by yet more extraordinary discoveries and inventions that completely overwhelm our expectations and understanding. The paradigm shifts, taken together, present asymmetric opportunities for unparalleled growth as well as rising asymmetric risks for humankind’s globalised structure, its sustainability and longevity. This phenomenon of constant acceleration in new technologies is referred to as the Bio-Info-Nano Singularity by ATCA.

Super Convergence of The Bio-Info-Nano (BIN) Singularity

The rise of the BIN Singularity suggests that technological progress is reaching such an extremely high, near infinite, value at a point in the near future that it will be impossible to predict what happens next based on extrapolations of past experience. In fact, that experience may be an obstacle to grasping the paradigm shift, which is forcing a multi-generational change. A Singularity is a point at which an otherwise continuous mathematical progression becomes infinite, implying that all continuous extrapolation breaks down beyond that point.

Known and Unknown Unknowns Multiply

Dramatic changes in the rate of world economic growth have occurred in the past because of technological advancement. Based on population growth, the global economy doubled every 250,000 years from the Palaeolithic era until the Neolithic Revolution. This new agricultural economy began to double every 900 years, a significant increase. In the current era, beginning with the Industrial Revolution, the world’s economic output has doubled as an average, every fifteen years, sixty times faster than during the agricultural era. As the rise of the Bio-Info-Nano (BIN) Singularity causes a similar revolution one could expect economic output to double much faster with the requirement for remarkably little human labour or intervention, and this may challenge our assumptions for future global economic growth and stability. It may not be business as usual.

Reverse Engineering The Human Brain

The human capacity for information processing is limited, yet there is an accelerating change in the development and deployment of new technology. This relentless wave upon wave of new information and technology causes an overload on the human mind by eventually flooding it. The resulting acopia — inability to cope — has to be solved by the use of ever more sophisticated information intelligence which reverse engineers the human brain. Extrapolating these capabilities suggests the near-term emergence and visibility of self-improving neural networks, artificial intelligence, quantum algorithms, quantum computing and super-intelligence. This metamorphosis is so much beyond present human capabilities that it becomes impossible to understand it with the pre-conceptions and conditioning of the present mindset, societal make-up and existing technology.

Thinking In New Ways

At some point in the not too distant future, non-biological intelligence will combine the subtlety and pattern recognition strength of human intelligence, with the speed, memory, and knowledge sharing of machine intelligence. This new generation of human-like machines capable of performing mental and physical tasks as capably as humans are likely to cause a rise in wages for extraordinary jobs at which humans can still outperform machines. However, a proliferation of human-like machines is likely to cause a net drop in ordinary wages, as humans compete with robots and soft-bots for jobs. Also, the wealth of the technological singularity may be concentrated in the hands of a few who own the means of mass producing the intelligent robot and soft-bot workforce. The Bio-Info-Nano Singularity is a transcendence to a wholly new regime of mind, society and technology, in which we have to learn to think in a new way in order to survive as a species. Why? Non-biological intelligence will continue to evolve exponentially whereas biological intelligence is effectively limited and fixed in terms of physical boundary conditions unless it begins to explore its connectivity with the infinite.

Intelligence Explosion

I J Good, in 1965, first wrote of an “intelligence explosion”, suggesting that if machines could even slightly surpass human intellect, they could improve their own designs in ways unforeseen by their designers, and thus recursively augment themselves into far greater intelligences. The first such improvements might be small, but as the machines become more intelligent they would self-innovate, which could lead to a cascade of self-improvements and a sudden surge towards super-intelligence. This could now happen via the Bio-Info-Nano Singularity.

Modelling The Future

Vernor Vinge, in 1982, proposed that the creation of smarter-than-human intelligence represented a breakdown in humans’ ability to model their future. The argument was that authors cannot write realistic characters who are smarter than humans. If humans could visualise smarter-than-human intelligence, we would be that smart ourselves. Vinge named this event “the Singularity”. He compared it to the breakdown of the prevalent model of physics when it was used to model the gravitational Singularity beyond the event horizon of a black hole.

Sudden Growth

Ray Kurzweil, in 1999, generalised the Singularity to apply it to the sudden growth of any technology — in a similar way to ATCA’s Bio-Info-Nano Singularity Super Convergence — not just intelligence. He argued that Singularity is inevitably implied by a long-term pattern of accelerating change that generalises Moore’s law to technologies predating the integrated circuit, and includes material technology especially as applied to nanotech, medical technology and other disciplines.

Methuselarity

Aubrey de Grey, in 2000, applied the term “Methuselarity” to the point at which medical technology improves so fast that expected human lifespan increases by more than one year per year.

Quantum Jumps in Economic Growth

Robin Hanson, in 2008, taking the term “Singularity” as opposed to “Paradigm Shift” to refer to sharp increases in the exponent of economic growth, lists the agricultural and industrial revolutions as past singularities. Although, his use of the term Singularity may be disputed. Extrapolating from such past events, Hanson suggests that the next economic Singularity should increase economic growth between 60 and 250 times. He conveniently ignores the resource constraints. Innovations, manifest as a result of the Bio-Info-Nano Singularity’s approach, that allow for the replacement of virtually all human labour and material resources, could supposedly trigger such an event.

Redundancy & Irrelevance

The key question: What is globalised human society going to do with the mass of under-employed or unemployed human beings that are rendered irrelevant or redundant by the fast approaching Super Convergence of the Bio-Info-Nano Singularity?

Conclusion

We continue to strive to understand and to facilitate the ethical research, development and deployment of exponentially advancing Bio-Info-Nano (BIN) technologies for the benefit of the environment and humankind. We seek to work together both within the ATCA 5000 and beyond to apply, to focus and to guide these neo-renaissance Bio-Info-Nano tools to address humanity’s collective grand challenges in the 21st century. Much remains to be done to communicate the critical ethics, risks, effects and potential benefits of Bio-Info-Nano (BIN) technologies to the world at large. Promoting BIN advances through the creation of new businesses, new research directions and new collaborations remains central to our vision.

DK Matai’s Profile

DK Matai is an engineer turned entrepreneur and philanthropist with a keen interest in the well being of global society.

DK founded mi2g in 1995, the global risk specialists, in London, UK, whilst developing simulations for his PhD at Imperial College. DK helped found ATCA – The Asymmetric Threats Contingency Alliance – in 2001, a philanthropic expert initiative to address complex global challenges through Socratic dialogue and joint executive action to build a wisdom based global economy.

ATCA addresses opportunities and threats arising from climate chaos, radical poverty, organised crime, extremism, informatics, nanotechnology, robotics, genetics, artificial intelligence and financial systems.

ATCA has 5,000+ distinguished members from over 100 countries: including several from the House of Lords, House of Commons, EU Parliament, US Congress & Senate, G10’s Senior Government officials and over 1,500 CEOs from financial institutions, scientific corporates, NGOs and 750+ Profs from academic centres of excellence.

Philanthropy – DK co-founded The Philanthropia in 2005 – to include the Trinity Club, Syndicates and Ethical Investment Funds – with 1,000 leading philanthropists, family offices, foundations, private banks, NGOs and specialist advisors to resolve complex global challenges through collaborative & sustained efforts. DK’s other voluntary interests are Sant Bani (Voice of Saints), a culturally diverse fellowship dedicated to the unity of humankind; World Future Council’s Board of Advisors and Donors; The Shirley Foundation; Oxford Internet Institute at University of Oxford; Tomorrow’s Company and The Trinity Forum, where he advises on a pro bono basis.

Honours – DK was selected to present knowledge management to The Queen in 1998 and mi2g won The Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the category of Innovation for Bespoke Security Architecture in 2003. This led to a visit to Buckingham Palace, a celebration hosted at Lloyd’s of London, and by The Lord Mayor at Mansion House, followed by a joint visit to Zurich, Switzerland.

Innovation – DK spends about half of his time innovating with mi2g teams focused on digital banking, digital risk management and bespoke security architecture for major financial institutions, government agencies and multi-nationals in Europe, America and Asia. DK believes passionately that the next generation of private and corporate banking involves the global safe custody of valuable data and intellectual property alongside financial deposits with “guaranteed security”. D2-Banking is holistic and includes the online vaulting of genomic maps and medical records; art, photo, music and video collections; digital messages and personal files including wills, deeds and memoirs; and other intellectual property alongside traditional financial services.

Authority – DK is an authority on countering complex global threats; strategic risk management & visualisation; contingency planning; Information Operations (IO); electronic defence; biometric authentication; secure payment systems and Open Source hardened kernel solutions. He is an invited contributor to defence and global security analysis in the UK, USA, EU, Canada, Switzerland, Japan and India. mi2g intelligence has been cited by several government agencies including NISCC in the UK, FBI in the US and United Nations agencies in New York and Geneva.

Background – DK is a British subject, a Freeman of the City of London, a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists, and a member of the Institute of Directors and The Institution of Engineering and Technology. He has worked formerly in the R&D labs of IBM, Inmos, ST Microelectronics and Helvar Electrosonic on Massive Parallel Processing and supercomputing applications. He enjoys meeting people, sharing thoughts, reading history and learning languages. He is vegetarian, teetotal and an optimist. He has lived in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North America and he now lives with his family in Europe, with London as hub.

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