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Rapture of the Nerds
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In an e-mail to Tobias Buckell, Jed Hartman notes the phrase "Rapture of the Nerds" in reference to The Singularity, the idea that the snowballing progress of technology will at some point in the (possibly near) future result in either the transcedence of superintelligent beings, either AIs or technologically-enhanced humans.

And yeah, there are people who take this shit very seriously.

I like the phrase, though. It's a nice comparison between religious people who somehow think Jesus is going to ride in and carry them off in the sunset, and there will be an eternity of peace and happiness to follow. I think there's something similar going on with the hardcore Singularity folks who believe that it will lead to techno-nirvana. There are, of course, people who believe the Singularity will definitely come about, sooner or later, but that it won't necessarily be good for humans.

Personally, I think we'll continue to get more intelligent, and find ways both biological and technological to boost our memory, knowledge, and critical thinking. The internet has already done more in this area than most people probably realize. About 75% of my waking life, I'm within arm's length of accessing virtually any piece of current human understanding. As a tool, the internet has done more than any other invention to augment and expand human cognition. Plus, there's the porn.

But seriously, I think this trend will continue, and that as with most other technology, even as new products roll off the line, the change will seem gradual. I think eventually we'll develop machines that are as intelligent or moreso than we are. But I think first we'll go through stages of increasingly intelligent agents, from mouse-like to dog-like to monkey-like, so that there won't be some sort of cataclysmic event, or signpost that demarcates the pre and post-Singularity. It'll be smooth.

Plus, it will most likely be a lot weirder and more complicated than we can envision (which is one reason why writing SF is so damned hard in the first place).

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