Bloody Shovel 3

We will drown and nobody shall save us

Posts tagged as: singularity

Two Singularities

I just finished Mass Effect 3, which I heartily recommend. Hell of a game. The ending was quite lame,  sort of a cross between Contact and Terminator, but still. I imagine it must be hard to come up with an ending for a story of this scale.

For those unaware of it, Mass Effect is a series of games set in space in the 22nd century. One of the most interesting parts of the script is how it portrays artificial intelligence in this sci-fi universe. There´s some robots around (they call them 'mechs'), but of course that's hardware, which is unimportant. What's important is software, and in ME there's two kinds of intelligent software. There's VIs, virtual intelligences, which are human-like interfaces programmed for some task in particular. They speak and respond to language, but they are limited to whatever task they are programmed to do. It might be as complex as running a ship or controlling a factory by itself. But it's still a program.

Then there is AIs, artificial intelligences, which are self-aware, self-modifiable, fully sentient intelligences. What we normally think of as an AI. Those are generally deemed to be dangerous, as they tend to go rogue, but you can still find them now and then. In this fictitious world both VIs and AIs are incredibly advanced, yet people aren't much different from real life humans. 'Organics' are also said to have lots of enhancements, genetic engineering and whatnot; but it really doesn't show in the casting...

The Endgame

Nick Land has finished his long series, Dark Enlightment. It was fascinating to find in an obscure chinese expat site a middle aged Philosophy lecturer writing what effectively was a summary of Moldbug's blog, with a slight touch of cyberpunk.

Of course the most interesting part in this series is that it has an ending. Which means it reaches a conclusion. In the last post before this one, his 4e, he advances how he sees the future unfolding. He basically sees three possibilities:

  • Utter collapse (Postmodernism)
  • Chinese takeover (Modernity 2.0)
  • A miracle (Western Renaissance)

His bet is on a Chinese takeover (and he walks the walk living in Shanghai), because a Western renaissance is really unlikely. Not that it is hard, in fact one can easily come up with a handful of policies that would make any Western polity become earthly paradise. As he puts it:

(1) Replacement of representational democracy by constitutional republicanism (or still more extreme anti-political governmental mechanisms).

(2) Massive downsizing of gover...