Note: Before we start, everybody and their brother has a different definition of the singularity, but for this article we’ll go with ‘a point in time that change will occur so rapidly humans will use non-biological means to enhance their mental, and progressively their physical, ability.’
“People say, ‘No one would ever cut off their arm and replace it.’ If the technology gets there, which it looks like it will, people will think about it. They might be what you call an ‘early adopter,’ a really early adopter, but people are going to have the option of having superior limbs, superior eyes, at some point so I think a lot of people will do it.” – Rob Spence
The singularity freaks some people out, or should I say technological singularity (which means the same thing) because it is the technology part that is what does it.
Take a few (large) steps backwards to look at the big picture and you realize that it isn’t even about technology; actually it isn’t even really about humans. It’s just evolution.
Once upon a time, the Earth had only had microscopic life; simple singled-celled prokaryotic stuff. It took a few billion years for more complex eukaryotes to come about, and a few hundred million years later we had organisms. (This is a fairly abridged version of history, by the way.)
We had the Cambrian explosion happening over a few million years, plants, fungi, millions of years, yadda, yadda, arthropods, blah, blah, amphibians, hundred million years, amniotes and mammals, another hundred million years, birds.
It was a slow process, and it took a long freaking time. You get the picture.
A few billion years and what do most of these species have in common? “Look at the fossil record,” says Neil deGrasse Tyson, “99% of all species that ever lived are now extinct.”
And how is it that species do not become extinct? Evolve.
Obviously humans are unique among other species—there are no frogs out there blogging. Conscious and voluntary evolution on a species-wide scale though, even for us seems like pushing the envelope. And it is.
That being said, if we want humanity to survive, we have to do it. I’m not saying we should go around lopping our arms off—though I’m certain some people will—but if we don’t, it is only a matter of time before we go extinct.
Failing to continue this evolutionary line that goes back billions of years and by process of elimination has created its strongest species yet—us—is throwing in the towel, choosing to not evolve, and choosing to die.
And that should scare anyone more than nanomedicine.