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WE Will be the Artilects - Cultural Singularity by 2020, driven by Augmented Reality

Posted: Tue, February 12, 2013 | By: Tim Gross (Setai)

in order to build anything you must break down what was there before- but most transhumanists and futurists tend to focus their attention on all the possible wonders of the Singularity- they don’t often consider how we get there from here- and that as we approach the view will change as we change-

with the global proliferation of the Internet by mobile devices- it is like emerging from a dense forest overlooking a wide valley- the Shining City of the Singularity now directly in view- we can see a kind of Cybernetic Dreamtime unfolding-

the human being is already a cyberorganism consisting of Ape connected to Cloud via smartphone- your cognitive enhancement is in your hand! your mobile gives you all the knowledge of Google/Wikipedia/Wolfram Alpha - all you need is a better interface- a way to make this knowledge directly stream into your awareness in as many ways as possible - the bandwidth between flesh and mobile is the bottleneck that all the research is trying to widen- driven by the pressure of billions-

this situation reveals that instead of the traditional view of a Singularity driven by GNR- Genetics/Nanotechnology/Robotics and AI in the 2040s- there will be a cultural singularity in the 20s and 30s driven by the blossoming of Augmented Reality through programmable surfaces/ personal fabrication/ and Virtual Reality combined with noninvasive Brain Computer Interfaces- all consumer technologies driven by the pressure to improve the Connected Society- this Cybernetic Dreamtime will involve fully immersive virtual realities where our minds are directly connected to all the databases and computational power of the planet - and programmable physical reality where most objects and devices materialize and reform according to our will- leading to a cybernetic network for recording/copying/uploading/sharing of memory/memes/dreams/knowledge/experience between minds/emulations of minds/ and natural/fabricated bodies- ideas like biological immortality and AI will then seem naive- we will have minds expanded into God/Genius clouds and be able to wear bodies like clothing-

with full immersion telepresence you will become a cyberswarm of your original body and extended software and hardware- your experiences fully recorded at all times- if and when your body dies you may not even notice - since everything will be archived / reconstructed/ and seamlessly shunted to your other connected software/hardware components- not “uploading”- rather expanding/ multiplying/ diversifying and then contracting- replacing parts of your expanded self - you will be truly immortal- able to add or remove bodies from your cyberswarm toolbox for the rest of Eternity -

the shift into fully connected network will cause us to expand far beyond our current concepts of the body and the self- we will each undergo this decade-long process that mirrors the evolution of single-celled organisms- to symbiotic colonies- to a multicellular superorganism- we are still cells just starting to form symbiotic colonies with devices and software in the Cloud-

we can begin to see that WE will be the Artilects- the dream of AGI is plagued by monotheistic theology and materialist assumptions- to create an Other that is greater than us and can save us- understanding that the Singularity really is when the planet becomes a singular cybernetic organism suggests that there is no need for machines to be conscious- WE can provide the consciousness of the Planetary Mind and the machines will be our new Unconscious-

by the late 2020s our world will be saturated with layers of AR from personal glass devices and ubiquitous smart surfaces- it will be the dawn of the Graphene Age- an optimal nanomaterial capable of near optimal computation- leading to universally programmable matter with graphene aerogels/hydrogels with quantum-dot shells capable of generating the complex chemical and conductance properties of any element- soon the world will be covered in graphene smart surfaces and nearly everything will be made by cheap nanofabrication using graphene dust and carbon nanotubes as their building blocks- materials made from graphene quantum dots are going to provide far more magical revolutions to our lives than anything that self replicating nanobots could ever hope to- eventually leading to ultralight indestructible materials with programmable properties capable of emulating any element in nature and elements that are not possible in the standard model- an Alchemical well-stone capable of rendering into reality any Platonic form- near optimal computing substrates - and doorways to inner and outer space-

And then electromagnetic/ultrasound BCI devices will be released by consumer electronics companies like Sony and Apple- or perhaps pharmaceutical BCI nanodrugs- directly stimulating all the senses and the limbic system- scanning regions of the brain to copy/read it precisely- for each of us this will be a personal dissolution of the Human Condition as we start disappearing into our own private Idahos - over months and years society will become very strange - each of us will see it as our own unfolding Singularity- ANY experience of space and time can be explored- very rapidly optimal technologies will be discovered in design hyperspaces as the physical world becomes programmable and blurs into the new Dreamtime state- as each of us interfaces with this new BCI it will be our Singularity- simply because we will feel the cosmic shift out of space and time and memory into the terrifying freedom of the Dreamtime - at that time the forum chatter will shift to ‘it happened’ -

this is not an alien machine singularity- but a Human Singularity where we ourselves transcend- and human culture and the full spectrum of human dreams will form the memetic seeds of new civilizations -

Hugo de Garis talks about an Artilect War between the new gods and mere humans in the late 21st century- but think about it: before that come the proto-Artilects- the precursors and pretenders- humans that have expanded into cyberswarms- not actual gods but augmented humans who live and play as gods in their own VR realms and MMO spaces- feeding their egos and the Will to Power- doesn’t that seem a more likely situation for conflict and upheaval? Gods would evolve beyond the dominator ego- but Proto-Artilects would only have some power and some wisdom- but often not enough maturity to transcend their base pathologies and desires for domination- Artilects would have the power to quickly and painlessly establish absolute control- but the early pretenders would still need to use terror and violence and faith to dominate- the orgies of creation and destruction and perversion of the Proto-Artilects would be much more spectacular and multifaceted-

Terence McKenna
Terence McKenna

there is a fear that an apocalyptic confrontation will bring a new Dark Age instead of transcendence- but the Internet/Cloud is today almost self- sustaining with thousands of telecommunications satellites in Clarke orbit and solar powered cell sites/wi fi routers and solar rechargeable smart phones/devices- the net is almost “off the Grid”- so we want the old machine to fall- we want the darkest of all possible dark ages: an archaic post-verbal return to the pre-verbal mode of animistic magic- the Cybernetic Dreamtime- we will remake ourselves with our voices and our hands upon one another- we will live in and BE the Philosopher’s Stone-

having seen these things approach we have an opportunity- after 2012 we have a whole generation who were anticipating a revolution or apocalypse- they’re asking: “what now?” - 2012 was the last gasp of the attempted Aquarian Age- so we need to harness and focus all that energy- we need to seize the propaganda machine for the Singularity and change the message from an AI/robot takeover from outside to the Cybernetic Dreamtime of unfolding AR/VR/social media/personal fabrication that allows a DIY revolution from inside-

our slogan:


“We have changed. We are no longer, as I said, bipedal monkeys. We are instead a kind of cybernetic coral reef of organic components and inorganic technological components.”—Terence McKenna


Tim should be given a regular column in This type of visionary thinking is, ironically, being drowned out by transhuman minutiae and quibbles.

By Matt on Feb 12, 2013 at 4:56am

The lack of capital letters and full stops make this slightly annoying to read.

By Jabbah on Feb 12, 2013 at 8:55am

How do you stop the SATANIC IMPERIAL CULT now ruling Planet Earth? Depopulation, turning the entire globe into one giant MILITARIZED CONTROL ZONE…a MATRIX CONTROL GRID…sounds like la-la fantasy thinking..the Banking Powers rule the earth, via ILLUMINATI BLOODLINES..and there is NO evidence “things are getting better” jobs, dwindling resources, endless phony wars, disease, water shortages..WHO gets this tech? It won’t be the peons! They are scheduled for self-extermination…maybe this is along the lines of CAPRICA…you upload your consciousness to your own you should SELF-terminate your body NOW!

By Arc Angel on Feb 12, 2013 at 11:38am

Tim, sounds like you have been reading my articles from day one. But most people refuse to understand this kind of thinking, based not on what “experts” like to discuss, but the down to earth hard reality of the way humans actually do things.

And Arc, Stop reading the conspiracy theories. Take it from a former conspiracy theorist, it’s utter BS. The world is far more complex than such simple B&W divisions. Yeah, it SOUNDS convincing, because YOU WANT IT TO BE THAT EASY. But it isn’t. There is no evil Illuminati eternally controlling the world. It’s just the Christian Good vs Evil morality play in anther guise. An alternate “reality” told to prevent you from having to cope with the complexities of the REAL reality. “Oh, everything bad about humanity is really just an evil conspiracy.” Nope. sorry. It’s not so cut and dried, not so easily explained. God and the Devil are simply excuses we give to avoid taking responsibility for our own choices.

By Valkyrie Ice on Feb 13, 2013 at 5:59am

Interesting article, although very short term.

A cultural singularity is more satisfactory from the perspective of Occam’s razor, because it requires less steps between ‘here’ and ‘there’ (development of sentient superintelligent AI).

However, in singularity studies, there is not enough deep thinking about how the introduction of conscious humanity alters the trajectory of the cosmos. 

what will be our impact on the observable universe?

Is there a cosmic superintelligence in our future light cone?

If so, how and why is it assembling itself?

By Kris Erickson on Feb 15, 2013 at 1:23pm

BCI is highly driven by and dependent on GRIN.  I have my doubts as to how deeply the human biocomputer can be immersed into the Cybernetic Dreamtime.  Which is odd for one like me that has experienced some pretty exotic brain/mind states even without quickly unfolding BCI and other tech coming up rapidly.

Biological immortality is not at all irrelevant this side of actual uploads.  Although I of course want to get to actual uploads (and downloads into whatever bodies are desired/needed).  Then it is not relevant how long a particular biological body lasts I agree - as long as the self/being does not perish with it. But to get there takes a LOT of GRIN work.

We do not know the limits of brains/interfaced or of upload tech or of computational tech.  We think they are very very broad - at least much broader than what we have evolved as.  We do not know how much of what we believe we are or that we believe is important about “me” and “us” can make such transitions.  Opinions vary but all are currently largely just opinions.

AGI and AI is not at all irrelevant in such a scenario.  Intelligence that was biological enhanced by technology to greater intelligence presupposes/requires the tech needed for non-biological intelligence.  No biological intelligence is smart enough to guide the upload of a biological mind into a computational matrix. 

You in the cloud will only exist as long as the matter/energy to run that exists.  You are not substrate independent to the point of needing absolutely no substrate at all to have existence.

I disagree that AGI is plagued my monotheistic notions.  There is no need for there to “be only One”.  And any such plague is a mere artifact of currently limited intelligence and descriptive tools.  It is artifact, not inherent to AGI itself.  This should be obvious.

It is not at all certain, a la Moravec’s argument, that one biological intelligences will be the end all, the greatest intelligence maximally augmented as possible.  There is simply no reason to posit that this will or even should be the case.  Especially not here where we have neither AGI nor the ability to upload.

You cannot say GRIN is obsolete and then talk of nano-computational material a.k.a. computronium.  Creating such requires nanotech of a very high order.  If you think it does not then please show how.  Or does your mind leap from what is to what may be and back again to judge the value of what is by what may be when what is is the only way to get to what may be?

The tech of today is far far from self-sustaining. Its continuing existence depends upon a very complex and delicate web of technological and societal conditions. A web that is in some continuing danger of unraveling catastrophically. You cannot get to better by advocating the end of what makes better possible. This is a fatal flaw.

By Samantha Atkins on Apr 14, 2013 at 3:23pm

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