Editor’s Note: This story was originally published on Thursday as part of “Wiki Weapons Founder: They can never eradicate gun from the Earth”.
Technology is advancing at a rampant rate, which creates amazing possibilities but also incredible challenges for the average person. Only a few years ago your music player, phone, TV, and computer were all separate devices that would have cluttered your desk if you laid them all out. Today, all of that fits in the palm of your hand with your smartphone or tablet. And that’s just the beginning. New technology like 3D Printers has presented everyone with the ability to create all kinds of stuff right in their own home without even leaving their home. The opportunities people have now are limitless, but so are the dangers presented by this new technology. This was the topic of Glenn’s show Thursday night as he spoke on Ray Kurzweil’s “Singularity” and spoke with people who are using new technology in some fascinating ways.
To start the show, Glenn explained Ray Kurzweil’s idea of “The Law of Accelerating Returns”. Glenn, of course, used M&Ms to demonstrate how technological advances increase exponentially over time, meaning that what comes in the next few years will dwarf advances in technology that came in the past few decades (check out Glenn’s explanation in the video at the top of the page). In his essay on the topic, Kurzweil wrote:
An analysis of the history of technology shows that technological change is exponential, contrary to the common-sense “intuitive linear” view. So we won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century — it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today’s rate). The “returns,” such as chip speed and cost-effectiveness, also increase exponentially. There’s even exponential growth in the rate of exponential growth. Within a few decades, machine intelligence will surpass human intelligence, leading to The Singularity — technological change so rapid and profound it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history. The implications include the merger of biological and nonbiological intelligence, immortal software-based humans, and ultra-high levels of intelligence that expand outward in the universe at the speed of light.
Glenn used the example of the cell phone to make his point. What was once bound to the wall with cords first went cordless and then mobile and bulky. And while phones got smaller, they also got a lot smarter. Today, an iPhone can act as your personal assistant. It can find a restaurant just by hearing you talk. What could come next? Ray Kurzweil told Glenn that in the next five years computer will be able to basically read your thoughts by having read every e-mail, website, text message and communication you have. It will learn from you to the point it can predict what you are thinking.
“I want you to understand, it’s nothing to fear as long as we are in control. There is nothing stopping it. The government would have to take away all the technology for this trend to reverse or stop – and you cannot do that as we will demonstrate tonight,” Glenn said.
“The answer is not, should not, and cannot be regulation. The answer is not anti-technology. The answer is to be strong in ethics, and community and decency. To control it, and to know you’re about to be overwhelmed by what you are about to see in just the next few years.”
Glenn said that the technology is going to move so fast that the government will not be able to keep up with it. He used the example of a 3D Printer, which can be used to print high capacity magazines for guns. By the time Congress could pass legislation outlawing the technology it would be outdated.
“What is coming has never been seen before in the history of all mankind,” Glenn said. “We are going to have to deal with health, social, spiritual, society questions that we have not even ever considered. No man ever has.”