This month’s issue of IEEE Spectrum Online magazine contains an excellent special report on the singularity, the hypothetical point in time at which technology will be sufficiently advanced so as to enable the human race to transcend their biology and take their evolution into their own hands.
Some transhumanists envision a future characterized by cyborg-like beings and thinking machines with superhuman artificial intelligence, and await the singularity as eagerly as end-timers wait for the Second Coming. Some go as far as to say that we will one day be able to cheat death by uploading our conscious minds to computers. (See yesterday’s post, Matrix-style “brain downloads” for schooldchildren?)
Much of this is extremely far-fetched, and some of the claims of transhumanists are rightly dismissed as ridiculous. But the IEEE Spectrum report is balanced and down-to-earth. With an emphasis artificial intelligence on neuroscience, it includes commentary from leading reseachers such as Christof Koch and Steven Pinker, as well as 4 videos and an interactive 3D model which “gauge[s] progress toward the age of cyborgs”.