Jamais Cascio, a futurist writer, gives four possible scenarios for how the increasing integration of technology into our lives will unfold. These scenarios are the the combination of values on two variables: whether technology is used to augment or simulate reality, and whether it is externally focused or looking inside a person. These scenarios are not inherently good or bad but will be shaped by the process used to create them.
Since all technology is a product of its creators, even the first intelligent machines will be biased toward the interests and beliefs of those who make it. For a globally significant event like the Singularity, we need to be sure that the process that leads to it includes input from all of the stakeholders that will be affected by it. These diverse interests can't be slapped on at the end, but rather need to be brought in early in the process. Democracy is messy, but participation is more important than efficiency.
As part of his recommendation that we should be working as hard on global inclusion as on the creation of an artificial general intelligence, Jamais makes a few recommendations. All development should be based on trust, honesty, and transparency. Controls should be in place on access to personal information. And lastly, open access to information makes the risks associated with all of these scenarios more manageable. The interference of the many is better than the secrecy of the few.
Jamais Cascio writes about the intersection of emerging technologies and cultural transformation, and specializes in the design and creation of plausible scenarios of the future. His work focuses on the importance of long-term, systemic thinking, particularly regarding the environment and technological development. A recurring theme in his writing is the importance of openness, transparency, and flexibility as a toolkit for social and technological progress. In 2003, he co-founded WorldChanging.com, the award-winning website dedicated to finding and calling attention to models, tools and ideas for building a "bright green" future. In March 2006, he started Open the Future as his online home. He is currently an affiliate at the Institute for the Future, and serves as the Global Futures Strategist for the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology.
This free podcast is from our Singularity Summit series.