September 08, 2007
Jamais Cascio Asks for an Open Singularity
He says a question we fundamentally need to ask ourselves is this: are we good ancestors? It's a tough question, he says, because "its an uncomfortable one." Profound consequences can result from any situaton.
Leading up to the more social and ethically responsible issues around the Singularity, Jamais also addresses trust, i.e., being safely visible, transactional security, honesty and transparency. The ultimate importance of these scenarios are not the technologies they describe but the societies they create. So, what does this say about the Singularity?
Jamais wants an open Singularity, an open source singularity. In other words, let's make it broad and open so people can contribute from a wide variety of sources and talent. In his view, open access to risk ultimately makes these risks more manageable. "Making it happen in a way that lets us be good ancestors," says Cascio. "It needs to be available, abundant with options, and open......meaning available to all."
"How do we get people's attention if you're about opening this up to all?" asks someone from the audience. And someone else adds, "what about people who are afraid of the technology, not ready for it, not able to understand it yet allowing them participate?"
Jamais responds, "the issues people raise will come up over and over again. We need to make them feel like they have a role and their feedback will help us develop the kind of participatory future I'm talking about."
A female attendee raises this concern: "my worry is the bottleneck that can happen when anyone has access to power. There are 4 billion people living below the poverty line....these are the people who I worry about. You can't ignore the billions of people who have no access."
He agrees. "It is up to us to improve that access and improve our ability to democratize. We need to do that not just because its the right thing to do and not because it will make our lives better in the long term. If we want a future that is not about war against all, we need to make sure everyone has a voice in this. Bottom line, it will require us to figure things out that we haven't figured out to do yet."
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