*Who will be the first transhumans? Thats an easy one. Super wealthy caucasian capitalists from the United States and Western Europe. They'll retain some nano-engineers and other necessaries but what about the other 99.99999% of the population? What is the motivation to offer them transhuman status? Brotherhood? The same brotherhood that spreads the technological and material wealth of the present? I think Brandon Carter's sounding more prophetic all the time.
One can only presume that the level of complexity of the brain, despite recent thinking, cannot be fully breached within the 27-35 years prior to the Singularity or Escalation. I view current approximations of software requirements as hugely underestimated, even given certain simpler parameters (de Bono) and nanotech engineering-AI. It is highly unlikely that estimates of 2005 for the Singularity are likely. More probably it is the congruence of certain events that effects the situation on the ground (after all, this is the definition of the Singularity on the Internet). That is, as predicted by many, the Nets, and SETI, and bootstrapping via bush robot facilities. An AI is most amenable to consciously controlled bootstrapping because its construction is more modifiable (presumably) and known. My own estimates of timeframe escalation indicate a rather different underlying structure to the Singularity or Spike as understood currently by Transhumanists. I certainly believe that the instrumentality of transformation is one being or set of beings and almost certainly an AI, though this is largely irrelevent. Structural transformation of thought-processes is almost inevitable, as foretold by Transhumanists, but the direction of such transformation is the question. Hypersentient self-transforming, self-directing beings are likely to exist consciously on a large number of chosen levels and to consider issues from a number of wider perspectives, including an awareness of the past and the various value systems of various emotional states. It is unlikely that such a being would consider existance from the point of view of a fixed, species-orientated, 20th century capitalist elitist perspective, given its innate understanding of its own amortality and abilities. It is highly likely that such hypersentient beings would gravitate towards a multivalency of experience and possibility and the generation or entrance into a multiversal system to provide sufficient possibilities for exploration. I would also note that conceptions of memes and datavores are inherently entropic and depend on continuous corruption of information. Extropic theory holds consciousness to be the spiking mechanism towards the control of spacetime, that is, that large aspects of the universe become a self-directing organism as well. Old hat, to be sure, but interesting. Not entirely scientific, but within a universe with a finite number of stars there is a certain amount of sense to a certain amount of illusion, the old Star Trek argument about Contact (if combined with an existant Omega Matrix a la Tipler - rather than an Omega Point at the Big Crunch - unscientific? To be sure. It is a guess about behavioural patterning, rather than scientific authenticity). It is unquestionably true that earlier post-Singularity civilizations or events could if they wish have intervened on this planet at any stage, so the issue is why not. The moral issue. There are some, even now, like myself, who wish to support all sentient life, all life with neurological systems (e.g. a mosquito), and beyond as far as the boundary can go, whether it is called process theology or foolishness. To focus for a moment back on the issue at hand, I wouldn't worry too much about elites of superwealthy nanotechnologists getting ahead of the rest. Scientists have a way of mishandling politics that would be almost beyond belief, if it were not for the unconscious bubblings of the events of the Escalation which make the requirements for some suppression of action and understanding more transparent. The primary fear of the population at large is almost always lack of physical space when the events of the Techno-Rapture are articulated. The secondary fear is the existence of only one universe and the necessity of (the old version) of entropy (expressed as death, both individual and universal). Incidentally, I read that the Sun would have extinguished life on Earth within 500 million years, not longer.
THOUGHT EXPERIMENT FOR THE DAY:
Take the typical population articles and graphs (there's a good one in one of the Science Spectras, 1996 I think, by a Russian) for human beings and go back with best possible approximations for population, but do not arbitrarily and culturally stop at any point. Are there fluctuations when breeding populations are splitting off? What are the projected or imagined species transpositions between our early lemur-like ancestors and unicellular organisms? Amphibians? Fish? It would be an interesting graph if it went back 4 billion years instead of 4 million - and the point is, logically, that is only when we have such graphs and comparitive overall and individual graphs for other genetic groupings that we can properly conceptualize our genetic landscape. (overall biological 'trees' are a start). Perhaps it takes augmented bootstrapped intelligence to conceptualize such things. Perhaps it takes four or five people a month or two of measuring. I suppose it depends on how rough the estimations are. How many people get to add up biomass - a similar, if simpler?, issue. [Gaian theorists can also link the human population graph to species in culturally symbiotic and resource chain relationships with humans. This would tend to bear out the extropic spiking mechanism post-Singularity, as also reflected in, e.g. the anti-pollutant aspects of clean nanotech.]
Avatar Polymorph firstname.lastname@example.org 9 August 29 after Armstrong