Category Archives: Singularity

No Room for Privacy in a Singular World?

For better or worse in the world of Singularity there is no room for much privacy.  Being that everything will be interconnected and shared.  Which brings us full circle to when the Internet was in its infancy and there was no such thing as passwords or security.  There comes a tipping point where in the beginning we were protecting the network from the users and now we will be needing to protect the users from the network.  This is a growing concern which will become a moot point once the Singularity is truly upon us.  Now I do not mean to speak of it as if it were some biblical revelation, but in some ways it will be since it is a divergence of all that we know. A ‘paradigm shift’ as many like to throw around.

Let’s look at the simple example of me wondering 10 years ago who invented the vacuum cleaner.  I would of been left wondering that answer until I got in front of a computer and happened to recall what I wanted to know in the first place.  Where as today I grab my phone out of my pocket and search Google and read the article on Wikipedia (or elsewhere) and I get almost immediate gratification.  Now imagine 10 years from now in 2020.  I will not even have to type it to know it.  Thinking back to when I was a kid I would of had to go to library and consult the Encyclopedia Britannica if I had wanted to know the scoop on who invented the vacuum.

I have always been a big advocate of privacy (and still am).  But once a paradigm shift such as the singularity occurs most need for privacy will either stop being a concern or be needed even more in some areas.  The idea of my mind being connected to the Internet (if we will still call it that) can be quite a scary thought (no pun intended).  The more one tries to answer the needs the more questions it breeds. Once computers are as smart or smarter than humans will they develop the ability to lie? Computers and other devices can currently detect humans telling lies through voice stress analysis and other means. So what do we do when we can’t lie to computers but they can lie to us? Perplexing.

Many changes are happening as I type this. More scientists and researchers are working on projects now than all scientists in the past combined. Devices are coming into mainstream markets with technologies we could only dream about a few years ago. The amount of data being created is doubling every year and shows no signs of slowing. Privacy may soon be the least of our worries.

Virtual Homelessness and Virtual Living Come of Age

I was reading an article on BBC about Kelly Sutton of CultofLess.com and it got me to thinking about the potential for a new sub-culture in the US and rest of the world. Basically it is a movement (if you can call it that yet) of mainly 20-somethings relinquishing the vast majority of their posessions and living with as little as possible as long as they have their laptops and other digital goodies. Depending on friends and family to provide a place to sleep in some instances. This may yet be another symptom of steps toward what many call Technological Singularity in the sense that a new subset of people following this digital living and minimalism of possessions are becoming more popular. Now there are Hacker Spaces, imagine a day soon where there will be “Hacker Flop Houses” or “Hacker Hostels”. Even work could be transformed for this subset of people in terms of things already occurring. With the ability to telecommute or work on Human Intelligence Tasks (HITs) that services like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, Crowd Flower, or others could allow people to live an almost digital hobo existence bedding down in hacker flop houses and moving on to another place whenever they choose. With no physical address these people could also become hired digital guns if they chose to follow a less reputable path. Using public Internet access to do their deeds and be gone to another town by the time anyone notices. Almost sounds like something from a William Gibson book but the groundwork for this sort of thing is already in place in many instances. Roving gangs of black hats working to do the deeds of the highest bidder. Sounds pretty scary to me. Although that is just an example of what might happen. Most people as in the original article I read are honest working people who are following a route less taken, which I can understand and support. It would also be a very effective way to save money if you lack the overhead of a place to live.

Update 09212010 – Found an interesting write up on what is now being referred to as Technomads on BoingBoing.