If there’s going to be a Singularity for us humans, won’t there be many for all the animals on this planet?
There’s always signals out there that are telling us things we hadn’t thought about. One such is the sudden spate of articles about orcas (you know, killer whales) which are ramming boats off the coast of Spain and Portugal. No-one knows why although there are theories. The prevailing thesis is that they are just playing games with us although there are dark interpretations involving them getting revenge on the human animals that have been upsetting their world in so many ways.
This of course raises the hoary old issue concerning whether or not animals think, have emotions and so on; that is, how much like humans are they really? The general mood seems to be swinging to the idea that animals have various forms of awareness and even intelligence, but not like Uncle Joe has.
A crucial threshold has been crossed with the discoveries that show that many animals can actually use tools, and even select them from the environment. So, if you think that Fido is looking out for you, you may well be right.
But if that’s so, how far do things go? If certain animals are intelligent as judged by today’s scientists, does it mean that they have the sort of intelligence that could be pushed into the realm we call artificial? Even if they don’t have that level of smarts yet, could they be getting there? In fact, could that be what’s driving those pesky orcas to ramming human boats, maybe as revenge for the thousands of orcas that have and continue to suffer from humans causing them pain and harm?
There’s no shortage of animals suffering from human behaviors from those Spanish orcas to the dolphins that the Russians (and no doubt we Americans ourselves) are training to be aquatic spies. There’ll be even more suffering if we start farming octopuses, as seems to be on the cards.
Maybe any putative progression of animal intelligence is being driven by bad behavior on our parts? Or maybe it is just plain old Darwinian evolution. But the evidence for tool use by many animal species (and not just primates either) seems to be incontrovertible evidence that something is going on.
If animals have some of the basic neurological substrates necessary for intelligent behaviors, can we humans speed up the process? Could combinations of neural sensors (Neuralink for example) with creative use of ChatGPT lead animals to cross this particular Rubicon?
Could there indeed be a Singularity for the animal world, or certain species? If so when could that occur? Chances are that it would be well after our own Singularity, if ever. But maybe it would not come long after at all. Just maybe, could it even come before? Would it evolve more quickly if climate change gets even more out of control than it is now?
And could the animal Singularity actually be in part driven by hostility to humans, as well as the “advances” of science or natural evolution in animals themselves? Is this some sort of karma based on the harm we humans are causing them directly (e.g., electronic signals that mess with their communications) and indirectly (e.g., climate change that messes with their food and diet)?
But in fact, there won’t be just one animal Singularity. There will be a Singularity for each species that actually makes it. The Orca Singularity, the Dolphin Singularity, the Dog Singularity. Or maybe we actually get down to the particular breed, such as the French Bulldog Singularity. It sounds absurd but isn’t this the logic of where things are headed?.
And in this case, will humans lead (or follow)? Could geopolitical competition rear its ugly head in the Chinese or American Singularity? How about the Fijian Singularity? The Bantu Singularity, maybe?
It seems to me that there’s more to this AI and Singularity stuff than meets the eye. Could we subdivide these Singularities into useful (or useless) categories? The Artistic Singularity or the Engineering Singularity maybe. So that we could have an Emotive French Singularity perhaps?
Could we actually inexorably be going down the rabbit-hole of what we might call the Multipolarity? The motto of course is Singularities for all.
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