Singularity and Exponential Growth
Artificial Intelligence Vs. The Potential of Human Biological Evolution Part 1
Singularity (in technological terms) basically means the advancement of superhuman or greater than human intelligence resulting in a post-human era of explosive super-intelligence. This super-human intelligence is predicted to grow at at faster exponential rate than the evolution of human intelligence. Singularity gives rise to theories involving artificial Intelligence (AI) reaching a phase capable to advance out into the the rest of the universe and utilize it for advancement. The use of Artificial intelligence is a most common theory at this point. AI requires humans to create machines or robots that function on a more intelligent level than the human brain. Human biological advancement or brain computer interfaces are also being looked into as forefronts to the Singularity movement.
If humans are able to invent an AI or type of superhuman intelligence, then it would be capable of designing more intelligent machines, which in return would invent even more intelligent and powerful machines, and so forth. Verner Vinge and Ray Kurzweil called this process ‘Accelerating Change,’ Much of this theory stems from Moore’s Law as well which describes, “… a long-term trend in the history of computing hardware: the number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit doubles approximately every two hours.”  This explanation gave rise to the realization that our technology will soon advance to a level where it can then surpass the intelligence of a human. Because the rate of this reality is growing at such a fast exponential rate, scientists predict Singularity is likely to happen sometime within the 21st century.
Verner Vinge seems to have a more ‘matter of fact’ or pessimistic opinion on the outcome of creating artificial intelligence. He is more concerned about how we carry this out in a responsible manner and perhaps there is hope in future biological science advancement for natural human intellect. He refer’s to the result of higher intelligence as being “awake.” The “awake” part specifies the instance where AI will grow to a point where anything lesser is no longer needed for intelligent advancement (such as humans.) He believes there are other paths to superhumanity in which he calls Intelligent Amplification (IA) which deal with “our ability to access information and communicate it to others….”  If this improves, then in a sense we are achieving an increase over natural intelligence. Vinge goes on to assure research applications in IA will coincide with IA and visa versa.
Ray Kurzweil is more optimistic about the use of AI as well as the use of nano-technology, medical technology, and others. He believes Singularity will allow us to transcend the limitations of our biological bodies and brains, and there will be no distinction between human and machine. Kurzweil explains how the evolutionary process of our exponential growth, based on the past, is easily predictable now to a point where we can pin point when Singularity will occur. He predicts, sometime in the year 2045 , computer based intelligence will exceed human intelligence. 
Both Kurzweil and Vinge (as well as many other scientists) agree how this change into AI has the potential to happen instantly, even without the knowledge of the researches and creators. Once AI technology can exist, there is nothing that can stop it even if everyone were to understand the threats involved. Singularity, if carried out through AI, seems to be a coming of a new species that human themselves will create, possibly carrying out our own fate in extinction.
Biological evolution on earth has proven to be growing upward successfully, far before technology. From sub atomic particles to the most basic forms of bacteria to the complicated structures of life that exist today. Life has proven to organically develop its own incline towards more intelligent organisms. Kurzweil explains that our human technological growth has not been linear but rather exponential. As we overcome problems, we adopt new ideas and accelerate exponentially forward. He explains how Evolution of earth took billions of years. The next stage, biological plants, evolved in ten million years (200 times faster.) Then higher cognitive functions started to evolve into homo-sapiens which took hundreds of thousands of years followed by the technological evolution which took tens of thousands of years. He then explains in more detail how technology has exponentially been growing at a faster and faster rate up to today. 
Sometimes we forget these technological advances are coming directly from its creators, the human. The human brain has grown in size and intelligence in accordance with the biological exponential growth of evolution. At this point, we can asses what humans are biologically capable of in the future. A new Biotechnology revolution exists among us that we can use to solve the problems we face. We are in the stage of learning how to biologically manipulate ourselves. We’ve been able to inhibit genes with RNA interference through gene therapy that overcome problem of placing genetic material on the right chromosome. Through this gene therapy technology we are able to direct and design the DNA makeup for new life. We’ve started to invent ways to lengthen our lives considerably through the invention of nanotechnology. Eventually we will have nanobots to interact with the neurons in our brains which can create sensational virtual experiences. These nanobots will also be able to function on surgical, bacterial and biochip levels. Nanotechnology will soon allow robots to be injected into a patients body to perform work on a cellular level.
Our human exponential growth also deals with how we’ve used technology to communicate with each other. From wired to wireless to the web we are shrinking the size of our technology at an exponential rate. If our technology is progressively getting smaller and smaller, we can conclude there will be a point where we can create anything from scratch. A world where anything can be reverse engineered, including the brain. Deciding whether it will be necessary to create Artificial Intelligence is almost deciding whether or not we want to hand over our successful exponential growth over to the machines, which will most likely result in the extinction of the human race and its biological exponential growth. This raises a question of whether or not human intelligence is capable of achieving far more than AI or visa versa.
Its important that we begin to carefully analyze how Artificial Intelligence compares to the organic qualities of human intelligence. We also need to decide whether or not we want AI to replicate social qualities of a human beings as well and what that entails. Will these future AI be lacking intelligent abilities such as capacities to reason or question reality itself allowing the impossible to be imagined? Or will this type of thinking be irrelevant to the AI era, being everything will be so precisely calculated, there is no need for exploring the ‘unknown.’
“We humans have the ability to internalize the world and conduct “what if’s” in our heads; we can solve many problems thousands of times faster than natural selection. Now, by creating the means to execute those simulations at much higher speeds, we are entering a regime as radically different from our human past as we humans are from the lower animals.” –Verner Vinge
Is it necessary to develop a sense of personal identity or individuality software for these AI machines and have this software run randomly, adding to the equation of decision-making? Do we expect to engage in philosophical conversation with these AI or are they to simply answer questions, solve problems, and multiply their intelligence? I’m assuming we want them to be equipped with human sensory system capabilities and if this is the case, what types of parameters are we looking to set in terms of how these sensory abilities are executed? Will the AI be setting these specific parameters on their own? How is it practical to consider setting perimeters or ‘rules’ allowing us to control machines which are more intelligent to us?
There still remains no solid evidence humans are capable of building a machine smarter than the human brain, which presents no validity to AI capabilities of becoming more intelligent than humans or the theory of AI producing their own AI far more intelligent than us. Human technological advancement has increased at substantial exponential rate, but has the knowledge of how our brains work increased in parallel? There still remain a majority of mysteries about the brain in which more advanced technology can help us understand, yet the invention of this specific type of technology seems to be increasing at a much slower rate than our exponential technological growth. Scientists such as Kurzweil find themselves pin pointing WHEN AI will possess the intelligence far more advanced than the human brain with little connection to HOW this will be done.
The use of Transhumanism, which coincides with Singularity, proposes the idea that we can in fact achieve creating a higher intelligence machine that coincides with our brain: By connecting machines to our brains, in return, we can control the machine with our brains. Then we’ll be able to machine ‘braining machines’ to do the work that brains usually machine. Eventually we’ll be able to brains machines to the point that the machines brain will be able to produce it’s own machined brains. This will allow brains to be machined into machines so that the brain can continue to brain within a new machine’s brain. The conclusion is that our brains will eventually be indistinguishable from machines and then our brains can be preserved within machines. 
The Transhumanist approach raises a question of intention behind the creation of AI. Are we building these machines as a tool for human use or are we trying to merge man and machine into one functioning entity? Or could we possibly be trying to fill a void of possessing the power of god? Sure humans will develop specific reasoning for the advancement of Artificial Intelligence. We’ll find precise ways to justify its validity. But, we must consider the outcome of the AI reasoning. If they are to lack human biological tendencies such as spirituality, consciousness, and emotion, etc, what predictions can we make on the way they justify the world and their existence on earth. Their reasoning will definitely consist of mathematical equations. What if these pristine equations calculate to the result of human extinction? And if they did calculate to such a result, how can we trust those calculations to be accurate given the AI is of a higher intelligent form, yet lacking sympathetic qualities humans have acquired through exponential biological evolution?
“And it’s very likely that IA is a much easier road to the achievement of superhumanity than pure AI. In humans, the hardest development problems have already been solved. Building up from within ourselves ought to be easier than figuring out first what we really are and then building machines that are all of that. And there is at least conjectural precedent for this approach. Cairns-Smith  has speculated that biological life may have begun as an adjunct to still more primitive life based on crystalline growth. Lynn Margulis (in  and elsewhere) has made strong arguments that mutualism is a great driving force in evolution.” –Verner Vinge 
*Part 2 will consist of exploring alternative theories to the production of AI
 Wikipedia search: Moore’s Law
 Verner Vinge, ‘What is Singularty’ Department of Mathematical Sciences, San Diego State University http://mindstalk.net/vinge/vinge-sing.html
 Wikipedia search: Technological Singularity “Basic Concepts” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_singularity
 Wikipedia search: ‘The Singularity is Near’ (the book) Ray Kurzweil http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Singularity_Is_Near
 TED talks, Ray Kurzweil on How Technology Will Transform Us. http://www.ted.com/talks/ray_kurzweil_on_how_technology_will_transform_us.html
 Youtube: A Transhumanism Dream, http://youtu.be/voGwkfz0eao