Like all faith-based views, Singularitarianism is irrefutable because, in the end, it is unconstrained by reason and evidence. It is also implausible, since there is no reason to believe that anything resembling intelligent (let alone ultraintelligent) machines will emerge from our current and foreseeable understanding of computer science and digital technologies. Let me explain.
Sometimes, Singularitarianism is presented conditionally. This is shrewd, because the then does follow from the if, and not merely in an ex falso quodlibet sense: if some kind of ultraintelligence were to appear, then we would be in deep trouble (not merely ‘could’, as stated above by Hawking). Correct. Absolutely. But this also holds true for the following conditional: ifthe Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse were to appear, then we would be in even deeper trouble.
At other times, Singularitarianism relies on a very weak sense of possibility: some form of artificial ultraintelligence could develop, couldn’t it? Yes it could. But this ‘could’ is mere logical possibility – as far as we know, there is no contradiction in assuming the development of artificial ultraintelligence. Yet this is a trick, blurring the immense difference between ‘I could be sick tomorrow’ when I am already feeling unwell, and ‘I could be a butterfly that dreams it’s a human being.’
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