Jared Diamond: Societal Collapse

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If you listen carefully to what Jared Diamond is saying in the TED video above, he is describing not a five part, but a six part power curve into a systemic singularity. This has been one of the core themes of discussion of this blog.  We all seem to be too close to our problems to see the commonality.  The interrogatives come into play here:

  1. Goals
  2. People
  3. Functions
  4. Forms
  5. Times
  6. Distances

Times and Distances being the basis on which the higher orders are built.

When we look at the recent economic “crisis” we see 300 trillion in currency circulating and roughly 1 trillion to 2 trillion shifting suddenly and unexpectedly.  We witnessed a systemic collapse, a singularity, a tipping point, a power curve, an exponential change, a phase transition or whatever label you want to call it.  These have been happening everywhere since Time and Distance began in different contexts and orders both in human and non-human systems.

What Jared Diamond and other alarmists are implying is that human society is now a system approaching its final singularity in this century on this planet.  We are implying that today we are experiencing a less than one percent crisis on a power curve into a singularity.  How many more iterations will the global system withstand?  Will humanity make the step into space successfully before we experience a global dark age?  How will the six or more factors in the power curve play out?

The truth to me appears to be that power curves whether they play out or not result in either a systemic climax or anti-climax followed by a systemic collapse.  Would it not be better if we experienced a systemic climax that led to us expanding into the solar system?

Systemic collapse seems to be the fashion of this generation.  Every generation looks with fascination at its own youth, maturition, reproduction and acceleration into mortality.  Some die early, some die late, but all die.  It is an irrevocable law of nature.  It is not about self-interest.  It is about what self-interest is defined as.

Related Posts:

Beyond the Singularity

Servitas and Libertas

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Singularity, Pluralarity and Lorentz Transformation

Working with Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping point, Ray Kurzweil’s Singularity and the Pareto Principle lead me to begin thinking about a pattern that presented itself. In an earlier post here and here I discussed how there had been many Singularities in history. It also lead me to talk about Pluralarites. Then it struck me there is an oscillation between Singularity and Plurality, giving us the Singularity Pluralarity Plot above. And the implications are interesting.

Any innovation follows the Singularity Pluralarity Plot as a complete life cycle. Kurzweil’s singularity will be no exception. The first working AI will be the domain of specialists it will not be unleashed uncontrolled on humanity and it will have been accomplished after several incremental developments that will leave humanity more than prepared for it. The AI will then have to be molded into compatibility to a variety of purposes. After that it will have to be iterated until it is reliable. Once it is reliable then the true singularity happens: the cost benefit ratio is achieved and AI becomes accessible to the general public. The next step is availability on the global market. Finally, AI will have to be always on and pluralarity is achieved. AI will be ubiquitous and the next innovation will take place. The commoditized original AI will begin its descent and a new innovation in AI or a completely new technology will take its place and begin its ascent.

There will be social upheaval, but I don’t think it will be as dramatic or as immediate as some think.  The anthropomorphization of AI will fade and it will just be considered another tool.

The first thing that occurred to me is that as there is a positive and negative infinity there is also a positive and negative zero. Whether the zero is positive or negative is determined by whether you approach it from positive values or negative values. The second thing that occurred to me is that a pluralarity to singularity transition is divisive while a pluralarity to singularity transition is multiplicative. The third thing that occurred to me is that it is possible to have a positive to negative transition. For example you could follow a positive singularity to positive pluralarity curve with a negative pluralarity to negative singularity curve which would ascend like a staircase. The fourth thing that became obvious is that on an exponential curve the Pareto Principle applies at both ends. It’s like applying Lorentz transformations. Fifth, I am currently reading Peter Drucker’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship and have discovered that seizing opportunity, Entrepreneurship, requires recognizing whether you are approaching a Singularity or a Pluralarity while creating opportunity, Innovation, is making a Singularity or Pluralarity. The final thought that occurred to me is what are the implications of this knowledge on network design, physics, chemistry, biology, databases, complexity, simplicity, organization, history, anthropology, evolution, commoditization? I’ll leave it there.