[ExI] SIngularity - Non-Gender Specific

Tom Nowell nebathenemi at yahoo.co.uk
Wed Sep 30 11:56:51 UTC 2009

Damian wrote :"Since "the Singularity" is an abstract concept about rates of change in  technology, I don't see how it can be *personalized* as either male or  female, except in the figuration of Terminators or Gaiamind or some other comic-strip reductionism."

I have to disagree with Damian and Natasha here. Abstract concepts have a way of taking on their own lives once they leave the purely academic - Marx's revolution, the revolutions of Lenin and Mao, and the future revolution of "those bankers will be first against the wall when the revolution comes!" are very different, but all stem from a particular branch of mid-nineteenth century philosophy and economics. "The Singularity", as Anders pointed out, can refer to different things, as people have several different conceptions.

Imagine we are playing a gameshow where we ask people to name things they associate with the Singularity (family fortunes - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_Fortunes or "family feud" as the US version was apparently called).

So, asking a survey of people what they think of in association with the singularity - you might get as the top answers things like "nanotech", "uploading", "immortality", "artifical intelligence" and the like. 

Now people have been arguing about whether the singularity naturally attracts men more than women because of any male disposition towards technology. I think a far more important factor is that some of the things associated with the singularity are more alienating to women than to men. A singularity of mass uploading can be alienating to someone brought up in a culture of obsessing over body image and beauty - if "Fat is a feminist issue", then talk of abandoning the physical body as inevitable may be alienating. 

Some of the visions of a near-singularity or post-singularity existence are radically depersonalised, dealing with posthumans and AI rather than people like us becoming transhuman. This fast-tracking of the future does not give much for people to relate to how transhuman ideas affect their lives, and what may happen when we hit the period of maximum tech acceleration.

As a final aside, I have to agree with Natasha -avoiding large gender imbalances within singularity thinking, or indeed any area of transhumanism, is good for the long-term health of transhumanism.



More information about the extropy-chat mailing list