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Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Convergent evolution, humanoid sapiens & the Singularity

There are 2 views on evolution, either random chance or convergent evolution. Please also see my 2015 blog: the AND/OR dilemma. I typically believe in AND, not in OR. The combination of random chance within convergent evolution may bring some surprises, while the general blueprint of Life remains intact. Also see my 2018 blog: history and nature always repeat itself.

It’s difficult to understand how random chance would ever result in (balanced) ecosystems. It would rather cause chaos and unpredictabilityWiki: “Chaos theory is [] focusing on the behavior of dynamical systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions. [] Small differences in initial conditions [] yield widely diverging outcomes for such dynamical systems, rendering long-term prediction of their behavior impossible in general.”

Earth’s evolution did see mass extinction events which, however, resulted in more diversity and also smaller organisms. Somehow, there should be a link with plate tectonics, continental drift and break-ups (eg, Pangea), island biogeography and island gigantism.

The convergent evolution hypothesis is gaining ground as there seems to be a blueprint in Nature, geared towards intelligent life (my 2018 blog). Analysis of genetic mutations reveal that genetic mutations keep coming back in Earth’s evolutionary history (the Conversation). Flying (birds), swimming (fish), and walking (mammals) are examples of this convergent evolution.

It’s tempting to view humans and their use of technology as a next stage in this convergent evolution. In 2005, Ray Kurzweil wrote his book The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology. It's about the synthesis of humans and technology. Examples: prosthetic limbs, powered exoskeletons, augmented reality glasses, 3D organ printing, soft robotics.

Transhumanism is the "international intellectual movement that aims to transform the human condition by developing and making widely available sophisticated technologies to greatly enhance human intellect and physiology". Please also see my blogs on Transhumanism.

Without technology, all species are doomed to fail in evolution. This is also called the Great Filter hypothesis (my 2017 blog). The Singularity is probably the only way for humans to escape this planet and to become a species unrestricted by its home planet. It’s not a farfetched thought that such an escape may actually be an integral part of convergent evolution.

In other words, the convergent evolution of homo sapiens may also bring us the (Technological) Singularity in which man and machine become singular - a.k.a. humanoid sapiens.

Man is to technology what the bee is to the flower. It’s man’s intervention that allows technology to expand and evolve itself and in return, technology offers man convenience, wealth and the lessening burden of physical labor via its automated systems.” A quote by James Scott.

Singularity (2014) by New Order - artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2


Note: all markings (bold, italic, underlining) by LO unless stated otherwise