"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

Expect the Unexpected, or why I don't believe in the Singularity

Well, the "Mayan Apocalypse" passed without incident. Given that life is apparently going to go on, I'd like to take a minute to register some thoughts on another end-of-the-world (as we know it) theory popular among technophiles: the Singularity.

At it's most generic, the term "Singularty" refers to a point in the future at which change begins to occur so rapidly it's completely impossible to predict what will happen. It's the equivalent to a black hole's event-horizon, the point at which light can no longer make its way out. After that point, we have no idea.

In that simple context, it's an interesting question to ponder — at what point does our ability to predict the future become so poor as to be essentially worthless? I'd actually argue that the answer to that question is a lot sooner than most Futurologists think, but more on that later.

The problem is that the popular interest in in the Singularity is based on notions of accelerating computing power and the replication of human intelligence or a different kind of "Strong AI" which has the potential to self-evolve. Essentially, some kind of artificial mind takes the drivers seat for technological development, at which point all bets are off because it will move much faster than we can imagine. Maybe we'll be immortal. Maybe we'll become post-human. Maybe SkyNet will kill us all.

It's fun to speculate about such things, and I'm not arguing against futurism or science-fiction. I enjoy both quite a bit. However, I do see a number of somewhat obvious flaws in this increasingly popular gestalt that I feel the need to point out, if only to make way for more interesting or pertinent speculation.

Remember: it's the "End of the World as We Know It", not the End of the World

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Do you like what you do?

Since getting engaged I spend more time thinking long-term about the world and my career. I've always had a yen for the big picture, but figuring out how yours truly factors in has taken on more urgency of late.

Some of it comes from explaining "what would you say ya do here" to a pool of putative in-laws who understandably have a number of questions. Part of it is needing to figuring out how I'm gonna cash the existential checks I've written with my existing career moves, to make good on my potential, to pursue the bigger-vision in more than a hand-waving context. A little bit of it is wanting to feel solid in an identity that's separate from the pop-culture caricature of Silicon Valley that's part of the current zeitgeist.

It's not a simple question. I have the most nebulous career and title in the world, "entrepreneur" and "founder". When I talk to people in the start-up game, I often extend the label to be "utility founder", like in baseball where you have a utility infielder; someone who can play shortstop, second base, or first or third in a stretch. The truth is I don't have a single job description. I have several. People in my field tend to get that. Filling multiple positions is par for the course in early-stage companies.

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