Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Biological Singularity?

If there is a "Technological Singularity" where computers "evolve" in complexity and capability that one day they become self-aware, is there a "Biological Singularity" where organic compounds evolved in complexity and capability that one day they became self-aware, became Life?

In a previous post, Amoebic Intelligence, it was reported that amoebas were showing rudimentary intelligence, sentience. How far down does this go? Are viruses alive? Do they have rudimentary intelligence, or are they purely organic compounds following blindly, without sentience, without intelligence, the rules of chemical reactions? A crystal grows, and is, to an extent, self organizing. But not alive. So some argue a virus is not alive either. But it does raise the question, at what point does organic chemistry become complicated enough that sentience, even the most rudimentary level, arises?

Why is this question important? The answer may show that intelligence is a logical outcome of life, and thus, intelligence may be common among alien life (whether high level sentient intelligence is common is another matter).


Schewe, Phillip F. and Jason S. Bardi. "Amoebas Anticipate Climate Change." The American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Physics News. Number 852. 3 Jan. 2008 . Web. 3 Jan. 2008. <>.


Dorlana said...

Hi David,
I’m tagging you with a short meme.
You can find your instructions here:

Have a great Labor Day!

Anonymous said...

I would argue for a better definition of the Technological Singularity: it is the invention that reinvents itself, the tool that creates more tools. Thinking of the history of life as Earth as progressive steps towards a goal, the Technological Singularity is the ultimate goal of humanity, and our eventual heir. As a tool-using race, all we have strived for is the creation of tools that replace every aspect of our lives. It stands to reason that we will eventually create the Technological Singularity, the tool that is itself a tool-user.

Logically then, the Biological Singularity is the ultimate goal of Life; the product-of-the-environment that would go on to master environment itself. That is to say, humanity. We *are* the Biological Singularity. Our purpose is to bring about the creation of the next paradigm shift by whatever means necessary.

Of course, that does not bode well for us. We are to use up our creator- the Earth- to bring about a Technological Singularity. How will our successors use *us* up, and what will they create?

Anonymous said...

this is just like that movie flatland, arthur square and the rest of the 2diemensional world didnt belive in the 3diemensional world until a sphere visited arthur and explaned the 3diemensional world to him to prepare him. the sphere didn;t belive in a fourth dimension. so the ailens are the fourth dimension trying to prepare us for the fourth dimension we have length,width,and height they have one more feauture and our world doesn;t belive just like the movie and i saw a ufo in south dakota hoovering over my boyscout camp the fourth dimension

Mr. David Michael Merchant said...

The invention that reinvents itself, the tool that creates more tools.... interesting definition. We need computers now to design computers - no human, or groups of humans, can do it by themselves. It is not inconceivable that one day new computers will be designed solely and wholly by computers - is that a technological singularity moment?