The Concept of Human Equivalence

Human equivalence— is the point when the collective capacity and capability of integrative technologies equal or exceed the thinking and decision making powers of humans— and represents a unique stage in the development of human civilization. It can be easily argued that due to the fuzzy mix of outright complexity and occasional irrationality that characterizes the functioning of the human mind, equivalence by “the machine”” is a theoretical supposition that is unachievable in the real world. However, each year that passes brings a significant uptick in the power of technology to blend human and non-human processing and behavior patterns. Writers such as Hans Moravec, Ray Kurzweil, and Eric Drexler point to these trends and postulate futures where not only is equivalence reached, but exceeded in a transhumanistic experience associated with technological singularity. For the most part looking at the near future, as Bill Joy, co-founder and former chief scientist at Sun Microsystems outlined in his Wired Magazine article entitled “Why The Future Doesn’t Need Us”, the combination of robotics, genetic engineering, and nanotechnology is having a profound, transformative affect on the integration of humans and machines— right now.

These changes in technology complement changes underway in two interrelated streams of development: energy and environment (specifically, an environment for life).

The diagram above illustrates how energy, an environment for life, and technology converge at a point of human equivalence and extend beyond into an unseen future. These three constitute a “strategic framework”” upon which updates on the rapid changes taking place along each line can be attached. These postings document the transition from dependence on fossil fuel to adopting alternative sources ranging from an established choice like nuclear to less advocated possibilities like solar, wind, and geo-thermal. They also include acknowledging the condition of the planet in its varying capacity to sustain life and tracking a commensurate bifurcation within agriculture toward globalization of fuel, fiber, and feed production and localization of food production for human consumption.

The central theme is that as convergence on human equivalence draws nearer, circumstances press us to reconsider and redefine our relationships with “the machine,”” the environment that sustains us, the sources of energy required make it all work, and, ultimately, one another. Although these responses and reactions are as unpredictable as the context that shapes them, our ongoing commentary on trends, conditions, and events within a logical, strategic framework guides the purposeful action and collective influence that ensues. The dawn of human equivalence is a clarion call to rise-up as individuals and co-determine destiny.

Originally posted to New Media Explorer by Steve Bosserman on Monday, August 29, 2005 and updated on Saturday, September 24, 2005

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