A Rapture for the Rich?
The other day my girlfriend Io brought up a good point: how will the singularity benefit all mankind if it’s rich people that will have access to these technologies? It’s certainly a valid question, one which I’ve thought about. Some science fiction writers have written of a dystopian future ruled by a race of transhumanists who oppress inferior humans. This is certainly not the oneness that I’ve been promoting in this blog, so I’ll have to argue why this won’t be an insurmountable problem.
Our economic system suffers from many ailments, for instance there are many delays between production, analysis, and consumer demand that cause major oscillations in the system, leading to recessions and peaks. if our economy was a person it would be bipolar. Another poison in the system is positive feedback loops, namely that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. the accumulation of 90% of the wealth in 10% if the population (figures vary country to country) is overall damaging to the whole system, just as colonialism hurt the colonized as well as the colonizer.
These problems in our system arise because our brains are too small to comprehend a thing as complex as our economy. I believe that supercomputers will greatly help us fix our system in time, and bring us more equality. Additionally, the cohesion in thought that the singularity will bring will certainly help us tackle our problems.
But here we arrive at a paradox, back where we began. If the rich transcend their bodies first and are able to communicate in novel ways, what’s to stop them from using these powers to continue to improve their position above others? Well, once again I must say that a smart person should know that in oppressing others you only oppress yourself. I would hope that rich people would gain this wisdom with their transcendence, however, even I see this as wishful thinking.
My true hope lies in the rest of humanity, and I see some pretty encouraging things happening. People are trying to put satellites into space to make the internet free for everyone. the Singularity University has its students find a way to help one billion people in ten years. Education and standard of living have been on an upward trend throughout history, and each time is certainly better than the time before. I acknowledge that at first there may be great inequality in this transition, but this cannot persist for long as money loses meaning (along with individuality and identity). The poverty
of billions of people on this planet is of utmost concern to those interested in the singularity, because by empowering them we truly empower ourselves.
update: I’ve written a newer article on wealth inequality, somewhat in light of the occupy wall street protests, but also other developments in my thoughts