Will Corporations Try To Stop The Singularity?

Division by zero

Photo: CERN (CC)


“Corporations are People, my friend”
and they might be slowing down evolution, or even preventing Utopia.

The approaching Technological Singularity could bring drastic changes, such as rendering money obsolete via the destruction of scarcity-based ‘value’ systems. The time is not far-off when nano-replication of gold, diamond or other previously precious materials becomes possible, rendering most economic systems obsolete.

It is clear that legacy-age institutional forces will naturally fight for their survival and relevance. How hard will they fight and can they be influenced to be less resistant?

Human beings are confused and confusing creatures. We don’t have very clear goal systems, and are quite willing and able to adapt our top-level goals to the circumstances. I have little doubt that most humans will go with the flow as Singularity approaches.

But corporations are a different matter. Corporations are entities/organisms unto themselves these days, with wills and cognitive structures quite distinct from the people that comprise them. Public corporations have much clearer goal systems than humans: to maximize shareholder value.

And rather clearly, a Singularity is not a good way to maximize shareholder value. It introduces way too much uncertainty. Abolishing money and scarcity is not a good route to maximizing shareholder value — and nor is abolishing shareholders via uploading them into radical transhuman forms!



Don't Panic. I've been following conspiracy theories since you were in diapers and studying the UFO phenomenon since I could read. I'm here to reassure you that nobody is in control and the future is extremely uncertain. I've enjoyed a life-long fascination with science, philosophy, mysticism, spirituality, nature, transhumanism and the outer limits of human knowledge (ufos, cosmology, entheogens, consciousness, extreme art and music).
MIQEL.com is my website, the primary joys in life for me are being a musician, designer, artist/painter, researcher & Shabda Yoga practitioner. Also a huge fan of Bucky Fuller, Robert Anton Wilson, John Coltrane, Paul Laffoley, Tisziji Munoz & MST3K.

38 Comments on "Will Corporations Try To Stop The Singularity?"

  1. Megacorporations VS Cybernetic Overlord.

    I don’t know which side to root for.

  2. Colony Room | Aug 9, 2012 at 9:20 pm |

    Im pretty sure we’ll be wiped out by some mad geneticist’s genetic disease before or soon after any technological singularity. The thing I wish I understood more of before asking any of these questions is that of interacting ET’s who come to our planet. What do they do when they get here? Do they talk to anyone? Do they control what happens to us? Do they protect us or watch us or leave us alone? It’s a pretty open book and I would like to hear more of what they have to say about themselves. At least, to look at it this way- the near future doesnt always need to look so bleak.

    • Jjinsane1 | Sep 11, 2012 at 6:03 pm |

      We have no choice. They are already in the process of mutating our DNA into transhuman beings. Have doubts? Connect the dots and form your own opinion. Google the following: Morgellons, nano fibers,chemtrails,Gwen communication towers, haarp. Study that for a while then you will realize your reality is not, nor ever has been what you think it is. We are being manipulated right over our very heads…. thats a fact Jack.

  3. DrDavidKelly | Aug 9, 2012 at 9:46 pm |

    There wont be a singularity. It’s a problematic theory plagued with too many real life variables.

  4. “Will Corporations Try To Stop The Singularity” is a naive question. 

    The corporations and superwealthy who believe that they will profit from the technology leading to the Singularity and the Singularity itself *are* financing the Singularity lobby and PR – cultural events and co-opted people. What Silicon Valley money backs Singularity U? Are they doing this because they are conscious benefactors of humanity? Do they care if the amazing technological developments in progress are too expensive to benefit the 99%?The ones who think they’ll lose will oppose it, the battle will be fought in the media including Internet and in government in terms of laws, regulations (who’s behind the inaccurate hype about 3D printed guns?) regarding specific technologies, targeted tax breaks. Will the Koch Brothers-pwn3d politicians support renewable power and tax breaks for electric power and electric rail, etc? We know the answer.  Will owners of mines support mining the asteroids for resources which will be required to I’m not especially optimistic about getting to the Singularity. High technology requires a very large consumer base in order to create the economies of scale required to make it affordable for *anybody*, *including* the superwealthy.

    The side effects of the massive redistribution of wealth that started in the Reagan years (google on the “Powell memo” to see how this started and continues) are massively eroding this consumer base.Those who take the Singularity as an article of religious faith are accepting uncritically that the good that can result from this tipping point can happen without massive changes in distribution of wealth and power that will weaken the power of the elites to the point where they can not suppress the changes in how we do business required to survive global warming and other ecosystem crises, and which will protect the mass consumer base required to finance getting cool stuff from the lab to the real world. The purpose of religious dogma is to shut down the brains of the dogmatists.That is in part why the Singularity and transhumanism are not a mainstream belief among those with a deep understanding of public policy, economics, and politics, despite the value I see in these (or this) belief systems. 

    The basic assumptions need to be examined by people who share the belief system and are willing to do a contrarian analysis from a broader perspective which will take the messy “human factors” into account. We may get to a “shiny, happy people” transhuman civilization, but not if the people who actually know what they are talking about can’t be brought on board because they know these factors have been completely ignored.Do these contrarian people exist within the movement? Wish I could believe it.

    What’s the most likely human future? Read Jared Diamond’s book Collapse, and reflect on the fact that we now have a single worldwide transnational elite instead of the national elites of olld who could only destroy their own nations/societies.

    Is transhumanism / singulartariasm part of the problem or part of the solution? The people in this scene have the potential to be either.I am not optimstic and wish I could be.

    • Monkey See Monkey Do | Aug 10, 2012 at 6:30 pm |

      I liked your points. RAW also made alot of good points about self-fulfilling prophecy, thats why I try and be an eternal optimist.

      • What have the corporate $ingularitarians done for transhumanists? 

        Do their corporate lobbyists fight to get biohacking legalized so that people who want to be changed can go to doctors to have devices implanted, and that doctors willing to participate in this kind of experimentation can do so without fear of losing their licenses? Do they fight to get Obamacare coverage for people who try biohacks that fail on the basis that the pioneers in this area are doing this for the benefit of humanity?

        Or do they simply fight for tax breaks for their corporations and superwealthy owners, and public funding for their projects when they think they can get away with it? (any resemblance between what’s in this paragraph and the neoliberal upward transfer of wealth agenda is uncool and therefore must be coincidence, right?)

        What’s corporate $ingulartarianism about? Read this: 
        Singularity University Tightens Grip on Student Startups
        wake up and smell the coffee.

        Fair usage quote:  “‘If you asked me now, ‘Would you like to come to SU?’ I would say ‘Yes, for the first five [of ten] weeks,’ because they gather an incredible group of people. But the last [three] weeks is about working on a company SU is going to [partially] own. … And they can take it out of your hands forever.”

        This is not “the future”, this is high-tech business as usual greenwashed by ‘new, k3wl’ symbolism.

  5. The only thing to get is money | Aug 10, 2012 at 2:28 am |

    Oh wow! This singularity nonsense has to be put to rest. 20 to 30 years from now we’ll all look back on this and have a great laugh at Kurzweil and his off the wall theories. 

    For anything of his to even remotely happen it would take AT LEAST 100 years and that’s if we don’t destroy either ourselves or our inventions in that time frame.

    And even if his singularity happens, ie. the merger of biology and technology, he and all us commenting will be LONG DEAD!

  6. zombieslapper | Aug 10, 2012 at 4:34 am |

    My utopia doesn’t involve being ruled over by those “special” enough to become robots.

  7. TapMeYouFascists | Aug 10, 2012 at 12:02 pm |

    Bad news yall; the Singularity has been indefinitely postponed due to the fact that it is a myth (in the Joseph Campbell sense of the word). The accompanying myths of scientific understanding being objective and that of linear historical progress, reinforce this re-tread of the Messiah motif. Only doomed cultures require salvation. If you wish to see the regularity that any rejuvenation movement in Empire Culture is successful on a broad scale then study a little history. They usually don’t go well. Usually they are characterized by ecological collapse, starvation, plague, and war.

    No. In the times that are coming, we will have to make our way with the living places where we reside. It’s either that or go mad and starve (most are pursuing this option these days). Robots aren’t going to save us; our neighbors just might. Our salvation won’t come from abstraction in the highest order, or likely at all, but MAYBE on an individual level when we set ourselves in service to our ecosystems and communities.

  8. Kurzweil’s singularity is a dystopian vision

  9. You understand that no countries still operate on “scarcity-based value systems”, but on systems of credit based on their countries economic health, right? International trade organizations like the UE and NAFTA haven’t used gold as a currency basis in decades.

  10. If corporations were people they would have a conscience… hence corporations are not people.

  11. all these post with elaborate words yet many fail to see the difference between transhumanism and the singularitarians, but if there is to be a technological singularity it will most likely be achieved by transhumanists.

    • in the US, transhumanism fell into the singularity and never came out. It’s my understanding that it is different elsewhere. Too bad, the transhuman concept of “better humans through technology” is IMO, plain common sense, mainstream SF, and where the technology is going. I mean “better” as in with augmented capability, of course.

  12. Thomasm144 | Sep 14, 2012 at 6:39 pm |

    Why confine the concept of a “singularity” to technology? Why not knowledge itself? Corporations facilitate the singularity. The proponents of the singularity facilitate a recursive augmentation of its’ processes, as a means of self-expansion, as a motivator and agent of control. 

    As far as I can tell, all any type of singularity would facilitate is potentially irreconcilable chaos. Human history is a repetition of circumcentric mega-cycles. The proponents, of course, being corporations. Democracy, then chaos, then theocracy, then aristocracy, then democracy, or we could just leave it to four horsemen… A singularity would destroy humanity’s capacity to force history to repeat itself, and in the process, represent a slow sludge away from the defining moment of our capacity, that is, the instinctive and noble stupidity with which we face the Brave used New used World that is whatever instance we find ourselves socially instantiate. 

    The question is, is this good? Judging by the pre-dominant influence of corporate mechanisms, probably not. It’s possible they could capitulate a simulated singularity, well, anything’s possible. All that can be said for sure is that currently, we are chaotic consequent democracy. Back to Howth Castle and Environs! A. Lizard- Humans with augmented capabilities? Are we really that fucking stupid? Do we WANT to give our species transhuman capabilities with programmed recursive modalities? Unless of course we want to start the experiment all over again, which isn’t a bad idea in and of itself. 

    • Anybody who says “the singularity will” in any context other than reasonable extrapolation from what’s known about technology, science, and learning curves is probably talking nonsense. Your concept that we need an improved human nature to make this work without disaster is held by quite a few Singulartarians. 

      We aren’t remotely close enough to understanding what human nature is based on scientific observation to understand what “improved human nature” really means.  Maybe neuroscience and understanding of biological processes will improve to the point in a generation or so where we can actually have a meaningful discussion of what “improved human nature” really means. What happens if we engineer humans for more cooperation and less aggression? 

      “What Can Go Wrong?”

      There are good reasons why the SF novels and movies that show attempts to “improve human nature” in practice are almost invariably descriptions of disasters and dystopias. 

      The first generation of augmentation tech is already out in the form of consumer products, Google’s contribution in the form of Google Glass is next year. 

      • Thomasm144 | Sep 15, 2012 at 10:07 am |

        And as always, we will introduce our technology before we have means to anticipate its’ effects. The understanding of human history is based on learning curves. My prediction is that most of this will augment the current humans’ capacity to be what is considered a “good” consumer, under the veil of “improved” human capabilities. And the whole thing was based off of reasonable extrapolation from what’s known about technology and learning curves, if not science included. Are you familiar with Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake? The entire book is a key to navigating the electric technologies manifest and proliferate throughout the twentieth century until today. 

        I don’t know what would happen if we engineered humans for more cooperation and less aggression. Why not just be, y’know, pragmatic and institute terminal eugenics/euthanasia? If there were just three or four billion less people on Earth, it’d be a near idyll. The sad fact is, such a reduction in the figure of our population would not make a difference whatsoever. Preserve a sizable quantity of workers and consumers, preserve a greater quantity of intellectual and physical specimens. Other than the obvious issues of ethicality and corporate influence, which to be fair, how many people actually live- think and learn and laugh and love, and at some point, leave? How many can lay claim to that, actually individuating and… progressing therefrom? A very small percentage. 

        • I’ve read enough Robert Anton Wilson to put Finnegan’s Wake on the “must read sooner or later” list.

          As for your “forcibly reducing the population concept for the same of the environment”(not new), this is a “how do we make the people ride public transit for the same of the environment” said by wealthy liberals who are “too important to waste time riding the bus” on a larger scale. 

          To push a meme in the face of the rational common response “YOU try the Kool-Aid first!” takes serious public relations budget.

          I’m probably the wrong guy to discuss your ideas about the with, you might find people at http://hplusmagazine.com/ (Singularity Institute project) willing to take your ideas seriously. 

  13. Thomasm144 | Sep 14, 2012 at 7:18 pm |

    TapMeYouFascists- What you said really is true. Opened my eyes to another perspective, that is, one which differs from social isolation. 

    Is the wheel an extension of the sun? If so, then all spokes must unite- and they do, at a hub. Hmm. New wine, new wine bottles. 

  14. Yomom Sofat | Oct 8, 2012 at 4:16 pm |


  15. Yomom Sofat | Oct 8, 2012 at 4:16 pm |


  16. An indisputable law of nature is that those who fail to adapt, forfeit the right to exist. It is as true now in the information age as it was in the age of the dinosaurs.

    • Too bad that using the government as a rent-seeking tool is just as workable as a short-run adaptive strategy as is designing better goods and services. Ask Apple Corp. how that works.

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