EF49 Show Notes

The Domino Effect: The Momentum of an Unstoppable Future


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DEDICATION: Episode EF49 is dedicated to Ray Kurzweil, a futurist and an advocate of the transhumanist movement and the Singularity. Transhumanism is a theory predicting that human evolution is possible (and likely) outside of biological limitations. Using exponential graphs of technology trends as predictive mechanisms, Kurzweil speculates that a machine will pass the Turing Test by the year 2029. He further believes the Singularity will happen by 2045, which is the point in time where artificial intelligence will match, and then drastically skyrocket beyond, human intelligence. This intelligence explosion is expected to have radical implications for humanity and the earth.

Unlike some scientists and thinkers, Kurzweil has a generally optimistic perspective on the technological future of AI and superintelligence into which humanity is heading. His predictions are intimidating. But like it or not, we are at a technium where technology is changing the face of humanity and our planet so rapidly that it’s impossible to even keep up with a single industry creating the future, let alone all of them. This might be both humanity’s biggest challenge, and brightest opportunity, yet. 

Will we look back at our history in a century or two and laugh at what primitive apes we were in 2020, having at that point overcome every single problem we’ve ever faced? Or will there be nothing looking back from that time which we could even call … human? If Kurzweil is correct, we’ll have some hints at these answers in about 25 years; which is, not coincidentally, the same timeline of Season Two of the Evolve Faster Podcast. Stay tuned …

Learn more about Ray Kurzweil:


INSPIRATIONS: Episode EF49 is further inspired by … Nick Bostrom, Søren Kierkegaard. 


In the year 2045, a physicist named Sam Payne is creating increasingly large black holes on demand using an advanced particle accelerator. At the end of a 30-yr quest to understand the nature of reality and our existence, she is convinced the answer lies on the other side of these dark portals. As she rips through the fabric of space-time of her world, confidence in her plan crumbles as everything she — and the rest of humanity — holds dear edges towards the abyss. Will she meet her maker? And how far is too far in search of the truth?

Although the distant future is unknowable, we try to predict, or rather, create, how the future will look. Unlike philosophical theories that deal with the present and the past, futurism benefits far less from current or previous knowledge. A small, influential, tech-obsessed class is focusing the evolutionary trajectory of humanity towards an artificial intelligence-based, transhuman existence. But will this solve our problems and lead to a superior existence, or just exacerbate and reframe our issues into a more high-tech box? And does our obsession of what’s to come blind us of the point of being alive — and being human — in the present?


Dave Schilling, Can You Become ‘Virtually Immortal’? A Silicon Valley Startup Thinks So. Theguardian.com, www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/apr/20/eternime-immortal-chatbots-silicon-valley-startup-can-you-cheat-death (Accessed: Dec 2, 2019)

James Temperton, ‘Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds’. The story of Oppenheimer’s infamous quote. Wired.co.uk, https://www.wired.co.uk/article/manhattan-project-robert-oppenheimer (Accessed: Dec 2, 2019)

Ned Markosian, Time. Plato.stanford.edu, www.plato.stanford.edu/entries/time/ (Accessed: Dec 2, 2019)

Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology. 2006, Penguin. 

Tad Friend, Silicon Valley’s Quest to Live Forever. newyorker.com, www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/04/03/silicon-valleys-quest-to-live-forever (Accessed: Dec 2, 2019)


episode quotes

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EF49 (S2-E10): The Domino Effect: The Momentum of an Unstoppable Future

Why does it take near death — or near transcendence — to recognize that it’s the small moments which matter? Perhaps we don’t need to create meaning after all; it’s right in front of us at all times.

EF49 (S2-E10): The Domino Effect: The Momentum of an Unstoppable Future

Technology is like a powerful drug. It can make you a better version of yourself. Or, it can make you miserable, dependent, and blind to reality; even worse, it can make you useless.

EF49 (S2-E10): The Domino Effect: The Momentum of an Unstoppable Future

Technology enabled us to prosper, multiply and flourish. But it is becoming a sledgehammer for the wealthy to drive a massive wedge between themselves and the rest.

EF49 (S2-E10): The Domino Effect: The Momentum of an Unstoppable Future

You didn’t pick your genes, culture, or environment. You can’t even control your next thought. Free will is an illusion … and not a very good one.

EF49 (S2-E10): The Domino Effect: The Momentum of an Unstoppable Future

Season Two, Episode Ten: Humanity’s relationship to the future is like falling dominoes, where the momentum of the present surges forward to create what’s next. But since our actions enact this cause-effect chain, does this mean the future is knowable? Or do humans not even matter in this cosmic cycle?