I’m writing this in the explicit hope that I can get the folks over at Speculist to pick this up and run with it, but my theory is the REAL change brought on by all this singularity stuff will happen when there’s enough bandwidth and storage for the average person to understand how everything around him or her works.
Seriously. I’ve got an old jeep in the driveway. It’s a complicated machine which I could never build in an entire lifetime of hand-labor. And I’m not exactly shy about trying new craft projects I should really have left to others (as several mocking friends and relatives will gleefully confirm).
But give me some basic tools, and this:
and I can do a lot of the work I’d otherwise have to send to a garage. Now, whether it’s economically effective for me to do that work myself (often it’s not) is another issue. But I can look at where the parts go, figure it out, and go.
How about plumbing? Electrical wiring in your house? City sewer and transit systems? Highway bridges?
It’s a tall order to say that massive social change will happen when we can all work on our cars — but when we can all comprehend the rest of the physical and political infrastructure around us, and represent them in a way that aids this comprehension, vast social and political change will be upon us. For starters, it will cut the legs out from underneath progressivism’s assumption that technocrats need rule on our behalf. While that will discomfit political liberals, it will also provide cold comfort to the other sides of the aisle(s). If poorly-distributed, it could lead to techno-oligarchy (the informed making better decisions), or else it could lead to something radically less hierarchical and more communal.
It’s unlikely that it would empower Marx’ dream that one could be a fisherman in the morning, a painter in the afternoon, and write operas in the evening… for now, anyway, I suspect that not even brilliant software would make any opera of mine enjoyable. YET.