Preparing for The Super Convergence: Rise of The Bio-Info-Nano Singularity

London, UK - 21st April 2011, 9:10 GMT

Dear ATCA Open & Philanthropia Friends

[Please note that the views presented by individual contributors are not necessarily representative of the views of ATCA, which is neutral. ATCA conducts collective Socratic dialogue on global opportunities and threats.]

In 1900, Lord Kelvin famously stated, "There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement." Five years later, Albert Einstein published his paper on special relativity, which challenged the very simple set of rules laid down by Newtonian mechanics, which had been used to describe force and motion for more than two hundred years.

Rise of The Bio-Info-Nano Singularity

Asymmetric Opportunities and Risks

Information and communication technologies -- of all kinds -- double their power measured in terms of price performance, capacity and bandwidth almost every year. As a result, we are witnessing accelerating trends of exponential growth in the Bio-Info-Nano (BIN) revolution unfolding all around us. Just as soon as we have grasped the relevance of some new BIN innovation, we are challenged by yet more extraordinary discoveries and inventions that completely overwhelm our expectations and understanding. The paradigm shifts, taken together, present asymmetric opportunities for unparalleled growth as well as rising asymmetric risks for humankind's globalised structure, its sustainability and longevity. This phenomenon of constant acceleration in new technologies is referred to as the Bio-Info-Nano Singularity by ATCA.

Super Convergence of The Bio-Info-Nano (BIN) Singularity

The rise of the BIN Singularity suggests that technological progress is reaching such an extremely high, near infinite, value at a point in the near future that it will be impossible to predict what happens next based on extrapolations of past experience. In fact, that experience may be an obstacle to grasping the paradigm shift, which is forcing a multi-generational change. A Singularity is a point at which an otherwise continuous mathematical progression becomes infinite, implying that all continuous extrapolation breaks down beyond that point.

Known and Unknown Unknowns Multiply

Dramatic changes in the rate of world economic growth have occurred in the past because of technological advancement. Based on population growth, the global economy doubled every 250,000 years from the Palaeolithic era until the Neolithic Revolution. This new agricultural economy began to double every 900 years, a significant increase. In the current era, beginning with the Industrial Revolution, the world’s economic output has doubled as an average, every fifteen years, sixty times faster than during the agricultural era. As the rise of the Bio-Info-Nano (BIN) Singularity causes a similar revolution one could expect economic output to double much faster with the requirement for remarkably little human labour or intervention, and this may challenge our assumptions for future global economic growth and stability. It may not be business as usual.

Reverse Engineering The Human Brain

The human capacity for information processing is limited, yet there is an accelerating change in the development and deployment of new technology. This relentless wave upon wave of new information and technology causes an overload on the human mind by eventually flooding it. The resulting acopia -- inability to cope -- has to be solved by the use of ever more sophisticated information intelligence which reverse engineers the human brain. Extrapolating these capabilities suggests the near-term emergence and visibility of self-improving neural networks, artificial intelligence, quantum algorithms, quantum computing and super-intelligence. This metamorphosis is so much beyond present human capabilities that it becomes impossible to understand it with the pre-conceptions and conditioning of the present mindset, societal make-up and existing technology.

Thinking In New Ways

At some point in the not too distant future, non-biological intelligence will combine the subtlety and pattern recognition strength of human intelligence, with the speed, memory, and knowledge sharing of machine intelligence. This new generation of human-like machines capable of performing mental and physical tasks as capably as humans are likely to cause a rise in wages for extraordinary jobs at which humans can still outperform machines. However, a proliferation of human-like machines is likely to cause a net drop in ordinary wages, as humans compete with robots and soft-bots for jobs. Also, the wealth of the technological singularity may be concentrated in the hands of a few who own the means of mass producing the intelligent robot and soft-bot workforce. The Bio-Info-Nano Singularity is a transcendence to a wholly new regime of mind, society and technology, in which we have to learn to think in a new way in order to survive as a species. Why? Non-biological intelligence will continue to evolve exponentially whereas biological intelligence is effectively limited and fixed in terms of physical boundary conditions unless it begins to explore its connectivity with the infinite.

Intelligence Explosion

I J Good, in 1965, first wrote of an "intelligence explosion", suggesting that if machines could even slightly surpass human intellect, they could improve their own designs in ways unforeseen by their designers, and thus recursively augment themselves into far greater intelligences. The first such improvements might be small, but as the machines become more intelligent they would self-innovate, which could lead to a cascade of self-improvements and a sudden surge towards super-intelligence. This could now happen via the Bio-Info-Nano Singularity.

Modelling The Future

Vernor Vinge, in 1982, proposed that the creation of smarter-than-human intelligence represented a breakdown in humans' ability to model their future. The argument was that authors cannot write realistic characters who are smarter than humans. If humans could visualise smarter-than-human intelligence, we would be that smart ourselves. Vinge named this event "the Singularity". He compared it to the breakdown of the prevalent model of physics when it was used to model the gravitational Singularity beyond the event horizon of a black hole.

Sudden Growth

Ray Kurzweil, in 1999, generalised the Singularity to apply it to the sudden growth of any technology -- in a similar way to ATCA's Bio-Info-Nano Singularity Super Convergence -- not just intelligence. He argued that Singularity is inevitably implied by a long-term pattern of accelerating change that generalises Moore's law to technologies predating the integrated circuit, and includes material technology especially as applied to nanotech, medical technology and other disciplines.


Aubrey de Grey, in 2000, applied the term "Methuselarity" to the point at which medical technology improves so fast that expected human lifespan increases by more than one year per year.

Quantum Jumps in Economic Growth

Robin Hanson, in 2008, taking the term "Singularity" as opposed to "Paradigm Shift" to refer to sharp increases in the exponent of economic growth, lists the agricultural and industrial revolutions as past singularities. Although, his use of the term Singularity may be disputed. Extrapolating from such past events, Hanson suggests that the next economic Singularity should increase economic growth between 60 and 250 times. He conveniently ignores the resource constraints. Innovations, manifest as a result of the Bio-Info-Nano Singularity's approach, that allow for the replacement of virtually all human labour and material resources, could supposedly trigger such an event.

Redundancy & Irrelevance

The key question: What is globalised human society going to do with the mass of under-employed or unemployed human beings that are rendered irrelevant or redundant by the fast approaching Super Convergence of the Bio-Info-Nano Singularity?


We continue to strive to understand and to facilitate the ethical research, development and deployment of exponentially advancing Bio-Info-Nano (BIN) technologies for the benefit of the environment and humankind. We seek to work together both within the ATCA 5000 and beyond to apply, to focus and to guide these neo-renaissance Bio-Info-Nano tools to address humanity’s collective grand challenges in the 21st century. Much remains to be done to communicate the critical ethics, risks, effects and potential benefits of Bio-Info-Nano (BIN) technologies to the world at large. Promoting BIN advances through the creation of new businesses, new research directions and new collaborations remains central to our vision.


We are hosting an Expert roundtable on this issue at ATCA 24/7 on Yammer.


Expert Roundtables

Expert roundtables are the newly launched ATCA 24/7 Q&A private exclusive club service. They seek to become the killer application in strategic intelligence by delivering an unprecedented competitive advantage to our distinguished members. They can only be accessed online at https://www.yammer.com/atca

Q1: How to become a privileged member of ATCA 24/7 to participate in the expert roundtables?

A1: i. If you are a distinguished member of ATCA 5000, ATCA Open, The Philanthropia or HQR affiliated groups you may be allowed to become a privileged member of this new and exclusive private club.

ii. If you are pre-invited, visit the private intelligence network -- PIN -- by going to https://www.yammer.com/atca [Note: In https:// 's' is for security and encryption]

iii. If you don't have membership of the PIN yet, email the mi2g Intelligence Unit at intelligence.unit at mi2g dot com for an exclusive invitation.

Q2: How to participate in the expert roundtables and get domain-specific strategic intelligence questions answered?

A2: Access the ATCA 24/7 Private Intelligence Network -- PIN -- online and ask or answer a strategic intelligence question, no matter how complex. Receive expert answers within 24 hours or get pointers from:

i. ATCA 5000 experts who are online;
ii. ATCA Research and Analysis Wing; and
iii. mi2g Intelligence Unit.

Q3: Why is the ATCA 24/7 Q&A Exclusive Club special?

A3: ATCA 24/7 has now created an exclusive private intelligence watering hole and expert roundtable at the highest level where interesting and sophisticated questions are being asked from around the world, and intelligent answers are being provided, almost always by experts who have deep domain-specific knowledge. Come and check out the exclusive club, take it for a strategic test drive, which sign-of-intelligent life are you waiting for?

To learn more about "The Expert Roundtable: ATCA 24/7 Q&A Club" email: intelligence.unit at mi2g.com and if you are already a member visit https://www.yammer.com/atca

We welcome your thoughts, observations and views. To reflect further on this subject and others, please respond within Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn's ATCA Open and related discussion platform of HQR. Should you wish to connect directly with real time Twitter feeds, please click as appropriate:

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Best wishes

ATCA: The Asymmetric Threats Contingency Alliance is a philanthropic expert initiative founded in 2001 to resolve complex global challenges through collective Socratic dialogue and joint executive action to build a wisdom based global economy. Adhering to the doctrine of non-violence, ATCA addresses asymmetric threats and social opportunities arising from climate chaos and the environment; radical poverty and microfinance; geo-politics and energy; organised crime & extremism; advanced technologies -- bio, info, nano, robo & AI; demographic skews and resource shortages; pandemics; financial systems and systemic risk; as well as transhumanism and ethics. Present membership of ATCA is by invitation only and has over 5,000 distinguished members from over 120 countries: including 1,000 Parliamentarians; 1,500 Chairmen and CEOs of corporations; 1,000 Heads of NGOs; 750 Directors at Academic Centres of Excellence; 500 Inventors and Original thinkers; as well as 250 Editors-in-Chief of major media.

The Philanthropia, founded in 2005, brings together over 1,000 leading individual and private philanthropists, family offices, foundations, private banks, non-governmental organisations and specialist advisors to address complex global challenges such as countering climate chaos, reducing radical poverty and developing global leadership for the younger generation through the appliance of science and technology, leveraging acumen and finance, as well as encouraging collaboration with a strong commitment to ethics. Philanthropia emphasises multi-faith spiritual values: introspection, healthy living and ecology. Philanthropia Targets: Countering climate chaos and carbon neutrality; Eliminating radical poverty -- through micro-credit schemes, empowerment of women and more responsible capitalism; Leadership for the Younger Generation; and Corporate and social responsibility.

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