What is the point of a beneficial Singularity? A challenging question because there are so many potential benefits. Some of the benefits I enjoy more might not be the same as the benefits you would enjoy. People can disagree.
What kind of Singularity happens depends on what kind of singleton we end up with, but we can wistful and optimistic, right? The Singularity I’m working towards would have the following components:
1) Invention of molecular nanotechnology or superior manufacturing technology, enabling the production of near-unlimited food, housing, clean water, and other products.
2) Enforcement of local “volitional bubbles” that reduce the rate of non-consensual violent crime to zero. I’d be curious to see how altruistic superintelligence or the CEV output would handle cases where people join “fight clubs” where the risk of death is part of the bylaws.
3) Unless the current overall system is objectively optimal even to an altruistic superintelligence, presumably this would be rearranged for the better as well, though exactly how and in light of what drives and freedoms is hard to say. Probably this won’t be a straightforward extension of the politics of the 21st century, like how human politics isn’t a straightforward extension of conodont politics.
4) Possible amplification and diversification of every single object, skill, or practice. So instead of a few general different types of asteroids they might become 10^12 different kinds of asteroids. At first I thought of saying “amplification and diversification of everything of which intelligence is capable”, but why not amplify and diversify everything in the entire cosmos? This would include art, music, aesthetics, “dance”, communication, “philosophy”, world building, etc.
5) Presumably, if the Church-Turing thesis is true and phenomenally conscious uploads are possible, then the mass conversion of matter into “computronium”, though maybe not all matter. The simple reason why is that this would allow more space, more joy, more possible experiences, more security, etc. If phenomenally conscious uploads are not possible, then similar actions in the same space might include making space colonies, or hollowing out the underground and pumping water, air, and sunlight down to create vast new living spaces.
6) The possibility of guided transformation of willing humans to superintelligence, through pathways determined to be of less “risk”, i.e., wireheading. How risk is defined will be partially subjective and partially objective, like most things.
7) Thoughtful preservation of the outlines of existing human societies and cultures (minus violence presumably, which is a central part of many cultures) by those who wish to do so. This would be in contrast to the default today, which is the disintegration of most cultures and integration into Anglosphere or east Asian hegemons.
8) The possibility of eliminating suffering and exploring “gradients of bliss” as everyday reality, along the lines of the Hedonistic Imperative. We might find that it is pleasant to increase our happiness set-points somewhat, or possibly even experiment with lowering them temporarily. We might find that it is pleasant to be in a state of revelatory or orgiastic bliss non-stop, or maybe not. A Singularity would at least give us the option of exploring those possibilities.
9) The potential of dispelling the mystery of human interactions by using “x-ray glasses” (advanced analytical AI linked directly to our brains, or part of our brains) to see their complex internal structure in a deterministic fashion, if only briefly, using fine-grained simulations. From the perspective of a higher intelligence, to what extent is human nature truly computationally “chaotic” in the sense of chaos theory, and to what extent is it entirely deterministic, like a Newtonian universe? We may be surprised by the answer.
10) Pursuit of higher aesthetics and moralities beyond the human realm. Hopefully whatever singleton we are stuck with still allows a wide berth for personal experimentation, perhaps with supervision by AI experts who have already “been there”. Surely there must exist interesting value systems and aesthetic points of view which we would be quite excited to experience which we have neither yet seen nor even thought of yet.
11) Exploration of the entire space of thoughts not only directly adjacent to the human realm, but also far beyond it. It sounds pretty simple to just state a sentence like that, but in practice such fringe ideas can instill powerful feelings of confusion, conflicting intuitions, and even awe when they turn out to be correct or useful. The purpose is not just exploring thoughtspace for its own sake but for the complex manifold of emotional and intellectual interactions that emerge from connecting disparate concepts and exploring the “outer solar system” of thought.
12) Most seriously and urgently, ending the orgy of killing and torture upon the human and conscious animal species by man, other animals, disease, environmental factors, and “other”.