Famed linguist and political thinker and activist Noam Chomsky dismisses the technological singularity as science fiction. In an interview hosted by the Singularity Weblog, Chomsky states that the problems facing technological researchers in fields such as artificial intelligence are “colossal” in scope, and the solutions to such problems may be beyond human capacities. When discussing the advancing technology as a sign of social progress, he employs a moral and political criterion to judge whether technology can be said truly to represent progress. “It depends on what it’s used for. Let’s take robots on assembly lines. If it’s used to free up the work force for more creative work–say controlling production and making decisions about it, finding creative ways to act, and so on–then it’s for the good. If it’s used as a device to maximize profit and to throw people into the trashcan, then it’s not good.”
“If [technology is] used as a device to maximize profit and to throw people into the trashcan, then it’s not good.”
Is Chomsky just being a crabby old man? Doesn’t he realize that the exponentially increasing rate of technology will reach a critical mass that will ultimately re-write the rules of economics and politics?