Wake Up and Smell The Singularity
In 1992, I presented a draft business plan to the investor community in Phoenix, Arizona. The idea was to build Ethernet networks throughout residential neighborhoods in order to connect them to local schools and businesses. I was met with blank stares and responses like, “You mean a BBS?”
Uh, no, I don’t mean a BBS, I mean leapfrog the incumbent carriers, build the real internet and Accelerate Change while simultaneously build wealth beyond your wildest dreams. I was talking about being a positive force for good in the world. In 1992, I had absolutely no way to know that a little piece of software named Mosaic was being developed at the same time. I was pleading with seemingly intelligent people to not just get their tickets for the coming market rocket ride, I was suggesting the opportunity to Build A Rocket and join the coming cyberspace race. Nobody yet knew it would be called, cyberspace. I only knew that it was as obvious as the blue sky.
The experts literally suggested I get psychiatric help because, after all, what could a burned out house painter from Phoenix, Arizona possibly comprehend about the future of technology? Instead, I set forth to build the first Ethernet To The Home networks in the world. It took eight more years to go from 30 y.o. college drop-out construction worker to local junior college valedictorian, to Stanford University graduate and co-architect of the first operational network that most cable and telco carriers are only now, finally, converging upon.
I didn’t know it at the time, but in some way The Singularity had snatched me up from wherever the hell it was it found me. I don’t mean to imply that the Singularity is some bizarre spiritual experience or enlightenment, it’s really just an evolutionary potentiality. I just happen to be hear at the same time as a bunch of other humans experiencing this enthralling time of transition. As I see it, the singularity is an entirely natural phenomenon that some human beings seem to perceive as clearly as they do the earth, the sea, or the sky, and which many simply cannot comprehend, through no fault of their own.
Hubris is one of the greatest obstacles, if not The Dark Force shadowing those who responsibly contemplate these things. The first extropians bear a grave obligation to future generations, indeed. I am tempted to say that not since the penning of the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution, has so much been at stake, for so many. But it’s much more than that. The rules we establish, the gateways, the allocation of tickets for admission to this new kind of human experience are fare more significant than the establishing the cannon of scripture, which literally shaped millenia. We are indeed, as a speciees, on the cusp of a post-superstition, post-human future. Where it goes from here, is entirely up to us.