Singapore and Technological Singularity

Image from IEEE

This article from the Institute of Ethics and Emerging Technologies  contains a wealth of useful background information of Singapore before reflecting on how our peculiar social, economic and political contexts and traits make us a prime candidate for the adoption of technological singularity (hypothetical future emergence of greater-than human intelligence through technological means) in future.

Singapore is an innovative and high tech country that puts special emphasis on fostering the knowledge society, innovation, and especially biosciences. Singapore is also a wealthy and business-oriented country, aiming to attract foreign investment and trade, and is considered to be one of the best places for foreign investors and business. Poor in natural resources, Singapore depends on knowledge and innovation to compete and survive […]

In general, it can be said that Singapore is a country for winners of the knowledge and innovation society, who are able to accept defined socio-political rules, regulations, and a limited democracy. In the future it is possible that democracy will open up in Singapore, but it’s easier to envision a kind of technocracy, with scientists and other professionals being entrusted with decision-making and governance. Those who are best at managing knowledge and education will be considered the best to rule the country.

This emphasis on knowledge, paired with high capacities in emerging sciences and technologies, could lead to Singapore’s increasing interest in and application of human enhancement technologies, especially related to intelligence enhancement, computer-based augmentation, and biotechnological enhancements. Health improvement and healthy life extension also could be on its future priority list, especially in face of the threat its aging society is expected to impose on the country.

The article then goes to expound on how such aims sit well with predominant cultural climate:

In a country governed by a technocratic science and knowledge elite, if that’s what happens, concerns and restrictions may be far less present than elsewhere. And as people of Chinese origin are the predominant ethnic group in Singapore (around 75% of the population), different ethical principles generally apply there as compared to most Western countries. These include positive attitudes toward wealth, longevity, education, science, and progress. However, as a high-tech nation, Singapore does not let the East Asian dimensions of tradition and consistency conflict with progress.

Do you foresee Singapore becoming a forerunner of  ‘technological singularity’ in future? 

Would such ideas sit well with morally or ethically with groups in Singapore society? 


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