Cylons & Singularity

It seems that I’m not the only person who was thinking about singularity when discussing Cylon origins. The author of Unofficial BSG Blog quoted me and then went on to expand this concept:

I am not so sure it models an AI, but it might be similar in that the Cylon god is a generation of people who fully adopted technology to a point where they ceased being human and became the equivalent of an AI… or in Vinge’s logic passed into the singularity. There were those that feared this conversion event from man to machine to pure consciousness and fled the technology seeking a more pure and human existence. Those were the people that settled Kobol.

Soon, their origin story and original drive to live a pure life was forgotten. As the generations passed, their descendants slowly evolved and relied on technology until they themselves reached a level of AI and augmentation. The singularity approached again in this new location and the people of Kobol were forced to flee once more in search of new planets to colonize… and the cycle would continue… hence the concept in the show of everything that has happened before will happen again.

This is actually perfectly compatible with what I said. Cylons might be a little higher on the trophosophic ladder than humans because their machine brains can be tuned and tweaked into superhuman perfection. As such they are already beyond the singularity point.

Of course it is hard to theorize about trans-singularity intelligences in general (because from definition, we are not able to comprehend them) but we can make some assumptions. The highest, most evolved intelligence would usually be a AI – human like psyche, may not be elastic enough to transcend singularity. To do go beyond singularity the intelligence must become truly un-human. So while “Cylon God” might have started as an enhanced human or baseline Cylon clone – he/she is now far beyond humanity – it is probably a disembodied, digitized, enhanced and self programming intellect. Once you ditch biological shell, upload yourself to some gigantic computational construct (like a Matrioshka Brain) and completely reprogram your cognitive processes can you be still considered human? Or are you an AI?

The speculations continue in the comment section. One of the commenter’s writes:

My theories from an earlier comment were that the Lords of Kobol were not human and built 12 supercomputers which are the Human “gods”. Humans were the Lords’ servants (as the Cylons were created as servants for Humans). Just as the Cylons rebelled, the Humans also rebelled, destroying all but one supercomputer (thus gods vs. god).
The one “god” that remained has now built the human-like Cylons in order to destroy the Humans.

Again, very interesting. Lords of Kobol could have been AI constructs which fought for ascendancy. They didn’t have to be built – they might have spontaneously emerged by themselves. They were probably worshiped as gods well before they started fighting with each other. Whatever was left after their war merged into what we now know as Cylon God. Most of humans fled Kobol during the conflict and founded the colonies. Those who were left behind were enslaved and used to start mass production of the clones.

These are very interesting discussions. I’m really thrilled that other people picked up on this. For a little while, I thought maybe I am the only person who saw this connection there.


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