From Singularity to Polysingularity: Evolutionary Approach

Short thesis

Evolution is based on adaptability, but the coming Singularity – when everything becomes connected to everything else – will reduce diversity, and, thus, decrease evolutionary potential. In this talk I introduce a modified notion of Singularity - Polysingularity – which embraces variability, diversity and irrationality. I propose various practical applications, ranging from creating divinatory recommender systems to cognitive psychosomatic practices to exemplify this approach.


Evolution proceeds through adaptation. Human beings are some of the most adaptable creatures on earth mainly because both our bodies and brains have various adaptation mechanisms hardwired into them. Those mechanisms emerged as a response to our environment, however, as the humanity is racing towards Singularity, we're starting to gradually delegate those adaptive mechanisms to the "cloud". 

But who operates the cloud and, more importantly, how? A few big monopolies who have to generate profit for their shareholders. They are concerned with growth, which is not the same thing as evolution. They dilute our capacity to be more adaptable by numbing our senses with algorithms and recommender systems, which reduce variability of our incoming data flows. The new "cloud" is being constructed based on the wrong principles.  Those who proclaim the coming of Singularity, proclaim the new world, which will be based on the islands of sameness linked by the toll-charge bridges run by the big corporations.

However, there is a different way. We need to introduce more variability practices into the "cloud", to make it more human. We already have a lot of software that's very logical and rational, we now need to build software that is irrational. We need recommender systems that offer us something that none of our friends know, to spur innovation. We need social networks that would push to our newsfeed the posts of the people that we don't like. We need ten different search engines that all find different things and in ten different ways, but not one.  This way we will maintain diversity and ensure that the capacity to adapt in hard-wired into the new cyberhumany we are creating.

The coming Singularity will then become Polysingularity: an interconnected network of internally diverse multiplicities, which maintain their specificity and yet interact on the global level. A kind of digital Europe minus the utopia of everybody becoming the same.