Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States. Please give as you are able, and help support our work for a brighter future.

Search the IEET
Subscribe and Contribute to:

Technoprogressive? BioConservative? Huh?
Quick overview of biopolitical points of view

whats new at ieet

We Were Wrong About Limiting Children’s Screen Time

NASA Was about to Eat Itself — Then Private Enterprise Stepped In

Robert Reich on Basic Income

How the Universe Could Annihilate Itself at the Speed of Light

Le syndrome 1984 ou Gattaca

How we can start winning the war against cancer

ieet books

Philosophical Ethics: Theory and Practice
John G Messerly


almostvoid on 'How the Universe Could Annihilate Itself at the Speed of Light' (Oct 26, 2016)

mjgeddes on 'Can we build AI without losing control over it?' (Oct 25, 2016)

rms on 'Can we build AI without losing control over it?' (Oct 24, 2016)

spud100 on 'For the unexpected innovations, look where you'd rather not' (Oct 22, 2016)

spud100 on 'Have you ever inspired the greatest villain in history? I did, apparently' (Oct 22, 2016)

RJP8915 on 'Brexit for Transhumanists: A Parable for Getting What You Wish For' (Oct 21, 2016)

instamatic on 'What democracy’s future shouldn’t be' (Oct 20, 2016)

Subscribe to IEET News Lists

Daily News Feed

Longevity Dividend List

Catastrophic Risks List

Biopolitics of Popular Culture List

Technoprogressive List

Trans-Spirit List


Enframing the Flesh: Heidegger, Transhumanism, and the Body as “Standing Reserve”

Moral Enhancement and Political Realism

Intelligent Technologies and Lost Life

Hottest Articles of the Last Month

Blockchain Fintech: Programmable Risk and Securities as a Service
Oct 22, 2016
(4579) Hits
(0) Comments

IEET Fellow Stefan Sorgner to discuss most recent monograph with theologian Prof. Friedrich Graf
Oct 3, 2016
(4317) Hits
(0) Comments

Space Exploration, Alien Life, and the Future of Humanity
Oct 4, 2016
(4100) Hits
(1) Comments

All the Incredible Things We Learned From Our First Trip to a Comet
Oct 6, 2016
(3120) Hits
(0) Comments

IEET > Vision > Futurism > Staff > Marcelo Rinesi

Print Email permalink (0) Comments (6197) Hits •  subscribe Share on facebook Stumble This submit to reddit submit to digg

Book Review: “Singularity Rising,” by James D. Miller

Marcelo Rinesi
By Marcelo Rinesi
Ethical Technology

Posted: Nov 18, 2012

Singularity Rising is very much the book it wants to be. Whether it’s a book that you will find interesting or useful will very much depend on your current state of mind regarding the likelihood and details of an intelligence Singularity.

The book approaches the question of the Singularity with a curious mixture of breadth and dept. Neither a tightly reasoned overview nor a detailed exploration of a particular area, it covers instead a huge swathe of topics held together by the underlying idea of a coming Singularity, passing over certain core questions with the quick dismissals, and providing intriguing details on interesting but relatively secondary ones. The result is the paradox of an impressionist large-scale map of breathtaking speed and uneven details, which is perhaps the appropriate emotional tone for the topic.

What the book isn’t, is an skeptical engagement with the question of the possibility or likelihood of a Singularity. Its asseverations are backed by quotes that are neither part of the broad scientific consensus nor assessed against competing arguments (if nothing else, to dispel them). It takes as givens the convictions and predictions of highly intelligent and well-known people over issues that, nonetheless, still remain unsettled in the wider scientific and technological community.

Because of this, the book is unlikely to change the mind of anyone who has already engaged the issue and found problems with the Singularity as a predictive model for technological development.

Also, the book won’t open any new vistas to people already taken with the idea; most of the quotes and scenarios will be known to them. However, the laundry list of possibilities will not be unwelcome, and there are parts, owning to the author’s training as an economist, where he implements useful and novel forms of scenario modeling (always within the book’s overarching set of assumptions).

This points to my only regret related to the book. The same tools and style of analysis, applied to a wider set of scenarios and engaging the very question of whether a Singularity is at all possible or likely, would have made the book a more substantive contribution to the conversation.

But it’s not fair to judge books against goals they didn’t intend to achieve. Miller is clearly convinced about the possibility and likelihood of the Singularity, and, based on his assessment, has written a dazzling overview of paths, inferences, and implications. It won’t convince an skeptic, but it will be an enjoyable and mind-blowing experience to anybody who first encounters the admittedly fascinating ideas described in the book.

Singularity Rising: Surviving and Thriving in a Smarter, Richer, and More Dangerous World, James D. Miller

Marcelo Rinesi is the IEET's Chief Technology Officer, and former Assistant Director. He is also a freelance Data Intelligence Analyst.
Print Email permalink (0) Comments (6198) Hits •  subscribe Share on facebook Stumble This submit to reddit submit to digg


YOUR COMMENT (IEET's comment policy)

Login or Register to post a comment.

Next entry: Lisa Ellerby – Fixing the Brain with Huntington’s Disease

Previous entry: Presentation about the Zero State Fund (ZSF)


RSSIEET Blog | email list | newsletter |
The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States.

East Coast Contact: Executive Director, Dr. James J. Hughes,
56 Daleville School Rd., Willington CT 06279 USA 
Email: director @     phone: 860-428-1837

West Coast Contact: Managing Director, Hank Pellissier
425 Moraga Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611
Email: hank @