Not all people who believe in technology’s power to transform humanity are Singularitarians. Transhumanists, as their name implies, also expect technology to alter the species. “These are two communities that seem to have a connection,” says George Dvorsky, president of the Toronto Transhumanist Association. “It doesn’t necessarily mean that one follows the other. I happen to know many transhumanists who don’t buy into the Singularity at all.”The article also goes on to describe how interest in the TTA and local transhumanist chapters has waned in the past several years. I'm rather frustrated by Norbury's angle on this, which is to suggest that the fringe is getting fringier, and that good work isn't being done in these areas through other channels. The fact of the matter is that these ideas, namely the notion of human enhancement and the unknown potential for a greater-than-human artificial intelligence, are being addressed by a diverse and distributed group of individuals—and just as importantly, these ideas are slowly (but surely) being normalized into our daily discourse.
While both groups believe that rapid technological progress will radically reshape our lives, the Singularitarians believe a unified, superhuman intelligence is a necessary part of that change. Transhumanists believe no such super-intelligent entity is necessary. Either way, both believe that our future will be completely unrecognizable. “We are talking about transforming what it means to be human,” Dvorsky says.
Indeed, organizing local meet-ups are all fine and well, but that's not where the rubber hits the road. I've made a conscious effort over the past few years to devote most of my time and energy to my blog, Humanity+, and the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies where my outreach is considerably greater and more impactful than through a local chapter alone. Annoyingly, Norbury failed to make mention any of these and chose to focus on the TTA and chapter-level organizing which is no longer of any real interest to me.