The Singularity or Technological Singularity refers to a hypothetical future event where Artificial Intelligence vastly outperforms the abilities of the human mind. Due to the fact these Intelligences are, by definition, beyond Human comprehension it becomes difficult for us to imagine how such beings would behave or how the future may unfold beyond that point. Various commentators have provided varying dates for when this will occur and the implications it would have for humanity.
These predictions are largely based on the mathematical projections of Moore’s Law which has been accurately predicting the exponential growth of computers for over 50 years. These projections allow computer scientists to estimate the dates when certain computing projects (such as Brain Emulation) will be feasible, even if they are beyond the capabilities of today’s computers.
Eliezer Yudkowsky has observed that the varying perspectives on the Singularity can be broadly split into three different “major schools” - Accelerating Change (Ray Kurzweil), the Event Horizon (Vernor Vinge), and the Intelligence Explosion (I.J. Good).
The consequences of such an event range from Kurzweil’s largely positive predictions to Bill Joy’s existential pessimism outlined in his essay “Why the future doesn’t need us.”.
- Blog post by Eliezer S. Yudkowky on the Singularity.