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 Super-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 the Singularity 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 “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.”.
- 3 Schools Blog by Eliezer Yudkowsky on the Singularity and the Three Major Schools.
- Hard Take-Off Blog by Eliezer Yudkowsky
- Speculations Concerning the First Ultraintelligent Machine by I.J. Good
- Why the future doesn’t need us Bill Joy’s artcle for Wired magazine.
- The Coming Technological Singularity Essay by Vernor Vinge
- Singularity TED Talk by Ray Kurzweil YouTube
- The Singularity Three Major Schools of Thought Singularity Summit Talk by Eliezer Yudkowsky