Singularity. It is a word that you may have heard before. It is a term that points to the moment when we either create, or gain an intelligence that surpasses a human level. Many people believe that this moment will be achieved through Artificial Intelligence. This theory states that we will build something outside of ourselves (A.I.), which will have superhuman intelligence. Another theory states that we ourselves will be the agents of superhuman thought, through the combining of our physical bodies with modern technology. This topic brings up a vast amount of questions and theories, and it is my hope that in this series you will feel that you have learned a lot about something that is inevitably affecting our society. In this post, we will go over basic theories on the Singularity, and expand on its definition.
In some ways, the Singularity cannot be summed up into one moment. When we think of things like A.I., we tend to think of their creation sort of like Dr. Frankenstein and his monster. He turns on a switch and then instantly the monster is alive. However, Artificial Intelligence isn’t quite like that. It takes a lot of testing, research, and prototypes. When you think about it though, you will realize that we already have versions of A.I. that help us on a daily basis. We have Siri, and Google speech recognition that lets us access the largest database of information in history, all at the sounds of our voices, and without any physical input. We can never get lost anymore, because of the Global Positioning System, which we have instant access to from the devices in our pockets, and we can learn anything from Snoop Dogg’s birthday, to quantum physics, all within seconds.
Many would say, myself included, that we have already reached a Singularity in a sense. It’s like I stated earlier, the Singularity cannot be summed up into one moment. It instead is going to come slowly over time until one day we realize what has happened. We are seeing this phenomenon already taking over our culture in little ways. Think back to 15 years ago. If you were having a conversation with your friend about what year Pink Floyd’s album, Dark Side of the Moon was released, you would have to go to a record store to find out the answer. Now, we instantly solve those silly squabbles with the power of the internet and the tiny rectangles that we keep in our pockets. The internet gives us access to all of the information that humans have created, and it is expanding faster and faster every day. We benefit incredibly from the small
“A.I.”s that we use every day. Anyone now has the power to be an engineer, a physicist, a musician. Knowledge is at people’s disposal like never before and we are only seeing the beginning stages of how it is affecting people.
I think that people’s intelligence will begin to increase more and more in the coming generations. Already we see people who are Jacks of all Trades, because of information learned on the internet. This is why I think that smartphones and even the internet itself becoming commercialized, was the first singularity. It was the pivotal event that has changed our society more than any other event in human history. It has done this all within an incredibly short window as well. As far as when we can expect the next Singularity (or rather, see a tangible growth in the currently happening Singularity), what repercussions and consequences, (positive or negative), will come from the Singularity, and more overall predictions and discussion, come back for more posts about this topic.