Known as The Singularity, a theory exists for the future that is often the core premise behind science fiction novels. Described in Wikipedia; “The Technological Singularity is the hypothesized creation… of smarter-than-human entities that rapidly accelerate technological progress.”
One of the fathers of this theory is Vernor Vinge, just in to his 60’s and for four decades has been writing science fiction with a definite realism to it. In his mind, it is not unimaginable to think that, the future we are currently building is totally unimaginable.
It seems plausible,” Vinge says, “that with technology we can, in the fairly near future, create or become creatures who surpass humans in every intellectual and creative dimension. Events beyond such a singular event are as unimaginable to us as opera is to a flatworm.”
The most common example of the Singularity is awakening as we live our lives, in the artificial intelligence being granted to (and gained by) robotic forms. It is not the science fiction fantasy that was once told in comics and newspaper stories. This leads to two sides of the Singularity issue; a potential danger and the possible impetus.
The impetus is obviously the human need to be the height of intelligence on the planet, and in addition, to create a fully functional AI, human intelligence will have already had to have grown substantially. We are close, but we are not there yet.
The danger is once again obvious, as we who know (and fear our Roomba’s) that robots will conquer their creators. We will have gone too far, made them too smart, and they will have realized what a sweet deal living on earth would be if it weren’t for all these pesky humans.
This is a short and glossy look at a subject which has, since stumbling across it on Digg (one of the technological advancements that Verge cites as a road mark on the path to this future), fully grasped my attention. My favorite quote from Verge is all to realistic too me;
“Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence… shortly after, the human era will be ended.”
Posted by Josh Hill.
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