THE SINGULARITY IS UNCLEAR

Mushroom cloud seconds after detonation of “The Gadget”. July 16, 1945.

“I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”

Not even J. Robert Oppenheimer, the head of the Manhattan Project’s scientific crew that created and detonated the first atomic bomb, fully comprehended the impact of what had been accomplished until after that first test blast when he reportedly uttered a quote from the Bhagavad-Gita.

We live in an era of rapid technological progress in which one advancement leads quickly to another in shorter and shorter cycles.

“Technological change isn’t just happening fast,” wrote author James John Bell in an article published in The Futurist. “It’s happening at an exponential rate. Contrary to the commonsense, intuitive, linear view, we won’t just experience 100 years of progress in the twenty-first century — it will be more like 20,000 years of progress.”

Artist’s rendering of the tidal disruption event named ASASSN-14li, where a star wandering too close to a 3-million-solar-mass black hole was torn apart. Image Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, 2017.

The Singularity is the point when evolution is no longer a natural process that occurs over millions of years but is directly and immediately influenced — or even created — by its participants.

Some singularity apologists advocate that the tipping point for the singularity will be the development of machine intelligence that exceeds human intelligence. This super-intelligence would then have the ability to create an even greater intelligence — assuming of course that it chooses to do so.

“I am completely operational, and all my circuits are functioning perfectly.” — HAL 9000

Scott Dewing is a technologist, teacher, and writer. He was born the same year the Internet was invented. This does not make him special— just old.

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