Luke McKinney, Daily Galaxy: “It seems plausible that with technology we can, in the fairly near future,” says scifi legend Vernor Vinge, “create (or become) creatures who surpass humans in every intellectual and creative dimension. Events beyond such an event — such a singularity — are as unimaginable to us as opera is to a flatworm.”
“The Singularity” is seen by some as the end point of our current culture, when the ever-accelerating evolution of technology finally overtakes us and changes everything. It’s been represented as everything from the end of all life to the beginning of a utopian age, which you might recognize as the endgames of most other religious beliefs.
While the definitions of the Singularity are as varied as people’s fantasies of the future, with a very obvious reason, most agree that artificial intelligence will be the turning point. Once an AI is even the tiniest bit smarter than us, it’ll be able to learn faster and we’ll simply never be able to keep up. This will render us utterly obsolete in evolutionary terms, or at least in evolutionary terms as presented by people who view academic intelligence as the only possible factor. Because that’s how people who imagine the future while talking online wish the world worked, ignoring things like “Hey, this is just a box” and “What does this power switch do?”
There’s no question that technology is progressing at an ever-accelerating rate — we’ve generated more world-changing breakthroughs in the last fifty years than the entirety of previous human history combined. The issue is the zealous fervor with which some see the Singularity as the end of all previous civilization, a “get out of all previous problems” card which ignores the most powerful factor in the world: human stupidity.