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Technological singularity


Technological singularity
A technological singularity is a hypothetical event occurring when technological progress becomes so rapid and the growth of artificial intelligence is so great that the future after the singularity become qualitatively different and harder to predict.

Basic concept
Many of the most recognized writers on the singularity, such asVernor Vinge and Ray Kurzweil, define the concept in terms of the technological creation of superintelligence, and allege that a post-singularity world would be unpredictable to humans due to an inability of human beings to imagine the intentions or capabilities of superintelligent entities.[1] [2] [3] Some writers use "the singularity" in a broader way to refer to any radical changes in our societybrought about by new technologies such as molecular nanotechnology,[4] [5] [6] although Vinge and other prominent writers specifically state that without superintelligence, such changes would not qualify as a true singularity.[1] Many writers also tie the singularity to observations of exponential growth in various technologies (with Moore's Law being the most prominent example), using suchobservations as a basis for predicting that the singularity is likely to happen sometime within the 21st century.[5] [7] Vernor Vinge proposed that the creation of superhuman intelligence would represent a breakdown in the ability of humans to model the future thereafter. He was the first to use the term "singularity" for this notion, in a 1983 article, and a later 1993 article entitled "The ComingTechnological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era" was widely disseminated on the World Wide Web and helped to popularize the idea.[8] Vinge also compared the event of a technological singularity to the breakdown of the predictive ability of physics at the space-time singularity beyond the event horizon of a black hole.[3] A technological singularity includes the concept of anintelligence explosion, a term coined in 1965 by I. J. Good.[9] Although technological progress has been accelerating, it has been limited by the basic intelligence of the human brain, which has not, according to Paul R. Ehrlich, changed significantly for millennia.[10] However with the increasing power of computers and other technologies, it might eventually be possible to build a machine that is moreintelligent than humanity.[11] If superhuman intelligences were invented, either through the amplification of human intelligence or artificial intelligence, it would bring to bear greater problem-solving and inventive skills than humans, then it could design a yet more capable machine, or re-write its source code to become more intelligent. This more capable machine then could design a machine of evengreater capability. These iterations could accelerate, leading to recursive self improvement, potentially allowing enormous qualitative change before any upper limits imposed by the laws of physics or theoretical computation set in.[12] [13] [14] Futurist Ray Kurzweil postulates a law of accelerating returns in which the speed of technological change increases exponentially, generalizing Moore'slaw to technologies predating the integrated circuit, and including material technology (especially as applied to nanotechnology), medical technology and others.[15] Like other authors, though, he reserves the term "Singularity" for a rapid increase in intelligence (as opposed to other technologies), writing for example that "The Singularity will allow us to transcend these limitations of ourbiological bodies and brains ... There will be no distinction, post-Singularity, between human and machine".[16] He also defines his predicted date of the singularity (2045) in terms of when he expects computer-based intelligences to significantly exceed the sum total of human brainpower, writing that advances in computing before that date "will not represent the Singularity" because they do "not...
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