The Singularity

Bryan Moss (bryan.moss@dial.pipex.com)
Tue, 7 Jul 1998 17:30:11 +0100

Iím always hearing the Singularity mentioned on this list but Iím not sure if I understand the concept fully. There are several different scenarios Iíve heard:

  1. The point where population growth apparently goes infinite and that *something* must happen at this point. For instance, we all upload and we really can have an infinite population. This, I think, is stretching statistics a little too far.
  2. Artificial Intelligence speeds up the creation of more powerful computers and intelligenceís. This seems wrong because hardware and software power is already a major factor in the increase of hardware and software power. There is no reason to suggest this trend would suddenly change.
  3. A Super Intelligence emerges from a distributed network, such as the Internet. I think this goes against current network/software/hardware models and that a distributed intelligence would only emerge under certain (possibly engineered) circumstances that current trends in hardware, software and the economy would not support.

Otherwise it is just treated as the point beyond which we cannot predict (sometimes called the Horizon). Although the curves are certainly moving upwards I see no evidence that we should get ready for a sudden surge in power, the collapse of world government, the onslaught of Super Intelligenceís, etc.

Anyone care to fill me in?

BM