Re: What is the singularity?

From: Zero Powers (
Date: Mon Jul 30 2001 - 22:53:43 MDT

>From: "Harvey Newstrom" <>

>I may be confused, but I'm not sure that this was the original meaning of
>the term singularity. I think some people have decided that AI will be the
>soonest and most likely cause of the singularity, so they decided that the
>term most likely refers to AI.
>I think the term originally was more generic. Any exponential growth curve
>soon becomes almost vertical. This vertical line approaches infinity going
>straight up. It becomes impossible to predict what exists after that wall
>of vertical/infinite rate is reached. I believe that this generic
>description was the original meaning of the term. This generic infinite
>growth could come about with self-modifying AI, runaway nanotechnology,
>uploading of the entire universe into a simulation, a sudden change in the
>simulation, the advent of a true religion, strange matter destroying the
>universe, the Big Crunch, etc.
>Does anybody else have memory of an earlier, more generic meaning for the
>term singularity? Am I having false memories, or is my mind-wipe fading?

I'm pretty sure that Vinge, in the lecture he gave in which he coined the
term, described the Singularity as the point of technological advancement
beyond which it would be impossible to predict anything. Or something like
that. If you want to read it from the horse's mouth, mosey on over to:


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