Re: Singularity: A Straw Poll

Anders Sandberg (
10 Dec 1998 17:08:57 +0100

"Andrew Ducker" <> writes:

> Having been eaves-dropping on the various Singularity conversations, it
> appears that different people have differing ideas on what the singularity
> is.
> Could we get a poll on what people actually think the singularity
> is, what's going to cause it and why it's a good thing?

Everybody seems to have their own definition, which makes it hard to discuss it well. To be honest, many of the current concepts of the Singularity smacks of milleniarism.

Vernor Vinges original definition was something like "the point where intelligence amplification of any kind makes development accelerate to extreme levels". Note that it doesn't need to be any super AI around, or a homo sapiens v2.0, it could just be that the effective collective intelligence of humankind grows at a very fast rate. Vinge then went on to discuss why understanding or predicting anything beyond it was hard or impossible, and this has clearly tainted our discussions.

Personally I prefer to see it as a process rather than some mythical rapture. It is simply the positive feedback of all our technology, knowledge and human development feeding back onto itself, growing ever stronger. This also shows why I think it is a good thing.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y