A lot of people fear the singularity. I think, personally, that a lot of people fear intelligence because it cannot be gauged externally. It’s that monkey brain of ours, wrapped around a lizard brain, which doesn’t trust anything it can’t pigeonhole into food, runaway, fuck or scenery.
Anyhow, the singularity is often called the rapture of the nerds, and for a good reason. A good deal of intelligent folk (I hesitate to use the word intelligencia) have no god or gods, or even if they do, they cannot deny the power of the scientific method at explaining the world. And turning on a lightswitch, when it gets down to it, is better than cursing the darkness.
The singularity, you see, relies upon technology to come about. The full name given is the technological singularity, but even there the title is a bit misleading, because there’s more than one way that the singularity could come about.
In fact, I think there are three main technologies that need to mature before either one of them will result in a singularity.
You see, like the technology of today and yesterday, once a final key advancement or the result of a previous set of advancements comes together, it will run away with itself and impact all of our lives, everywhere, and the genie can never be put back in the bottle.
Each one will either free us from certain constraints we are now under as a global society, and therefore lead to an explosion of redirected energy towards the other remaining constraints, or it will lead directly to a singularity of its own.
Those three technologies, all of which are here now in some form (though with the first, it is very nascent) will be discussed or presented in following blog posts. I will hopefully be able to add historical context to some if not all of them, with examples.
The three technologies are:
- Computing power leading to strong, general AI
- Space industry
- three-d printing
The first, as I said, is very, very nascent. There has been a quiet AI revolution this past decade, with technology advancing far enough, fast enough, that cars can drive themselves across the USA with no interaction from the driver. Think about that.
Space industry, too, may be seeing a renaissance of its own, as companies like space-x and scaled composites move into the niche abandoned by the USA, to offer a civilian option for space-flight otherwise dominated by China, Russia and Europe.
And three-dimensional printing is, you may not know this, the hottest kid on the block when it comes to modern-day construction. Many big, exact things are made with three-d printers, and not just out of plastic. Aeroplane parts, and cars… even houses.
Where those technologies are now are incredible. Where they could (and probably will) be in ten years is mind-blowing.
Will one or all of these mature to the point that the aftershocks change our world forever?
Well, time will tell.