What is the Singularity?

What is the Singularity ?

In the not too distant future, using either Artificial Intelligence, Brain/Computer interface, Human Cyborg tech, or a mixture of all three, Humanity will create intelligence greater than itself, forever knocking us off our cherished spot at the top of the cognitive heap. From the moment of creation, this new intelligence will grow at leaps and bounds in accordance with Moore’s Law. This new intelligence in turn creating even greater intelligence at even quicker speeds, an increasing positive feedback loop. After that moment, humanity will no longer be at the reins, and all of history will change, a new epoch beginning in the blink of an eye.
What awaits humanity on the other side of the Singularity? Can we look forward to a world with Super-powerful thinking machines do our bidding, fulfilling our every wish? Will humans begin altering their bio-engineering, exponentially increasing mental computation speeds and storage capacity? Will humanity spread its wings and leave our birthplace, the Earth? With the use of Quantum computing and nanotech, can we turn the very universe we live within into a massive Computer, a Computronium ?
Or will machines instantly recognize our cultural dependence on them and institute a form of Hydraulic Despotism? Could your very synapses and brainwaves be scanned and stored on some “Matrix” like mainframe? Will this New-born Super-Intelligent Being simply have no use for us and begin mass extermination?
Will the intelligence be multi-aware? I mean, will it create other self-replicating versions of itself? It’s family? And if so, would each being be a separate cognitive being, or would they all still act in wireless unison with some mother-creator high band-width master computer? Will nano-tech offer a solution to the ailing environment? And most important, how will we be judged by our creations?
All of these questions are posed by a Human Mind, and that in itself is the core of the problem. Could a group of apes have foreseen the vastness of humanity. No, our intelligence is on a whole new level. And we are VERY similar to apes biologically. The kind of intelligence that we stand on the brink of creating is of a whole new order. We can’t possible hypothesize “what ifs” because we simple can’t comprehend what “more intelligent” than human is. Much less “much much much more intelligent”.
Intelligence is a multifaceted jewel. Insight, humor, philosophy, religion, love, contemplation, pre-meditation, mathematics, music, art, manipulation, genius. All concepts that we associate with “intelligence”. But those are merely human concepts, arrived at after thousands of years at the cognitive top. But what of a whole new being altogether?
I like to think that although humans are going to create this intelligence, we ourselves are merely the creation of something else. And as mankind worldwide has reverence for their creator, machines too may put us on a mystic pedestal. Or there is the possibility that Thinking-Machines may very well look at humans with disgust at our virus-like inability to achieve stasis with our environment. But once again, both of these scenarios are from our viewpoint, which truly underlines our problem with trying to hypothesize what “higher Intelligence” might do. We just can’t imagine.

©2007 Carlos Cardona


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