Beginner’s Guide to Kurzweil’s Singularity

Anyone who has read this here blog of mine a few times, or (even less likely) had a chat with me in meatspace about the future, will have run into a few references to a thing called ‘the Singularity’. And you may well have wondered what the hell I’m actually on about. Rather than try to summarise a very complex idea myself, I will instead direct you towards this Ubiquity interview with Ray Kurzweil, the man whose idea the Singularity is.

{edit: as a commenter mentioned, the Singularity was in fact first proposed by Vernor Vinge; Kurzweil is more its most vocal and flayboyant cheerleader. My bad!)

To give you a vague taster and hopefully encourage you to take a look at the interview, I will say that the basic theory behind the Singularity is that ongoing exponential increases in the power and complexity of technology (information processing, biological modelling etc) will lead us inevitably to a point where we can create ‘true AI’, functional nanotech augmentations for human beings, and ways of curing almost every biological problem theat the human race faces…by the beginning of the 2030s.

And if you enjoy the interview, I can heartily recommend Kurzweil’s recent book about the subject, ‘The Singularity Is Near’.

4 thoughts on “Beginner’s Guide to Kurzweil’s Singularity”

  1. Anyone who has read this here blog of mine a few times

    Well I keep returning in the hope that I’ll one day grasp what the fuck you’re on about. Alas…

  2. Kurzweil didn’t think of the Singularity. If anyone deserves credit there, it would be Vernor Vinge. Check out his seminal article on the subject.

    Really, though, the Singularity is just something that exists. It’s something we’re collectively discovering as a society– finally, here on our final approach. We’re all realizing together that there is something very large, very nearby. It becomes easier to see by the day.

  3. Nah. It’s easy to get carried away by wishful thinking but we’re not going to have a brain-comparable AI by 2010 by a long, long chalk.

  4. By 2010, probably not. But 2030…well, we’ll have to see. Wishful thinking, yes, but based on a certain amount of plausible evidence. Reda the guy’s book, it’s a winner even if you just need something to rail against.

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