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Alex Cumminger

Technological singularity

Science fiction writers imagine the world of the future – a world where technology possesses intelligence superior to ours. When these science fiction writers imagine this world, is it a utopia? A dystopia? And what if the future is right around the corner?Could intelligent technology devise a way to save the earth from the destruction humans have wreaked upon it? Or such singularity pose an existential threat to humanity? What if we could implant intelligent parts into ourselves, creating a class of hyper-intelligent androids? Would we cease to be human?Venor Virge, a science fiction writer, coined the term ‘technological singularity.’ The basic concept is centred on the concept of greater-than-human intelligence. We live with unprecedented technological expansion, where the creation of one new piece of technology accelerates three more technologies.The concept of exponential technological growth is nothing new. In 1999, Kurtzweil postulated ‘the law of accelerating returns,’ claiming just that. He posited that when humans are faced with a barrier, new technology emerges to help overcome that barrier. When a particularly big barrier is overcome, it is called a ‘paradigm shift.’Technological advancements will have two principal effects on society. First, it should allow individuals more time to develop innovative solutions to common problems. Second, technology presents more efficient ways to expand our own human intellect (think of calculators, computers, tablets, etc.). This should, in turn, advance us still further.Is there a theoretical limit to this progression? This process cannot sustain itself without human intellect to drive it forward. This is a double-edged sword, for while it requires humans to maintain a level of control and involvement, it also means that our potential for advancement is capped at the outer limits of human intellect.But what we were to build a machine cleverer than a human? What if it were then to… Read More