Are You Ready For The Singularity?
Some of the most interesting and engrossing science-fiction films and novels of all time have focused on the integration of human beings with machines and other such exploration of what actually constitutes life and consciousness.
By all accounts of a certain international discourse community, our wildest dreams (and possibly our worst nightmares) are about to come true.
Enter the Singularity, a point in the not-so-distant future in which computers become so complex they make the human brain obsolete and replace it in the few activities we can think of that it is still needed. Basically, because computers can decrease in size and increase in power every two years, we will eventually get to a point where they are capable of replacing and replicating everything about humanity—or so some think.
At this point, life’s mysteries, such as the aging process, death, and so on would be mere calculations for the super-intelligent machines to figure out. Also, these super-capable computers and machines would be intelligent enough to create new technologies, computers, and machines to handle tasks on their own. The future will be harder to predict than usual because advances will occur exponentially instead of linearly as they currently do, leading to breakthroughs in every field one can imagine within the future. People may begin to save their entire consciousness and preserve it, embedding it into machines. With the help of machines, death (and therefore life) may never be quite the same.
But how long before these machines become hostile toward humans, the archaic beings which gave rise to them? The aforementioned discourse community, the Singularitarians, are attempting to prevent this and prevention is the topic of much discussion. Doctors, scientists, engineers, and others get together in events held all over the world to discuss the possibility of super-intelligent computers and machines and what can be done in the present to prevent a Matrix-esque saga.
Of course, all of this sounds like a nerd convention with no merit to the greater population. The fact of the matter is, too much of anything can be bad or at least bring about a permanent change. We applaud and celebrate the technological innovations which have occurred up until now and those that are slated to happen in the future. What we don’t do enough of is consider where humanity is headed. If we depend on electronics and machines to such a high degree, it’s conceivable this dependence may come back to haunt us or at least change life as we know it—for good.