Are we headed for a Singularity? Is it imminent?
I write relatively near-future science fiction that features neural implants, brain-to-brain communication, and uploaded brains. I also teach at a place called Singularity University. So people naturally assume that I believe in the notion of a Singularity and that one is on the horizon, perhaps in my lifetime.
I think it’s more complex than that, however, and depends in part on one’s definition of the word. The word Singularity has gone through something of a shift in definition over the last few years, weakening its meaning. But regardless of which definition you use, there are good reasons to think that it’s not on the immediate horizon.
Ramez Naam is guest blogging on Charlie Stross’s site. The main point of this article is that the singularity isn’t twenty years away, or likely to be as much of a nerd rapture as many people assume.
Naam did a follow up article on the timing and rate of a singularity takeoff, which is also very much worth checking out.
I’ve made similar arguments myself, so these articles resonated with me. The singularity is unlikely to be a hard takeoff in our lifetimes, and AIs are unlikely to be as god-like as many singularity enthusiasts (or alarmists) assume.