The Technological Singularity

In the rapid acceleration of technology, there comes a point in time termed the technological singularity. The singularity can be described as a runaway effect from the growth of technology; computer intelligence will equal human intelligence, and then skyrocket past the limitations of humans. In fact, computing power is predicted to exceed that of all human brains sometime around 2045. Even though the human population grows at an exponential rate, the acceleration of the growth of computing power far outstrips the growth of human population.

This reflects Moore’s Law, which states that every two years, the number of transistors in an integrated computer circuit doubles, which means that processing power doubles as well. These circuits haven’t become much larger, but rather the transistors become smaller.

The shrinking size of transistors and the number of them being bought.

While apocalyptic, dystopian futures have been depicted in films such as The Terminator and The Matrix, this is far from the case. Instead of bloodthirsty robots dedicated to the eradication of humans or the exploitation of humans as resources, the singularity posits that the event would bring an end to all human problems, such as poverty, hunger, pollution, etc.

There are a few methods by which the singularity could be achieved. One of these would be the development of an artificial intelligence. The development of an intelligent machine with the ability to build an even more intelligent machine would absolutely cause an “intelligence explosion”, which would be the last machine that humans would need to build. An artificial intelligence is essentially a computer program that is able to think, and thus would be able to learn and evolve. Smartphones have an “intelligent personal assistant that helps you get things done just by asking”, whom many people recognize as Siri. While Siri is an early venture into developing artificial intelligence, it is not a true ‘thinking machine’.

Another method to achieve singularity is the merger of humans and technology for humans to keep up with advancing technology. As the interaction between humans and technology increase and the development of nanotechnology, which is technology done at one-billionth of a meter, progresses, science fictions such as microchips implanted in the body becomes reality. Seen in the graphs before of Moore’s Law, transistors are on the nanometer scale, and are becoming smaller and smaller. Nanorobots will allow humans to physically, mentally, and emotionally perform better than before, as they vastly increase the capability of human knowledge and optimize biological mechanics and processes. This can be thought of as being able to download calculus into a child’s brain in a mere instant.

Evidence of increasing interaction between human and technology is shown in the integration of smartphones into human life. Besides optimizing the human body, the brain would be able to communicate directly to a computer; think watching Netflix when your eyes are closed. Also, since nanoengineering operates on such a small scale, significant progress in the field would allow for the precise manipulation of matter, ending crises such as hunger and pollution.


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