X-Message-Number: 27924
Date: Mon, 8 May 2006 10:56:02 -0400
From: "bruce waugh" <>
Subject: Definition of the Singularity

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Wikipedia defines the Singularity this way:

In futures studies <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Futures_studies>, a
singularity* represents an "event horizon" in the predictability of human
technological development past which present models of the future cease to
give reliable or accurate answers, following the creation of strong

the amplification
of human intelligence<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligence_amplification>.
Futurists <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Futurists> predict that after the
Singularity, humans as they exist presently will cease to be the dominating
force in scientific and technological progress, replaced with
strong AI, or both, and therefore all models of change based on past trends
in human behavior will be obsolete.

The concept, put forth primarily by mathematician Vernor
Vinge<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vernor_Vinge>and inventor and
futurist Ray
Kurzweil <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Kurzweil>, predicts a drastic
increase in the rate of technological change following the liberation of
consciousness <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consciousness> from the confines
of human biology, allowing it not only to scale past the computational
capacity of the human brain but also to interact directly with computer
networks. Kurzweil considers this sharp increase to be part of an overall
exponential trend in human technological development seen originally in Moore's
Law <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore%27s_Law> and extrapolated into a
general trend in Kurzweil's own Law of Accelerating
A culture which experienced such a change would be fundamentally altered,
and not be comprehensible or predictable by its pre-Singularity culture.

While some regard the Singularity as a positive event and work to hasten its
arrival, others view the Singularity as dangerous, undesirable, or unlikely
to occur. The most practical means for initiating the Singularity are
debated, as are how (or whether) the Singularity can be influenced or
avoided if dangerous.


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