The Technological Singularity: An Introduction

“The Singularity has everything to do with consciousness”

The year 2045 would signify a new era of relentless change. The world as we know it would be radically revolutionized by technology. At this point in time, technological growth would become uncontrollable and irreversible, and the results would be unfathomable changes to human civilization. This event is what is known as The Singularity.

The Singularity is an event we all are eagerly anticipating. It is a revolution which was originally envisioned by Jon von Neuman; a computer scientist who first observed that technology is evolving according to the mathematics illustrated by growing computing power according to Moore’s law.

The underlying idea behind this Technological Singularity is that the exponential growth of computing power would drive the acceleration of technology to the point where there would be an intelligence explosion; artificial intelligence would have enough computer power to fully outperform human intelligence. All this reveals is an intuitive notion that Artificial intelligence would become a singular entity endowed with the full range of human awareness. Machines would be more creative and more able than humans. They would, in essence, run the world.

This kind of intelligence explosion has led us to some sparing predictions and alarming ethical concerns for such superior machine intelligence. It is an uncertain future I must say. No one knows for certain what would happen; we can only hypothesize.

Today’s Artificial Intelligence can do pretty amazing things. For example, companies improve customer experience by creating self-learning algorithms which learn the behavior of humans. Digital Assistants like Siri and Alexa helps us handle mundane tasks, language translation becomes automated, and so on.

Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash

There have been many predictions about what would happen in the coming singularity if or when these algorithms powering artificial intelligence somehow wake up; or they learn to become conscious.

One of the apprehensions that people have about this singularity is the “Terminator Scenario”. This is a Super Intelligence theory that looks into the idea that machines will take over mankind. This ideology of domination expresses concern that a fully conscious super-intelligent entity existing everywhere could result in total control of human affairs or even possibly lead to human extinction. This image of Singularity is so terrifying to imagine that people fear it.

The second ideology is a more welcoming image of the coming Singularity. Like most optimists would think, the rise of artificial consciousness would somehow aid humans to possess transcending knowledge. This is the Intelligence Augmentation ideology.

In this ideology, Artificial Intelligence will revolutionize lives even more radically. By pairing people with super-intelligent machines, human intelligence is therefore supported, strengthened and maximized by these artificially conscious actors.

Augmented Intelligence will extend human cognitive functions. The world will become one mind and we will know how to transcend the limits of humanity and create new possibilities. This ideology is the reason why we should be optimistic and welcome Technological Singularity.

While most people think of the rise of Artificial Intelligence as quintessential of the coming Singularity, there are also other aspects to it. In other words, the path to creating Technological Singularity does not only involve Artificial Intelligence. Technological Singularity is, therefore, the interplay between the fields of Biotechnology, Nanotechnology and Artificial Intelligence.

Biotechnology has to do with exploring biological processes for the purpose of manipulating genes or modifying biological organisms. Nanotechnology is a branch of technology that deals with dimensions of less than 100 nanometers. In essence, nanotechnologies would allow us to manipulate atoms and molecules or reconfigure any physical matter according to our will. When combined with Biotechnology and AI, the effect of Nanotechnology on our everyday lives would be incomprehensible.

While these other emerging fields are very interesting, reaching singularity would require a deep understanding of the most elusive aspects of human intelligence.

Artificial Intelligence is the technology which my work is based on. My research focuses on how to copy our own human intelligence and consciousness onto an artificial landscape. My research on Artificial Intelligence is essentially about exploring and designing new models of computation and intelligence, such that will make it possible for machines to be fully conscious of their environment.

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Denis Inengite is a product designer and a visual artist working across multiple disciplines with a strong focus on digital design, art direction and research.

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Denis Inengite

Denis Inengite

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Denis Inengite is a product designer and a visual artist working across multiple disciplines with a strong focus on digital design, art direction and research.