"Awed at the pace of technological advances, a faction of geeky writers believes our world is about to change so radically that envisioning what comes next is nearly impossible."
What is the Singularity?
"The idea was conceived by Vernor Vinge, a computer scientist and science-fiction writer who’s now a professor emeritus at San Diego State University. We’re living through a period of unprecedented technological and scientific advances, Vinge says, and sometime soon the convergence of fields such as artificial intelligence and biotechnology will push humanity past a tipping point, ushering in a period of wrenching change. After that moment—the Singularity—the world will be as different from today’s world as this one is from the Stone Age."
"A new kind of future requires a new breed of guide—someone like Stross, whose first novel, Singularity Sky, was recently nominated for a prestigious Hugo Award, or his frequent collaborator Cory Doctorow, who in 2000 won the Campbell Award for best new science-fiction writer. Both are former computer programmers. They are computer geeks and gadget freaks. They follow engineering and materials science and biotech, not to mention politics and economics. And they have latched on to the Singularity as the idea that symbolizes our era’s rush of new discoveries."
"Vinge expects the Singularity to occur when machine intelligence surpasses that of humans. Life on Earth has always advanced by running simulations and adapting, he points out. Animal life does this through evolution. Humans are the one animal that has learned to do it faster, through problem solving. Sapient machines would do it faster still. Once our computers start to think, Vinge says, we will be 'entering a regime as radically different from our human past as we humans are from the lower animals.' The second trigger for the Singularity, according to Vinge, will be so-called intelligence amplification. Humans will apply their engineering skills to their own bodies, crossing the brain/machine interface threshold to merge with their technological creations. Implants, genetic modifications and other changes will make people smarter and give them Superman-like abilities. 'It’s all about transcending human limitation,' Doctorow says."
Source: Popular Science
[via Boing Boing]
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