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This Asimov’s SF article is the launch point for for tons of information about “The Singularity”? What is that? There are a few definitions floating around, but can be summed up as the point when artificial intelligence surpasses human intelligence. (Personally, I think that depends on the human involved, but I digress…) This is the crux of the transhumanist movement, or, more accurately, it is the point when humans enter a post-human phase of existence.

That assumes we are still here, of course. Need a reason to fear the future? How about the this quote from a Singularity paper written more than ten years ago by SF author Vernor Vinge:

Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended.

– Abstract of a paper given by Vernor Vinge at the VISION-21 Symposium, March 30-31,1993

Thanks, Verne. Like I need another reason to stay in bed tomorrow.

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

3 Comments on Singularity

  1. Wake me when we actually create an AI machine. Like nuclear fusion, ‘it’s coming in the next 20 years!”.

  2. Oh, and SF authors have been known to be a tad optimistic when it comes to predicting technology advances. Yes, they have predicted lots of things which have come to pass – but they’ve been poor in their accuracy.

  3. Bob Hawkins // June 30, 2004 at 2:10 pm //

    > Personally, I think that depends on the human involved

    I have relatives whose intelligence was matched by setting the prompt in MSDOS to “HUH?>”

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