Thursday, August 1, 2013

Singularities happen all the time

We will soon create intelligences greater than our own. When this happens, human history will have reached a kind of singularity, an intellectual transition as impenetrable as the knotted space-time at the center of a black hole, and the world will pass far beyond our understanding. -- Vernor Vinge, 1983
 The technological singularity is supposed to occur when we develop "true" or "strong" AI.  Beyond that point, we are told, everything will be different, in the most conveniently vague ways.  Perhaps society will run on communism, or anarcho-capitalism, or something we don't have a name for (in other words, whatever the author happens to think would be ideal).  We are told that the resulting society will be totally incomprehensible to those of us still living in the present day.

My reaction to all this can be summed up in two words: "So what?"