So the question I’m sure you’ll all be asking is: ‘What is the Singularity?’
According to inventor, futurist, and director of engineering at Google, Ray Kurzweil: “It’s a future period during which the pace of technological change will be so rapid, its impact so deep, that human life will be irreversibly transformed.”
Kurzweil says technology is feeding on itself at an exponential rate, getting faster and faster as new discoveries are made. He predicts that within forty years the pace of change will be so astonishingly quick that the only way to keep up will be by enhancing our own intelligence through merging with our creations.
Wikipedia has a page dedicated to Kurzweil’s predictions: one of which is that computers will have consciousness in just twenty-five years, meaning that, if true,
by the 2030s the line between human and machine intelligence will become irrevocably blurred.
How did I find the story?
A couple of years ago I worked in France as a reporter for two B2B websites specialising in covering the latest news about the pharmaceutical industry.
I noticed that a lot seemed to be happening in the fields of nanotechnology and biotechnology – new papers detailing astonishing treatments and drug delivery techniques were being published each day.
But nothing much seemed to make the headlines because they were in various stages of clinical trials – there’s little about be-goggled scientists pacing around a lab to get the average person’s blood pumping.
So I did a bit of looking around and saw there’s this largely unreported technological explosion going on now.
As the public, we only really get to see the most obvious examples of it – things like Google Glass and 3D printed guns, because they’re familiar enough for us to instantly understand, and in the case of Google Glass, there are serious short-term gains to be made out of it.
But there are scientists working all around the world at the coalface of artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and nanotechnology, who think we’re on the brink of a new epoch. I decided to find out more.