Introducing The Singularity

Written by Mark Mackay

February 19, 2009 // 7:14 p.m.

Tags: #ai #custom-pc #science #singularity

I couldn’t decide how best to start my blog so I though I’d talk about the difficulty of sitting down, cup of tea in hand, staring at a blank Word document and wondering what the hell to talk about. It’s a tricky business for an inexperienced blogger such as my self. Fortunately however, using that tricky situation to my advantage has provided me with an acceptably entertaining opening paragraph. Happy days.

Onto introductions; my name is Mark Mackay (pronounced McEye if you're wondering) and I’ve been enjoying writing for Custom PC since June 2008 and now have been further blessed with the opportunity to do so for bit-tech. Prior to writing for CPC I was a PC Engineer for Vadim Computers, a high-end bespoke PC manufactures who have since ceased trading.

So what to blog about? Writing my first feature - which is on artificial intelligence - I was introduced to an imagination-capturing concept known as The Singularity. I found the subject so interesting; I thought I’d share it.
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To give you an idea of what The Singularity is, imagine a world where there’s no distinction between humans and machines. Nanobots inhabit our bodies that are capable of reversing the ageing process and creating virtual environments by plugging directly into our nervous systems. Any physical product can be made from any physical material and the very fabric of space-time is saturated with information.

Clearly this is something that you could read in about in any sci-fi novel. The interesting thing with The Singularity however, is that many well informed individuals believe that it’s going to happen in our lifetimes. One of the more famous proponents of this theory is entrepreneur, author and inventor, Ray Kurzweil. While you’d be forgiven for assuming that Kurzweil was a mad scientist working from a shed, among his fans are Bill Clinton and Bill Gates and the Wall Street Journal has dubbed him ‘the restless genius’.

When you look at the reasoning behind why many believe this will happen in our lifetimes, it actually starts to become quite feasible. The exponential growth of the price to performance ratio of computing and that we may be close to a nano-computing revolution to give a couple of examples. Many argue that The Singularity is pure sci-fi fantasy and given how far out the concept is, rightly so. Whether you think it’s possible for it to occur in the next few decades or not, it’s a blast to read about.

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