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Technological Singularity

What is technological singularity?

The technological singularity—or simply the singularity—is a hypothetical point in time at which technological growth becomes uncontrollable and irreversible, resulting in unforeseeable changes to human civilization. According to the most popular version of the singularity hypothesis, called intelligence explosion, an upgradable intelligent agent will eventually enter a "runaway reaction" of self-improvement cycles, each new and more intelligent generation appearing more and more rapidly, causing an "explosion" in intelligence and resulting in a powerful superintelligence that qualitatively far surpasses all human intelligence.

The idea that human history is approaching a “singularity”—that ordinary humans will someday be overtaken by artificially intelligent machines or cognitively enhanced biological intelligence, or both—has moved from the realm of science fiction to serious debate. Some singularity theorists predict that if the field of artificial intelligence (AI) continues to develop at its current dizzying rate, the singularity could come about in the middle of the present century. Murray Shanahan offers an introduction to the idea of singularity and considers the ramifications of such a potentially seismic event.

When will we reach technological singularity?

Join any discussion about business technology, and it won’t be long before someone mentions AI. The amount of digital data in the world has already surpassed our abilities to manage it, a development, which has made clear the need for algorithms to do the job for us.

But algorithms and AI aren’t the same things. They’re not even close. An algorithm is a computer program that parses data from sets too large for human interpretation, whereas true AI is capable of thinking for itself, making its own decisions, and having free will.

The explosion of AI has long been a popular trope of science fiction, but the reality is edging ever closer. But even if that sounds optimistic (or pessimistic, depending on how you look at it), it’s the logical next step in the evolution of technology. Once computers can learn for themselves without being taught and trained with data that we’ve collected, we can expect profound societal changes on a scale never before seen.

 

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Technological Singularity

October 14, 2020

Table of contents

Key takeawaysCollaboration platforms are essential to the new way of workingEmployees prefer engati over emailEmployees play a growing part in software purchasing decisionsThe future of work is collaborativeMethodology

What is technological singularity?

The technological singularity—or simply the singularity—is a hypothetical point in time at which technological growth becomes uncontrollable and irreversible, resulting in unforeseeable changes to human civilization. According to the most popular version of the singularity hypothesis, called intelligence explosion, an upgradable intelligent agent will eventually enter a "runaway reaction" of self-improvement cycles, each new and more intelligent generation appearing more and more rapidly, causing an "explosion" in intelligence and resulting in a powerful superintelligence that qualitatively far surpasses all human intelligence.

The idea that human history is approaching a “singularity”—that ordinary humans will someday be overtaken by artificially intelligent machines or cognitively enhanced biological intelligence, or both—has moved from the realm of science fiction to serious debate. Some singularity theorists predict that if the field of artificial intelligence (AI) continues to develop at its current dizzying rate, the singularity could come about in the middle of the present century. Murray Shanahan offers an introduction to the idea of singularity and considers the ramifications of such a potentially seismic event.

When will we reach technological singularity?

Join any discussion about business technology, and it won’t be long before someone mentions AI. The amount of digital data in the world has already surpassed our abilities to manage it, a development, which has made clear the need for algorithms to do the job for us.

But algorithms and AI aren’t the same things. They’re not even close. An algorithm is a computer program that parses data from sets too large for human interpretation, whereas true AI is capable of thinking for itself, making its own decisions, and having free will.

The explosion of AI has long been a popular trope of science fiction, but the reality is edging ever closer. But even if that sounds optimistic (or pessimistic, depending on how you look at it), it’s the logical next step in the evolution of technology. Once computers can learn for themselves without being taught and trained with data that we’ve collected, we can expect profound societal changes on a scale never before seen.

 

Thanks for reading! We hope you found this helpful.

Ready to level-up your business? Click here.

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