This past weekend, many of the world’s foremost thinkers gathered at the Singularity Summit within the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. You might ask what the Singularity is, of course, as the focus of all of this heady cogitation?
It’s the point where a consciousness is comes into being (usually an AI) that is itself smarter than the humans who created it.
According to the Summit’s overview:
Vernor Vinge originally coined the term “Singularity” in observing that, just as our model of physics breaks down when it tries to model the singularity at the center of a black hole, our model of the world breaks down when it tries to model a future that contains entities smarter than human.
The summit’s Web site features videos, podcasts and coverage from all over the Internet of the yearly event, including a great piece from Peter Thiel on Wired.com exploring how to invest in the Singularity.
I can’t help but think of SkyNet, the decidedly nasty entity depicted so dramatically in the Terminator series, but there are more positive outcomes, many of which are amply explained here, where the summit’s organizers explain why the Singularity is worth working towards. Whether humanity is willing or able to do so is another question entirely. We can only hope!
Speaking from a somewhat philosophical perspective, Joe Foran also had some deep thoughts regarding the concept, articulated in Virtualization and the Singularity on the Server Virtualization blog. If you’re wondering how virtualization and futurism blend together, look no further.