The Singularity: Should We Worry?

Science fiction authors and futurists have long speculated about the Singularity: a coming technological event that transforms humanity in ways people can’t even begin to understand.

The term “singularity” has been applied to many different types of developments, from accelerated technological progress to an event that suddenly disrupts the course of human history. But the most common idea of “The Singularity” may be the advent of smarter-than-human AI: machines or robots that learn, reason and grow on their own.

Scary visions of the Terminator or Cylons may spring to mind. But is the Singularity really something to worry about? Is it something that will happen in the foreseeable future? Will the rise of artificial intelligence happen at all?

Luke Muehlhauser and his organization, the Singularity Institute in Berkeley, Calif., offer some possible answers.

“We’re designing machines that are more and more intelligent at doing very specific things. As this progresses, machines will be more intelligent than humans at a greater number of things,” Muehlhauser, the institute’s executive director, told TechNewsDaily. “So at some point, it looks like we’ll have machines that are smarter than humans in roughly all domains of activity.”

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