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“By 2030 we would be able to access and share, experiences, thoughts, the wisdom of every human being similar to how we can access the internet today. The need for speech would be removed as we will be able to connect only by our thoughts”

“Singularity”, a phrase derived from mathematics to describe a mathematical object for which the exact properties cannot be analyzed, or where the laws of physics cease to exist. Therefore, it is simply the hypothesis that explains how the advancement in technology would be so complex that even the brightest minds among us will not be able to comprehend it.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) when categorized by intelligence, we have

  1. Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI) – The level of AI that exists around us today, from Google assistant to Siri and even advanced as the self-driving car. They’re specialized only in one area and operate only in the range of activities that they are programmed for.
  2. Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) – The form of AI that would be similar to the intelligence of a human being. AGI can learn, innovate, create, imagine, dream, reason and be driven by emotions similar to a human being. Even Though this type of intelligence has not yet been discovered, most people working in the field of AI are convinced that an AGI is possible.
  3. Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI) – When an AI doesn’t just replicate human brain power or behavior but surpasses it, it is called an ASI.

 

How will a singularity begin?

If an Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), were to be invented, it will start to freely improve its own software and hardware to become more intelligent or will design a machine that is smarter than itself. This new and more capable machine would then go on to design a machine which is even more superior to any of the previous ones. So, the cycles of self-improvement and unfolding of machines with higher and higher intelligence continue, until a runaway technological growth beyond any hope of control is triggered. That would result in a rapid emergence of Artificial Super Intelligence that could far surpass all human intelligence. The point which is known as the technological singularity.

 When will it happen?

The tools needed to make such a rapid technological transformation is still unavailable or still at the initial stages of being created, however with every new invention that comes to the market and with the increase in opportunity for anyone to access them , technology advancement is likely to make an exponential progress in the coming few years, instead of a linear one . Suggesting that creations that we were thought might only happen in “a million years”  will most likely happen in the next century.

Ray Kurzweil, a famous futurist, with a track record of 30 years of accurate predictions, who predicted the evolution of the internet well beforehand says

“We won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century—it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today’s rate).”.

Accordingly, Kurzweil predicts that by 2030 Artificial intelligence will be smart as humans,

and by 2040 AI will not only exceed the brain power of a single human but all humans on earth combined.

Should we Fear it?                                                      

Since the reasoning and insights of an intelligent species such as that of an ASI will be far beyond the understanding capabilities of man, the possibility of not being able to keep up with AI and therefore being dominated by them (similar to the sci-fi movies) is a possible outcome. Physicist Stephen Hawking stated, ” I believe the development of full AI could spell the end of the human race” while public figures like Elon Musk and Bill Gates has also raised concerns regarding a similar future.

However, the more optimistic views on the opportunities that a singularity can bring include, the ability to solve issues such as world hunger, global warming, poverty, etc. Help man become a multi-planetary species or even immortal

Instead of machines ruling over us, people such as Ray Kurzweil believe that humans are likely to modify their biology to implant computer chips to the brain in a way that enables massive intelligence amplification. He stated

“What’s actually happening is machines are powering all of us. They may not yet be inside our bodies, but, by the 2030s, we will connect our neocortex, the part of our brain where we do our thinking, to the cloud.”

Furthermore, cracking the secret to immortality has never been more realistic. Either through the insertion of nanobots to kill viruses to stop the aging process, or by proceeding to an AI body, and abandoning our biological bodies to go live in a simulated virtual world for eternity. Privacy, the consequences of ending the natural process of life and the purpose of living, are all topics that can and will be intensely debated in the coming few years with the dawn of such an evolution. If forecasted accurately this would mean that by 2030 we would be able to access and share, experiences, thoughts, the wisdom of every human being similar to how we can access the internet today. The need for speech will be eliminated as we would be able to connect only by our thoughts. Elon Musk’s neural lace concept of a mesh that allows you to wirelessly connect and interact with computers through your thoughts via an implant in our brain allowing the brain to expand with it, demonstrates how a human brain and computer can be merged.

However, In Spite of the fact that a technological singularity may or may not happen, the world around us is changing at a much faster rate than what many of us are aware of, and we are to witness some of the most groundbreaking inventions in history.

Rtr. Hashini Wickramasuriya

Nadun Ranasinghe

The author Nadun Ranasinghe