Some people call it science fiction while others, like Jason Silva & Ray Kurzweil think it may happen in our lifetime.
Here's the definition from our friend, Wikipedia:
The 'Singularity' is the hypothesis that the invention of artificial superintelligence (ASI) will abruptly trigger runaway technological growth, resulting in unfathomable changes to human civilization.
Sounds intense, right? So what does that actually mean?
Basically, the Singularity is a state by which humans merge so much with technology that we can no longer tell the difference where one begins, and the other ends.
Here's how Ray Kurzweil, the most outspoken figure on the subject describes it & when he thinks it will occur:
I have also set the date 2045 for singularity — which is when humans will multiply our effective intelligence a billion fold, by merging with the intelligence we have created.”
A billion fold may sound impossible but we must remember technology is exponential – not linear – which means it can happen faster than we think.
In 1999, Kevin Ashton coined the term, 'Internet of Things', after envisioning the internet connecting to things in our everyday life.
Ashton knew this connection would generate data that could be used to make big decisions while increasing efficiency and decreasing waste.
Here is the official definition:
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the interconnection via the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data.
In other words, connecting household items and everyday objects with the internet, allowing seamless connection between objects and devices.
Of course, the Internet of Things is already prevalent in many of our households. From 'smart' thermostats, to 'smart' TVs, to 'smart' security systems, we're connecting our devices to the internet more and more for the sake of increasing efficiency and enjoyment.
But for the singularity to occur, the 'Internet of Things' must evolve.
Imagine our things are not only impregnated with connectivity, but intelligence as well.
So all of the connected devices that have recently been enlivened by the internet, now have intelligence.
This is the intelligence of things: our everyday objects having intelligence and us seamlessly connecting to them.
This gets us one step closer to the Singularity – but does it take us there?
Jason Silva, host of Brain Games & Shots of Awe thinks the "Intelligence of Things" could bring about the Singularity. If you follow his logic, you may just agree.
First, Silva reminds us the intelligence of things would create and “birth a world that will increasingly talk back to us.”
Imagine your toilet telling you what nutrients you’re low on based on your urine. Or your number two.
Your refrigerator pointing out what foods you're running low on, what vegetables you haven't eaten in a while, and even suggesting new foods you might enjoy based on your order history.
We’re already having dialogues with Alexa & Siri. It’s just a matter of time before we’re having ‘intelligent’ conversations with our toilets and refrigerators.
So then what happens when we inject the power of intelligence into everyday things?
Here’s Silva’s take:
“Increasingly we’ll dovetail our minds to the world and as the world starts talking back, the distinction between self and world will start to disappear. The external space, the external world will increasingly start to feel like an extension of our mind.”
This is where it will be difficult to define where our minds begin and where they end, and whether what was in our mind was impregnated by outside intelligence or whether it was an original thought.
Our intelligence and the intelligence of things would begin to blur together.
“…a world that will know what we want before we want…a world in which you look for something, you find something else, and you realize what you found is more conducive to your needs than what you thought you were looking for. We’re talking about a world optimized for human creativity and human enterprise, a world that is responsive, a world that is alive. A world that is intelligent.”
Let’s back up for a second to put all this in perspective.
We used our brains to create microchips from glass. This allowed us to engineer computers.
Then we used those computers to create other modern technologies. And then put those technologies into the world.
Then we used that technology to create artificial intelligence, and then injected that back into the technology of things in order to make them intelligent.
By now, we’ve essentially turned our minds inside out and we’ve become a part of the neural network of the world.
Silva poetically encapsulates is perfectly:
“You’re pumping all this data, you’re pumping all this AI into sensors, into the world of everyday objects, and you birth a world, the intelligence of things. The mind will have fully turned itself inside-out. We will be inhabiting the condensation of human imagination, the nodes in our brain, the neurons will have spilled out into the world and we will have cloaked the planet in mind and data.”
This is the point where the Singularity occurs.
“This my friends, is the singularity of mind and meaning. When everything becomes linked with everything else, matter becomes mind. This is the intelligence of things.”
Here is a video by Jason Silva discussing this mind bending possibility.
Do you think a singularity will occur? Let me know in the comments.