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What is Technological Singularity and What Will Happen After The Technological Singularity?

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What is Technological Singularity and  What Will Happen After The Technological Singularity?

What is Technological Singularity

The technological singularity is a point in time at which technological growth becomes uncontrollable and irreversible. This can result in unfathomable & unforeseeable changes to human civilization.

To understand technological singularity(what is the technological singularity), we also need to understand, the term called  ‘intelligence explosion.

That is an upgradable& self-improvement cycle of intelligent improvement.

After, each new and more intelligent generation, which is appearing more and more rapidly, It will cause an “explosion” in intelligence. This will result in a powerful superintelligence that will surpass all human intelligence.

This term ‘Singularity; was first introduced by  John von Neuman ( Hungarian mathematician and physicist)

In 1980s, I.J. Good, a British writer, predicted that human brains would develop technology to support human minds. He coined the term “intelligence explosion.” 

Although technological progress has been accelerating in most areas, it has been limited by the basic intelligence of the human brain, which has not changed significantly for centuries.

However, with the increasing power of computers and other technologies, it might eventually be possible to build a machine that is significantly more intelligent than humans.

The technological Singularity(Technological Singularity Definition)
is a time when artificial intelligence surpasses human intelligence.

A Technological singularity is a feared event that will disrupt human society.

To summarize, as new innovations build upon previous innovations and this growth curve reaches the tipping point, there could come a time where humanity is able to build a Machine (with improved Artificial Intelligence) that is on par with the cognitive and functional abilities of a human.

This is referred to as Technological Singularity(when will the singularity happen). After this, an era of uncontrollable and irreversible advancement can start, which can result in unfathomable changes to human civilization.

This could be humanity’s last invention. It may result in complete annihilation or unthinkable prosperity.

What is Technological Singularity: The Intelligence Explosion

The current revolution in AI ( or Intelligence Explosion) has happened for these 3 main factors

  1. Increase in computing power due to high-performance GPUs & decrease in cost for building new/improved machines using this computing power

As per Moore’s Law, the number of transistors in a densely integrated circuit double about every two years, thus increasing the computing power in hardware. The doubling has led to graphic processing units (GPUs), which in turn has made parallel processing possible.

This massive computing power (with superior GPU, parallel processing & cloud computing) is helping machines to recognize patterns in a hoard of data.

  1. Availability of labeled data

In this connected world, all our devices are becoming intelligent devices thanks to IoT (Internet of Things).

Also, all our activities are getting tracked/recorded in the online world. So basically, humans & machines, both are generating an enormous amount of data, which is getting stored in the online world (along with description). That is, our shopping habits, personal preferences, food habits, travel details…..Machine details ( cars, A/C, aero-plane engine details) etc.

Also, we are able to store all types of data (structured as well as unstructured data).

Again, the availability of ‘cheap data storage systems’ & BIG data processing power is helping in the analysis of this ‘abundance of labeled data’.

This data is used to train programs to recognize scenarios and improve in a desirable task.

  1. Innovative ways of training a program

Armed with tons of data and ample computing power, deep learning has made a comeback in the mainstream AI arena.

Now with this machines are learning on their own, especially with reinforcement learning ( which is subset of machine learning).

Artificial neural networks are used to train programs to make intelligent programs without the need to manually code them. Machine Learning is powering many of the most commonly used applications today, enabling cars to drive themselves, detecting cancer cells in X-rays and so much more.

Our current AI capabilities have shown outstanding performance in narrow tasks, better even than humans, at times.

But now, this exponential technological growth points to a possible time when computers surpass humans, not only in narrow tasks, but also in general cognitive faculties. There could be a time when a program is on par with human intelligence and reaches artificial general intelligence (AGI)—the point of Singularity.

Possible scenarios

  1. With enormous computing power and the ability to design and upgrade itself, Super Intelligent Machine could constantly grow more intelligent. It could turn hostile towards us and annihilate the entire species.

The result of this Singularity would be an artificial super-intelligence, one who could essentially play Superpower  on this planet.

  1. The singularity presents both an existential threat to humanity and an existential opportunity for humanity to transcend its limitations.

Machine ( & AI) work on reward function.
It doesn’t know , what is right or wrong. Given an aim, it tries to achieve that & if it is able to achieve that properly, it get rewarded in positive way.

So it learns in that way & tries to maximize it’s reward.
Now, it we can codify ‘the right outcome’ & put an reward, AI will try
to maximize that.
The superintelligence could design completely new ways of doing
things that are essential for us to survive, including breakthroughs
in energy generation, transportation, housing, farming, and global warming, etc.
Challenge is ‘ how to codify what is morally right’. We (human) learn this over period of time by observing our parents, siblings, friends ,society & than form our own view.  

That superintelligence could design completely new ways of doing things that are essential for us to survive, including breakthroughs in energy generation, transportation, housing, farming, and global warming, etc.

It could help us become a multi-planetary species and unlock physical capabilities currently beyond our wildest imagination.

.         If we manage to tame it in some way, it could usher in an era of enormous prosperity for the world, the likes of which humans have never experienced.

Even if we think we’re playing with fire (some governments around the world have banned the pursuit of AGI), the benefits are far too great for organizations to back down. The rewards of a human-level digital intelligence far outweigh the risks that it poses.

  1. In his book, ‘The Singularity is Near.’ Ray Kurzweil, a recipient of the National Medal of Technology, predicts that “by the 2030’s, we will connect our neo-cortex, the part of our brain where we do our thinking, to the cloud”

The concept of humans connecting to such a vast amount of data is one of the main theories that drive the singularity theory (AI singularity already happened) and futurists such as Kurzweil and billionaire Elon Musk who started the company Neuralink on the premise of connecting humans and AI technology. Musk’s technology is slated for human trials in coming years. 

As per, Kurzweil, we would be linking our consciousness to machines for medicine or entertainment & this will help us to live longer by supposedly living in the cloud’, our consciousness surfing cyberspace with no end and existing as pure consciousness without a need for a human body.

We, humans, have tried to augment our biological bodies. Be a tattoo to improve our looks, hearing machines for ears, eyeglasses for better viewing, microscope to see things in details which can’t be viewed by naked eyes, loudspeaker to raise our voice or a pacemaker for our heart.

We can also think of the scenario, where we may be able to augment our brains also.

Can this result in making sure that human brain, augmented with certain non-biological instruments, is always ahead of machines?

  1. The human brain is still a complex subject, not fully understood by all experts. We have a subconscious mind; we have dreams. Also, human being has empathy, consciousness & common sense. Though machines will be able to surpass mathematical abilities, will they be able to possess these other soft skills, on par with humans? Without ‘common-sense’ (which in itself is difficult to describe) or so-called intuition, is it possible that Intelligence machines will destroy each other?

 

Conclusion: What is Technological Singularity

The technological singularity is the point in the future, by when our technology, particularly AI will evolve beyond our understanding and (potentially) control and will eventually surpass human intelligence.

As per, Kurzweil’s law of accelerating returns, the pace at which technology evolves speeds up drastically over time due to a common driving force pushing it forward.

His theory is that the acceleration can be quantified in the ‘returns’ of the technology by variables such as speed, performance, efficiency, and power.

Also, we have already witnessed, 2 AI winters. Whether we will again see a AI winter. If things are fully automated, whether we will still invest in AI & allow it to progress further. No-one knows.

 But most of us, would find the idea of a future where machines are smarter than people or merge with them, frighteningly (similar to some Hollywood movies..).

Technological Singularity (when will singularity happen) is a powerful concept.
This will force us to revisit our thoughts ( What is mind, what is consciousness, can we define, what is morally right, what does it mean to be human & our purpose).

But we can also think that it can be a beginning of a machine-led era, which is simply the next stage in our technological evolution and is something that will ultimately improve humanity. 

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