Understanding The Singularity

When thinking about The Singularity, the image of Astronomy, Astrophysics, Black Holes and Einstein comes to mind, yet another notion defines it as a point on the path of technological acceleration, where convergence of everything is at its fastest, and creating an emergent technology with its own version of sentience to challenge our own appears credible.

Perhaps in a parallel universe synthetic life will be created by humans to serve us as workers or soldiers, an effort supported by the business sector looking to reduce labor costs and maximize profits, or governments with designed warriors at their disposal; empowered with the ability to expand its capabilities by surpassing the intelligence of its creators.

It could also be argued that this has already happened in another reality where imagining this is  leant credence by physics, defining the Cosmos as multi-universes separated only by unique  signatures in the form of vibrations, allowing for all possibilities that can happen do happen in an alternate quantum reality and where an infinite number of potential outcomes are determined not only by our actions, but our thoughts as well.

Science Fiction has been a perfect medium for presenting scientific theories with contemporary social overtones in a format that is more acceptable by society; culturally relevant and easily digestable and yet distant enough to be non-threatening. A form of literature frequently misunderstood, Science Fiction has often had as its basis a future where advancements often begin with developments in medical technology that expand the boundaries of life in unpredictable ways.

Battlestar Gallactia was about the creation of artificial life, a milestone that has already begun in our reality. But, in theirs, the Cylons choose to exterminate their creators and almost succeeds. In yet another popular series, Star Trek – The Next Generation, a seventh season episode Parallels explores the theory of traveling from one reality to another. The events begin when  Lt. Worf, in a shuttle craft, inadvertently causes a spacial rift between quantum alternate universes, tearing the fabric of space, shifting from one reality to the next, experiencing some of the infinite outcomes that were determined by his choices.

The acclaimed series took a metaphysical approach when it explored the legal status of artificial life and the criteria for self awareness in the thought provoking trial of Data in Measure Of A Man, a second season episode that points out that although self awareness has been demonstrated, no one has been able to find a way measure consciousness, let alone judge it.

It has always been easy to dismiss Science Fiction as a fantasy, but it has been hard to ignore the numerous inventions that were first thought by writers that have now become science fact and changed our culture. Who would have thought that in this alternate reality, a computer named Watson would compete and win on Jeopardy as a contestant against Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, two human challengers and all time champions of the show.

Perhaps this is our first step towards realizing The Singularity – a future time when the confluence of  scientific, societal and economic conditions move so fast making it impossible to reflect or even predict what will happen from our current perspective, leaving all possibilities open until someone perceives them from whatever place the source of all possibilities exists and puts them within grasp.