In 1993 the Hugo award winning ScFi writer, Vernor Vinge, wrote an essay entitled, “The Coming Technological Singularity” that opened the door to a theory which fired the imagination of both scientists and the public alike. This theory, simply stated, recognizes the creation of superhuman artificial intelligence and presages a moment of no return, one at which Vinge states, “the human era will be ended”. This event horizon for the human race is of such advance that it is believed that no current models of reality are sufficient to predict beyond it.
In the decade that followed the futurist computer scientist, Ray Kurzweil, wrote and rewrote his book on the notion of Singularity culminating in the 2005 Viking edition: The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology. In his book Kurzweil makes many predictions for the future of The Singularity and for mankind. (See http://bit.ly/6Womy). This fired the neurons of many scientists worldwide and debate ensued on the accuracy of these predictions which has raged on in academia ever since.
Fast forward to 2012 and the timely release of documentarian, Doug Wolens film, The Singularity. Wolens explains the theory and his film thus:
The Singularity is an inevitable moment in our history when we will be able to create computer systems with greater-than-human intelligence, bio-engineer our species and re-design matter through nanotechnology. These future technologies will transform the course of civilization. THE SINGULARITY sidesteps the sci-fi cliches about robots versus humans, presenting an intellectually thrilling debate that begins with a basic question: What kind of humans do we want to become?
Director Doug Wolens speaks with leading futurists, computer scientists, AI experts and philosophers, who turn over the question like a Rubik’s Cube. Those who insist this paradigm shift is only decades away emphasize that we’re on the cusp of creating nano tech machines that patrol our bloodstream and repair cellular damage, athletes with jacked-up genetic code who sprint like gazelles, an Internet that downloads directly to the mind and medical labs with computer-replicated brains working by the thousands to cure disease.
Ultimately, if we become more machine-like, and machines more like us, will we sacrifice our humanity to gain something greater? Or will we engineer our own demise? Even if the answers are impossible to know, THE SINGULARITY makes clear that we cannot postpone addressing the questions.
Intriguing? I think so. And Little Fluffy Clouds was happy to provide the animated elucidations that accompany the many entertaining interviews and explain the deep and diverse concepts of The Singularity. More info and festival screenings here: http://thesingularityfilm.com/index.html