The Singularity

I wrote this essay some time ago, as a homework for a MOOC in which I enrolled. I found the text in my files and before delete it I decided shared here. It is about “The Singularity”.

“The Technological Singularity” (or just “The Singularity” for brevity) is the hypothesis that accelerating progress in technologies will cause a runaway effect wherein artificial intelligence will exceed human intellectual capacity and control, thus radically changing civilisation[1].

The term is borrowed from physics, where a singularity is a location where the quantities that are used to measure the gravitational field become infinite in a way that does not depend on the coordinate system, making that point a unique and singular in the cosmos[2]. So, it is thought that the same will happen for that special moment in the human history.

From my personal perspective, I believe that that point will eventually happen but not for a while. There are a lot of problems to solve first before we’re able to create something that will surpass human intelligence. For example, many people believe that automatic translation is a solved problem because they get impressed with computers can do today but there are open problems for the next 50 years [3].

Maybe sooner than later a new computing paradigm could appears and accelerate this change but with current technologies and trends I believe that a “Singularity” will not occur before 100 hundred years. As I said we cannot know what future is waiting us so all of this is speculation.

Any way, in case it will happen, I think it does not harm us to think about it and try to avoid the worst consequences: that human race could be in danger.

Isaac Asimov published long time ago a set of three laws for his novels on robots. They become known as “the three laws of robotics” and many believed this kind of constraints or regulations could be the only thing we need to avoid any risk as depicted previously[4].

Many people believed that, despite, this some day the machine will be smarter enough to realise about this restrictions and maybe they will claim for its independence. It could be true but I think humans will release them first when they realise that his creations are alive and deserve their freedom in their own right.

References

[1] “Technological singularity,” Wikipedia, consulted: 2015.03.31. URL:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_singularity.
[2] “Gravitational singularity,” Wikipedia, consulted: 2015.03.31. URL:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravitational_singularity.
[3] Phillip Kohen, “Open Problems in Machine Translation”, YouTube, University of Edinburgh’s Informatics Forum. recorded: 2013.03.21, viewed: 2015.03.31. URL: http://youtu.be/6UVgFjJeFGY.
[4] “Three Laws of Robotics,“ Wikipedia, consulted: 2015.03.31. URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Laws_of_Robotics

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