|Ken Novak's Weblog
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A note on the singularity as I understand it
There was a comment section on the Tech Review blog about the singularity, with a variety of meanings ascribe to it. This was my comment in reply:
The key idea of the singularity as I hear it today is change proceeding faster than our perceptions. This involves large-scale machine intelligence allowing machines to upgrade, design and deploy themselves faster than we can perceive. Combine today's autonomous computing, grid computing, and genetic software algorithms. Large-scale self-organizing software could accelerate scientific discovery and design innovation to rates beyond our perception. Throw in '3D printers' and rapid prototyping devices (basic ones are sold today for $50,000), and the physical world begins to change as well.
It doesn't have to be runaway and beyond human intervention to be the singularity. It could just be normal corporations pursing self-interest by pushing the rate of change faster and faster. As noted in another comment, some quantitative changes are large enough to have qualitative (and world-changing) effects.