(Pic kind of related. A Space oddessey for all!)
Today marks the day that I hang up my gamification hood and crossbow, not that I don't still think it's great and going to be an integral part of our future, but because it's a bit of a slow evolving field. I'm setting my sights slightly further down our collective timeline - the future is bright, bring on the future.
This is the first post in my Futurewatch series, where I'll be finding and writing about both futuristic breakthroughs as well as emerging ideas about what will be possible in the near, not so near and rather distant future.
So sci-fi fans, nerds, dystopians, utopians, tech-savvy's and cogs of the great machine, listen up, I'm about to tell you about some pretty core ideas in the futurist dogma: the singularity.
Singularity literally referers to the quality of being single in number, but the ideas behind it are a little more complicated. What it boils down to is, computer devices will surpass human intelligence, interlinked, suddenly able to conceive ideas from outside of what they've been taught.
It's a little bit more complex then that, with varying estimations as to how, when and what will happen when it occurs. Don't worry, you won't wake up in a few weeks to find your digital-clock toaster asking you why it doesn't have the right to vote.
Once humans create a technological emnity that surpasses our own intelligence, it is logical to assume that the intellect-deity will move its attentions on to self-improvement (meaning it's superior intellect is now aiming to improve itself, the best that humanity could create).
So, we have a super-intelligence, what do we do with it? Interact with it and augment our own abilities, or be enslaved by it?
There are four ways for it to occur (as postulated by Vinge).
2. Computers 'waking up' into consciousness, networks (and their users) becoming one powerful entity.
3. Computer/human interactions will become so pervasive and complex that they may considered one entity.
4. Biological science will discover methods to augment human intelligence.
Ray Kurzweil, acclaimed author and futurist wrote that: "the Singularity will allow us to transcend these limitations of our biological bodies and brains ... There will be no distinction, post-Singularity, between human and machine."
Imagine that you are using a computer (or internet connection) and it is YOU that limits the speed of what is being done.
Imagine that you don't walk around holding a smartphone, but that a microchip in your skull perfors all those functions.
Imagine you took orders from machines (sentient ones - not traffic lights).
But how can humanity keep up with machines, what can we do to give ourselves an advantage, after all - machines can be upgraded bit by bit, we cannot.
"Once the machine thinking method has started, it would not take long to outstrip our feeble powers. ... At some stage therefore we should have to expect the machines to take control."
Alan Turing (1951), the 'father' of computer science.