The Singularity, also known as Technological Singularity, is defined as “the emergence of super-intelligent machines with capabilities that cannot be predicted by humans.”

The term was coined by science fiction writer, Vernor Vinge, in the essay “The Coming Technological Singularity” and popularised by Ray Kurzweil in his 2005 book “The Singularity is near.”  Vinge advances the idea that the rise of a superintelligence would continue to upgrade itself and grow at an incomprehensible rate.

Mathematician John von Neumann wrote in the 1950’s that technological advancement will lead to the development of superintelligence that will fundamentally change life as we know it. In 1965, I.J. Good wrote about “an intelligent explosion that will far surpass the intellectual abilities of men however clever.”

The exponential growth of computing technology described by Moore’s law is often cited as the reason to expect that Singularity is near. Moore’s law stems from the observation that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits had doubled every year since the integrated circuit was invented. The law suggests that if the first doubling of speed took eighteen months; the next would take nine months, the next four months and so on towards a speed of singularity. Simply put, as technology advances, machines become more intelligent and are capable of solving increasingly complex problems. These super-intelligent machines will develop so much that they will design better machines or simply rewrite themselves to become smarter.

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The potential benefits of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) are remarkable: the eradication of poverty, prolonged life expectancy, eradication of diseases. The sociologist William Sims Bainbridge writes about cyber immortality, the possibility to experience a spiritual eternity that persists long after we are gone by uploading digital records of our thoughts and feelings into perpetual storage systems.

Life extension is part of a social and philosophical movement called transhumanism. The main argument in favor of this movement is that humans are evolving beings that should use technology to enhance their physical and cognitive capacities.

Nick Bostrom writes in his book “Superintelligence” that once machines surpass human intellect, they could decide to destroy humans extremely fast. The future will be transformed by technology, but humans won’t be around to see it.