[ExI] Definitions of the singularity (was: re: MAX MORE in Second Life yesterday)

Stefano Vaj stefano.vaj at gmail.com
Fri Jun 13 09:50:24 UTC 2008

On Fri, Jun 13, 2008 at 4:08 AM, Bryan Bishop <kanzure at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Thursday 12 June 2008, Michael Anissimov wrote:
> Hrm. I'm pretty sure that you're doubly hijacking the singularity
> definition. It's either/or:
> (1) Recursive self-improving intelligence a.k.a. superintelligence.
> or (2) Exponential growth.

Nobody has a patent on the "Singularity" terminology, and we are all
free to mean by it whatever we like. For instance, the Singularity
Institute AFAIK adopts three different, but very specific, meanings,
all of which have strictly to do with AI.

I think however that a broader sense may often be more useful, in
particular that which comes from the original metaphor, and simply
refers a technology-induced quantum leap, a "Zeitumbruch", involving a
breakdown and loss of plausible predictivity of "ordinary"
developmental rules, similar to that which took place with the
neolithic revolution or the hominisation, or which ideally takes place
when considering black holes or the first instants of a new universe.

The real force and interest of such concept is not that of a
fear-laden or rapture-seeking eschatological prospective, but on the
contrary the demystification of the regular human temptation to think
that life and business will forever go on as they did, only a little
more and a little further than they went from our parents' to ours.

Stefano Vaj

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