Futurist R. Kurzweil explains that capturing just .03% of sunlight falling onto the earth would satisfy projected human energy needs through 2030. The technologies for this solution exist and it is only a matter of time before the adoption of these and other new technologies will solve many challenges, like energy, which modern human civilization is facing. However, the implication of the dramatic evolution of technologies will result in even more compelling and revolutionary change that will impact humanity in ways presently unimaginable to most. Humanity will inevitably move beyond its biological constraints and this evolution, termed by some as the new age of Singularity, will soon be upon us all.
An objective historical account of the exponential explosion of technologies shows what has occured in just the past few decades: the paradigm shift rate is doubling every ten years. For example it took a half century to adopt the telephone and only eight years to adopt the cell phone. These principals are based on indirection; learning from the past and adopting this learning into the next stage of change: it is the nature of evolution. A good example is in biological evolution, where RNA and DNA took billions of years to develop, while the Cambrian explosion took but 10 Million years to occur. As shown in nature, we cannot think of technological change in a linear fashion: it is logrythmic and exponential.
This thinking and the depth of research and understanding which substantiates these trends and ideas is represented thoughtfully by Ray Kurzweil and can be viewed on TED.
Within a quarter century, nonbiological intelligence will match the range and subtlety of human intelligence. It will then soar past it because of the continuing acceleration of information-based technologies, as well as the ability of machines to instantly share their knowledge. Intelligent nanorobots will be deeply integrated in our bodies, our brains, and our environment, overcoming pollution and poverty, providing vastly extended longevity, full-immersion virtual reality incorporating all of the senses (like “The Matrix”), "experience beaming” (like “Being John Malkovich”), and vastly enhanced human intelligence. The result will be an intimate merger between the technology-creating species and the technological evolutionary process it spawned.
And that’s the Singularity?
Nonbiological intelligence will have access to its own design and will be able to improve itself in an increasingly rapid redesign cycle. We’ll get to a point where technical progress will be so fast that unenhanced human intelligence will be unable to follow it. That will mark the Singularity.
The date for the Singularity—representing a profound and disruptive transformation in human capability—as 2045. The nonbiological intelligence created in that year will be one billion times more powerful than all human intelligence today.
Why is this called the Singularity?
The term “Singularity” is comparable to the use of this term by the physics community. Just as we find it hard to see beyond the event horizon of a black hole, we also find it difficult to see beyond the event horizon of the historical Singularity. How can we, with our limited biological brains, imagine what our future civilization, with its intelligence multiplied trillions-fold, be capable of thinking and doing? Nevertheless, just as we can draw conclusions about the nature of black holes through our conceptual thinking, despite never having actually been inside one, our thinking today is powerful enough to have meaningful insights into the implications of the Singularity. The dynamics leading to the Singularity are at the root of the emerging human revolution which we are only begining to see the signs of today.