the singularity’s mysterious allure
Earlier this month, devoted Singularitarians, inquisitive observers and interested futurists convened in NYC for the Singularity Summit to hear the latest predictions about artificial intelligence, cyborg technology and biotech from theorists and of course, Ray Kurzweil himself. I was invited to the event but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it. However, I did catch up on the coverage of the Summit over at Popular Mechanics, which came with a subtitle that made me raise my brow in surprise.
When a kooky-sounding technology theory gains enough intellectual momentum to have its own conference, with smart people discussing it and venture capitalists talking about investing in it, it’s worth stopping by to listen.
The world of technology is full of hot trends and lots of venture capitalists and luminaries invest millions in the next big thing. In the late 1990s, it was e-business. Today, it’s social media and even though social networks have sky high valuations but meager, if any, profits, the money keeps streaming in. The Singularity has been very smartly pitched as the next big thing after the next big thing, so the venture capitalists who’s job it is to find the hot, new investment opportunity will want to check it out. But all their talk doesn’t necessarily say anything about the validity of the ideas being discussed as the article’s author, Glenn Derene, acknowledges.
As for the in-depth discussions about the issues with the Singularity theories, check out the series of debates with the president of the Singularity Institute, Michael Vassar. (rounds one, two and three) I don’t think any of the points being discussed there changed in the last few weeks.