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Essay

The Singularity Isn’t Simple! (However We Look at It) A Random Walk between Science Fiction and Science Fact

Department of Computing, Wrexham Glyndŵr University, Wrexham LLI1 2AW, UK.
Information 2018, 9(4), 99; https://doi.org/10.3390/info9040099
Received: 11 April 2018 / Revised: 17 April 2018 / Accepted: 18 April 2018 / Published: 19 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue AI AND THE SINGULARITY: A FALLACY OR A GREAT OPPORTUNITY?)
It seems to be accepted that intelligenceartificial or otherwise—and ‘the singularity’ are inseparable concepts: ‘The singularity’ will apparently arise from AI reaching a, supposedly particular, but actually poorly-defined, level of sophistication; and an empowered combination of hardware and software will take it from there (and take over from us). However, such wisdom and debate are simplistic in a number of ways: firstly, this is a poor definition of the singularity; secondly, it muddles various notions of intelligence; thirdly, competing arguments are rarely based on shared axioms, so are frequently pointless; fourthly, our models for trying to discuss these concepts at all are often inconsistent; and finally, our attempts at describing any ‘post-singularity’ world are almost always limited by anthropomorphism. In all of these respects, professional ‘futurists’ often appear as confused as storytellers who, through freer licence, may conceivably have the clearer view: perhaps then, that becomes a reasonable place to start. There is no attempt in this paper to propose, or evaluate, any research hypothesis; rather simply to challenge conventions. Using examples from science fiction to illustrate various assumptions behind the AI/singularity debate, this essay seeks to encourage discussion on a number of possible futures based on different underlying metaphysical philosophies. Although properly grounded in science, it eventually looks beyond the technology for answers and, ultimately, beyond the Earth itself. View Full-Text
Keywords: futurism and futurology; hard science fiction; artificial intelligence; models of consciousness; intelligent machines; machine replication; machine evolution and optimization; technological singularity futurism and futurology; hard science fiction; artificial intelligence; models of consciousness; intelligent machines; machine replication; machine evolution and optimization; technological singularity
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MDPI and ACS Style

Grout, V. The Singularity Isn’t Simple! (However We Look at It) A Random Walk between Science Fiction and Science Fact. Information 2018, 9, 99. https://doi.org/10.3390/info9040099

AMA Style

Grout V. The Singularity Isn’t Simple! (However We Look at It) A Random Walk between Science Fiction and Science Fact. Information. 2018; 9(4):99. https://doi.org/10.3390/info9040099

Chicago/Turabian Style

Grout, Vic. 2018. "The Singularity Isn’t Simple! (However We Look at It) A Random Walk between Science Fiction and Science Fact" Information 9, no. 4: 99. https://doi.org/10.3390/info9040099

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