The technological singularity is closer than we think

Some futurists have argued for decades that humanity is heading towards a so-called “technological singularity,” a point where technological progress is moving too fast for the human mind to comprehend what is going on. Although their projections were, according to some critics, overly optimistic, it seems we are moving quickly toward such a world. We may even be one of the last generations of “normal” people who will ever get around.

The idea originated in the 1980s, when American mathematician and science fiction writer Vernor Vinge predicted that within 30 years, technological advances would allow humanity to develop superintelligence. In his essay, he wrote, “Soon thereafter the age of man will come to an end.” “singularity”published March 30, 1993.

The argument goes something like this: If humanity is able to create an intelligence capable of more than itself, then what is called an “intelligence explosion” will occur. Whether it is pure artificial intelligence or a mixture of the human brain with cybernetic implants; The result, according to Vinge, will be the same: a loop feedback From intelligence that makes itself more powerful. For if man can create something more intelligent than himself, then it is logical that this more intelligent entity can take a step forward, and then his successor can achieve more, and so on.

Meanwhile, less than 30 years have passed since the publication of The Singularity. So far, there is no question of superintelligence, let alone an intelligence explosion. AI chatbots like ChatGPT may be impressive, but so far not much real artificial reasoning ability has been achieved.

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But we are not that far away.

he crossed his boundaries

To see how close the singularity is, we just have to look at the hype around the current wave of AI. It started at the end of November, when ChatGPT was first launched in the world. Of course, this does not mean that ChatGPT and all the other AI systems that have emerged since then have come close to self-awareness. A simple logical question addressed to a chatbot painfully reveals how limited its capabilities are.

Generative AI such as ChatGPT, but also DALL-E and GitHub Copilot are what we call “narrow AI”, which is an AI that is capable of doing only one task very well. To achieve the technological singularity, much more is needed, most futurologists say. This means the so-called “artificial general intelligence” (AGI), an artificial intelligence capable of matching or exceeding any intellectual task a human can perform.

But the first steps in this direction were taken decades ago. A classic example is the story of “Deep Blue”, the IBM supercomputer that defeated then world chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997. Up until that point, most people believed that playing chess required deeper intelligence. However, humanity was decimated by a narrow artificial intelligence that was still very primitive. Deep Blue’s profits were so impressive that Kasparov himself was convinced that IBM had been deceived. He claimed that the computer displayed intelligence that was too human.

After winning Deep Blue, many scientists repented. Chess will not show any special features of intelligence anyway. After all, the game is built very logically, in contrast to things that elevate human intelligence above computer intelligence. Think creativity and the ability to think abstractly. That reasoning has held up against a number of other narrow AI victories, as it has at the time Watson IBM The game “Danger!” won in 2011. or later AlphaGo Defeated the Go World Champion in 2016.

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But as generative AI begins to break through, the boundaries must be pushed again.

Creative artificial intelligence

After all, ChatGPT is known in part for its obvious creativity. Although the software works by creating content based on a huge database of pre-existing content and is therefore incapable of thinking abstractly, the same cannot be said of its “creativity”.

After all, the tool is capable of writing copy, inventing scripts for films, drawing up marketing plans, brightening scripts and an infinite number of other things that only creators can do for a long time. Other generative AI systems such as DALL-E are also capable of creating works of art limited only by the abstract ideas of people entering commands.

While it could be argued that it is not about “real” creativity, it seems likely that the line between human and machine creativity will become increasingly blurred as generative AI matures, just as Deep Blue only provided the first impulse to do things differently. On the nature of raw intelligence.


And while human reasoning skills are currently unmatched, it may very well be that they will eventually be handled by AI. After all, logic has been lost in recent decades, and now creativity has also begun to believe in it. There is no reason to think that progress will stop here.

On the contrary: it seems to be gaining momentum. Over the past 30 years, the world has been turned upside down many times, first due to the advent of the personal computer, and then the smartphone. The third wave, that of generative AI, is now fully under way. ChatGPT is called the “iPhone Moment” for a reason.

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Now it is a matter of waiting for the fourth wave. There’s a good chance it will have an even bigger impact, at least if we can base ourselves on the trends of the past decades. It’s still hard to predict what that will look like. What can be said, however, is that technology will play an increasingly important role.

Of course, we cannot yet say what will happen in the future. Some futurists believe that artificial intelligence will soon surpass humanity so much that we will, in fact, create a “god”. Others believe that it is impossible and that human intelligence is unique and unsurpassable. Either way, we live in exciting times.

(Acronym II.)

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