What is the singularity?
What is the singularity?
In technology, the singularity describes a hypothetical future where technological growth is uncontrollable and irreversible. These smart and powerful technologies will radically and unpredictably transform our reality.
However, the word “singularity” has many different meanings. It all depends on the context. For example, in natural sciences, the singularity describes dynamic systems and social systems where a small change can have a huge impact.
What is the uniqueness of the technology?
Most notably, the singularity would imply that computer programs become so advanced that artificial intelligence (AI) transcends human intelligence, potentially blurring the line between humanity and computers. Nanotechnology is seen as one of the key technologies that will make singularity a reality.
This intelligence explosion will have a significant impact on human civilization. These computer programs and AI will turn into super-intelligent machines with cognitive capabilities beyond human capabilities.
To give a bit of context, John von Neumann – a mathematician, computer scientist, engineer, physicist and universal spirit – first discussed the concept of technological singularity at the beginning of the 20th century. Since then, many authors have either echoed this point of view or adapted it in their writings.
These stories were often apocalyptic and described a future where superintellect is leveling up and accelerating development at an incomprehensible rate. Indeed, machines take charge of their own development from their human creators, who lack their cognitive abilities. According to the theory of the singularity, superintelligence is developed and carried out by self-directed computers. This will happen and grow exponentially, not incrementally.
Entrepreneurs and public figures like Elon musk expressed their concerns about the advancements in AI leading to human extinction. Important innovations in genetic, nanotechnology and robotic will lay the foundations for singularity during the first half of the 21st century.
While the term technical singularity comes up often in discussions about AI, there is a lot of disagreement and confusion over its meaning. However, most philosophers and scientists agree that there will be a turning point when we see the emergence of superintelligence. They also agree on crucial aspects of the singularity like time and speed. This means that they agree that intelligent systems will improve on their own at an increasing rate.
There are also talks about adding superintelligent abilities to humans. These included brain-computer interfaces, biological alteration of the brain, brain implants and genetic engineering.
Ultimately, a post-singularity world will be unrecognizable. For example, humans could potentially scan their consciousness and store it in a computer. This approach will help humans live forever as sentient robots or in a virtual world.
What is the singularity in robotics?
In robotic, the singularity is a configuration where the robot final effector hangs in some directions. For example, a serial robot or any six-axis robotic arm will have singularities. According to American National Standards Institute, the robot singularities result from the collinear alignment of two or more robot axes.
Whenever this happens, the result is unpredictable movement and speeds of the robot. For example, a singularity will occur when an improperly configured robot arm causes the robot to stall and stop functioning.
What is the singularity in physics?
In physics, there is a gravitational singularity or space-time singularity that describes a location in space-time. Albert Einstein Theory of general relativity, space-time is a place where the gravitational field and the density of a celestial body becomes infinite without depending on a coordinated system.
This means that it reaches a point where all known physical laws are indistinguishable, and space and time are no longer interdependent realities. They both merge indistinguishably and cease to have independent significance.
There are several types of singularities. Each singularity has a distinct physical characteristic with its own characteristics. These characteristics are directly linked to the original theories from which they emerged. The two most important types of singularity are the conical singularity and the curved singularity.
A point where the limit of each quantity of general covariance is finite is the conical singularity. In this scenario, the space-time takes the form of a cone built around this point.
The singularity is at the end of the cone. An excellent example of a conical singularity is cosmic strings. Experts believe that this hypothetical one-dimensional point formed during the early days of the universe.
A black hole best describes the curvature singularity.
When it comes to black holes, the singularity is at the center of them. A black hole is a very dense one-dimensional point where all matter compresses to an infinitely small point. Here, all concepts of space and time completely collapse.
Black holes collapse to the singularity. It is a geometric point in space where the compression of the mass is an infinite density and a zero volume. Space-time curves to infinity, gravity is infinite and the laws of physics stop working.
There is also what is called the naked singularity. Researchers discovered the naked singularity using a computer simulation. This type of singularity cannot be hidden from the event horizon (the boundary of the surface of a black hole where the speed required to escape is greater than the speed of light).
In this case, the singularity point is visible in a black hole. Theoretically, this type of singularity would have existed long before the big Bang.