The Singularity Q&A

Q: Could the Singularity be followed by other Singularities?

A: There is no way to know for sure in advance, but it seems more than likely that singularities will follow the Singularity. 

Using the idea of the predictive horizion, this could occur in two different ways.  First, if the predictive horizon is ever anchored to a specific date, then the horizion is reachable, and another anchored horizon would have to be established.  For example, if we said that the Singularity is the point beyond which no meaningful predictions could have been made in the year 2002, then once we realized that we had crossed this threshold (by finding ourselves in a future that could not have been foreseen), we could say that the Singularity had been reached, and label the next predictive horizon as the next Singularity, fixing a new anchor date to make it reachable.  It would be like cresting a ridge and seeing yet another ridge, which is crested to reveal another ridge, etc.

If a Singularity is considered reached when a non-anchored horizon shrinks to a certain distance from the observer (say... 1 year), then the time after this Singularity may see improvements in predictive capabilities may push the horizon outward again.  A second Singularity would be reached when or if predictive capability again shrank to the 1 year mark.  This is not too far-fetched an idea when we consider that the first greater intelligences might take the form of AI, who could proceed to change the world in ways we could not foresee, but also give us the means to improve our own intelligence in the process, thereby improving our predictive powers.

Using the "greater intelligence" Singularity model, Singularities are almost certain to follow Singularities quite rapidly, since one of the chief goals of any greater intelligence will likely be the creation of still greater intelligence.  The overall rate of increase in intelligence could thus be very rapid, but would probably be periodic in nature: plateaus of intelligence followed by jumps in intelligence, each jump a Singularity to plateaus preceeding it.  (Think steps in a spiral staircase.)

[Back to Futurism] [Back to Main]  ©2002 by Mitchell Howe