I just came across an article regarding the concept of singularity as it pertains to society and technology. The article (Exploring the 'Singularity') goes to lengthy details to explain the concept of singularity, what it means, and sort of why is it 'inevitable'.
The predominant framework of the article relies on the belief that there is (or there will be) such existential state, a tangible reality, where machine intelligence is a possibility. This 'understanding' then leads to the belief that technology 'has life of its own'.
The article provides the following brief and succinct definition(s):
"Kurzweil and many transhumanists define it as "a future time when societal, scientific, and economic change is so fast we cannot even imagine what will happen from our present perspective." "
that will result when the machine intelligence surpasses the human intelligence.
"A number of scientists believe machine intelligence will surpass human intelligence within a few decades, leading to what's come to be called the Singularity."
As I have elaborated in another entry (why machines can't reason or think) the word 'intelligence' has two distinct meanings when applied to humans and to machines. Our intelligibility is a reality that we experience, we feel it, and we manifest intelligent actions. Now, if there is to be a machine intelligence in its true meaning, it is us humans that will have to implement it or as will singularists say 'turn the switch' to that machine intelligibility.
Short of using the argument that how can an intelligence create intelligent form more intelligent than itself, we should not forget that machines will definitely become more powerful and more capable in their information processing functions. But, are we ready to call this intelligence? Furthermore, the fast pace of technological development and advance will certainly come. However, how is this related to machine intelligence as stated in this article?
If anything, singularly should better refer to the future time when our human activities are fundamentally dependant and conditioned by the technology that surrounds us. We saw this sort of mass behavior with the Y2K bug. It had nothing to do with machine intelligence. Actually, one can argue that it very much had to do with human mis-intelligence in depending so much on technology even for the most critical daily life necessities.
Maybe it is time to start thinking on how to better utilize the technology around us, or perhaps to how better design the technology that will surrounds us, in such a way that minimizes the possibility of chaos due to overdependence on information technology.
Technology is what we make it. Yes, the appropriation of technologies influences us, our human society, and our activities. This influence, inscribed into the technology by us the humans, might prove to be negative and appear controlling at some instances, maybe with devastating consequences and relative chaos. However, this should not be confused with machine intelligence. We didn't create our intelligence. How can we create machine intelligence (or artifical intelligence) at all, let alone intelligence more intelligent than our own as the concept of singularity suggest?