What is the best definition of Singularity?



The term Singularity has many definitions.

The everyday English definition of Singularity is a noun that designates the quality of being one of a kind, strange, unique, remarkable or unusual.

For a more specific definition of Singularity we can search The Wiktionary where we get the following five Singularity definitions:

1. the state of being singular, distinct, peculiar, uncommon or unusual
2. a point where all parallel lines meet
3. a point where a measured variable reaches unmeasurable or infinite value
4. (mathematics) the value or range of values of a function for which a derivative does not exist
5. (physics) a point or region in spacetime in which gravitational forces cause matter to have an infinite density; associated with Black Holes

What we are most interested in, however, is the definition of Singularity as a technological phenomenon -- i.e. the Technological Singularity. Here we can also find a variety of subtly different interpretations of the definition of Singularity.


John von Neumann was quoted as saying that "the ever accelerating progress of technology ... gives the appearance of approaching some essential singularity in the history of the race beyond which human affairs, as we know them, could not continue." His definition of the Singularity was that the Singularity is the moment beyond which "technological progress will become incomprehensively rapid and complicated."


Vernor Vinge introduced the term Technological Singularity in his science fiction novel Marooned in Realtime(1986) and later developed the concept in his essay the Coming Technological Singularity (1993). His definition of Singularity is widely known as the event horizon thesis and in essence says that trans or post-human minds will imply a weirder future than we can imagine:

"Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended. [...] I think it's fair to call this event a singularity. It is a point where our models must be discarded and a new reality rules. As we move closer and closer to this point, it will loom vaster and vaster over human affairs till the notion becomes a commonplace. Yet when it finally happens it may still be a great surprise and a greater unknown."



I.J. Good, who greatly influenced Vinge himself, never used the term Singularity itself. However, what Vinge called Singularity Good called intelligence explosion and by that he meant a positive feedback cycle within which minds will make technology to improve on minds which once started will rapidly surge upwards and create super-intelligence. This definition of Singularity is also known as the intelligence explosion hypothesis.

Ray Kurzweil is associated with the third and most popular interpretation of the Technological Singularity, often referred to as the accelerating change thesis. In his book The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology Kurzweil defined the Technological Singularity as:

"... a future period during which the pace of technological change will be so rapid, its impact so deep, that human life will be irreversibly transformed. Although neither utopian nor dystopian, this epoch will transform the concepts that we rely on to give meaning to our lifes, from our business models to the cycle of human life, including death itself."


Kevin Kelly, founder of Wired Magazine

Singularity is the point at which "all the change in the last million years will be superseded by the change in the next five minutes."


James Martin, a world-renowned leading futurist, computer scientist, author, lecturer and, among many other things, the largest donor in the history of Oxford University.

Singularity "is a break in human evolution that will be caused by the staggering speed of technological evolution."


Socrates

Since all of the above refer to the same broad occurrence, I will simply define the Technological Singularity as the event, or sequence of events, likely to occur at or after the birth of Artificial Intelligence. (especially when AI surpasses human intelligence)

If anything, it has to be clear that we really do not know what the Singularity is (or will be) so we are just using the term to show (or hide) our own ignorance.

For more on this topic check out 17 Definitions of the Technological Singularity



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THE singularitiy, not the tech one.  Not rated yet
I am puzzled that THE singularity is barely mentioned on this site - the singularity before which time, space, matter and energy did not exist - (not …

An absolute singularity is one of a kind and has no equal.  Not rated yet
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Perhaps it will be the time when the number of recongized, recorded & real-time shared "patterns" will be so unfathomably large that all around "us" will …

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Technological singularities only exist in hindsight. Not rated yet
When a technological singularity is recognized it will have been found by using 20/20 hindsight. If you look at how technology has progressed then you …

D'Count Lessismore of Moran-Ova Not rated yet
D&D's take on all this is: That super AI equals human irrelevance. The soon to come very few super power leaders will voraciously control …

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I am thinking of a new theory. At least to me it is new. I am thinking of the point when artificial intelligence is measured as equal or greater than human …

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Singularity is best explained by the "sarkhoobad", a mysterious phenomenon which if unraveled would shed light on many of the difficult to explain questions …

bliss to ignorance ratio Not rated yet
singularity transcends human comprehension as a linear event, therefore if it occurs we will be incapable of detecting its existence. time, place and …

Albert  Not rated yet
I agree that human evolution is heading in this direction, namely trans humanism. Earth will probably experience another extinction event, so humans should …

Time Travel Not rated yet
I do not believe that there is much more to be done technologically (in a vastly more incomprehensible way) than what has already transpired with the exceptions …

Ananda Jaisingh, Vedantin Not rated yet
Singularity means Brahman, satyam gyanam anantam, brahman as it is the source of all knowledge and therefore must be conscious, without limit or boundary, …

Noone Scientist Not rated yet
Singularity is the initial point which everthing that exist, has existed and will exist, is acted upon by the magic magnetic first particle of matter, …

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We would not be able to recognise a singularity in a future sense, we would experience the now or the present event prior to the singularity,then pass …

Singularity Super-intelligence's Great Exaltation Not rated yet
Singularity is an emergent cosmological event of pure benefit in which there is an opening in common of instinctively acknowledged inexhaustibly open super-intelligence …

Mr. Ronald finn. Not rated yet
Singularity is where everything meets you, no matter where you are or whatever you are doing it still relates to you and only you. A single direction without …

Dr. Not rated yet
A singularity is a point in the future where an intelligence explosion takes place.

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Single body, many minds vs many bodies single minds. Singularity? Iit means individualism while joining with many others in a single unit. Single does …

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In analythical form we may see singularity as the smallest material particle, an universal invariant or the origin of the known Big Bang. In its synthetic …

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If because of exponential growth, and thoughts are things it seems to me everything would get so entangled that there will be a big bang that converts …

Paul Bennett Not rated yet
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George Anstadt MD FACPM Not rated yet
the Singularity: When the relentless drive of DNA to survive commands a being with the power of artificial intelligence.

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Technological singularity is a point at which technology is not defined or not well-behaved, for example, infinite or non-differentiable.

human being Not rated yet
singularity is the moment when we have the capacity to understand all knowledge from the past and from the future in the present

Diagnosis Correct - Prognosis Seriously Flawed. Not rated yet
There is now little doubt that an event of the kind described as a "Singularity" (I prefer the term "phase transition") will be soon upon us. A vindication …

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