Is the Singularity Really Happening? & Prototype the Movie
Below is the trailer for a movie coming out later this year called Prototype. From what I can tell, it deals with the concept of the next step in evolution for us homo sapiens—merging with our machines in an event commonly referred to as the Singularity.
(Video Courtesy YouTube)
Having not seen the movie, it's hard to tell if it will follow the likely path of this event, but I'm definitely going to have to see it.
Wikipedia defines the Singularity as the point at which super-intelligence is achieved "through technological means." Put another way, it's the point at which we take the biological brain capacity for parallel processing (a fancy way of saying imagination) and merge them with the mathematical and speed of thought abilities of a computer—probably by means of putting computer hardware inside our bodies.
Many believe this process is inevitable, the set course of human evolution over the next thirty to fifty years (yes, that soon). There are numerous papers and books written about the subject, including one on my "to read" list called The Singularity is Near by Ray Kurzweil. There's even a Singularity Institute dedicated to research and advancement of the Singularity and AI in general.
So are there signs that this is actually happening?
There certainly are. The miniaturization of technology has led to many things being possible now that we could not have imagined even ten years ago. Think about how powerful a smartphone is compared to, say, a computer from the 1980's, but don't stop there. Look at some of the innovations that are just on our horizon, like Google's Augmented Reality Glasses:
(Video courtesy YouTube & Google)
—And it doesn't stop with glasses. There is research being done right now to put something like Google's ARG's into contact lenses for use by both the military and civilian worlds. There are even brain-controlled prosthetic (cybernetic limbs) being tested right now.
The signs are indeed there.
Is this a good thing? Scary? Exciting? Only you can be the judge of that. Some believe that this is the only way humans will be able to compete with artificial intelligence—another technological innovation that many say is inevitable—and that may be true. It is certain that when the Singularity does happen, it will have profound affects on civilization as we know it.
Though no one can predict what form the Singularity will take, exactly, one thing is certain—the future will be a very interesting place to live.
Side note for the tech-detail mided: For more on the augmented reality contact lenses, read here (detailed description of development at University of Washington).