The idea, widely held by the Extropian crowd, that the curve of the total knowledge of humankind will continue to accelerate (Knowledge Growth) until it goes roughly vertical, at which point we will transcend humanity itself. Or something like that.

The first person to use the concept of a "singularity" in the technological context was the 20th-century Hungarian-American mathematician John von Neumann. Stanislaw Ulam reports in 1958 an earlier discussion with von Neumann "centered on the accelerating progress of technology and changes in the mode of human life, which 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"... The concept and the term "singularity" were popularized by Vernor Vinge first in 1983 in an op-ed for Omni Magazine that claimed that once humans create intelligences greater than their own (AGI), there will be a technological and social transition similar in some sense to "the knotted space-time at the center of a black hole", and later in his 1993 essay The Coming Technological Singularity.

Vernor Vinge 1993 essay: Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended. (The original version of this article was presented at the VISION-21 Symposium sponsored by NASA Lewis Research Center and the Ohio Aerospace Institute, March 30-31, 1993. A slightly changed version appeared in the Winter 1993 issue of Whole Earth Review.)

Robin Hanson coordinated some critical discussion among 13 people (in 1998):

John Robb has a weblog about it.

Ray Kurzweil refers to it heavily in the Age Of Spiritual Machines. And has a website to go with it.

John Smart has a site

Also associated with Hans Moravec, see

Terence McKenna was into this as well, targeting 2012 as the expected date for Timewave Zero (based, among other things, on the Mayan calendar).

  • note many freaking things are predicted for this year

Others think the whole thing is a crock: "Geek Rapture".

Cosma Shalizi said in 2010 The Singularity has happened; we call it "the industrial revolution" or "the long nineteenth century". It was over by the close of 1918. Creation of vast, inhuman distributed systems of information-processing, communication and control, "the coldest of all cold monsters"? Check; we call them "the self-regulating market system" and "modern bureaucracies" (public or private), and they treat men and women, even those whose minds and bodies instantiate them, like straw dogs.

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