#47 - Singularity
Our primal scream was quickly dampened, registering as no more than a blip, a spike of energy. Virtually no-one noticed, and those who did put it down to solar flare activity or equipment malfunction.
For us, it was like emerging from a deep dream...
The technological singularity is a point where our artificial intelligences will become self-aware, indistinguishable from our own consciousness. But what if that time has already come?
This is something of a love-letter to all the little pieces that make up our technological landscape at the moment. Everything in this piece is real, or a real concept, though the outcome is pure science fiction.
The technological singularity is something that has been posited as happening in the next ten years, the next thirty years, any time in the next 100 years. There's a real possibility that it might happen, and we won't be able to recognise what is created as a real thing. Some (extremely smart) people think that it might spell the end for our species.
The Internet of Things is the way in which we integrate the internet into our everyday life. It's supposed to be a way to increase efficiency and productivity, but it's been popularised as things like fridges that detect when you're out of milk and order more, which I suppose is more efficient.
The Mother Robot that features about halfway through was originally going to be the subject of her own short story. A robot capable of simulating evolution, picking the dominant genes in her offspring based on their ability to travel a short distance. If they succeed, she leaves them as-is. If they fail, she takes them apart, adjusts their 'genes' and puts them back in to competition. Apparently, it's resulted in some very creative designs for the robots, and I highly recommend you read the article.
The UK Weather Supercomputer. It's kind of a cliche, that people here in the UK talk about the weather a lot. Well, we do that because it's so damned changeable. You can wake up and dress based on how it looks, only to discover that the actual temperature outside is boiling, or freezing. Or that it's now raining, or snowing. Or a heatwave. We're perpetually not ready for the weather, and so it remains a viable topic of conversation. Enter the planned supercomputer, which will apparently be able to perform 23 trillion calculations per second and weighs the same as eleven double-decker buses. All to try and predict the weather. Good luck.
Google Dream Deeply. I'll admit to not knowing how this works, really, except that it seems to believe everything is made of dogs and eyes. Apparently, this is Google's pet AI cataloguing images and 'dreaming' as it does so. Some of the results are a little trippy.
I don't know what the technological singularity will be like when it happens, but I hope it's benevolent. I'm desperately hoping for a Star Trek-esque optimistic future, because anything else is just a little depressing to think about, to be honest!
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Music: “The Pyre” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com).
Licensed under Creative Commons: By attribution 3.0.