This is the logo for a New Zealand computer supply company.
First thing I thought when I saw the "Singularity" story in TIME this morning was - OK, so these super-smart artificial intelligences will eat . . .??? Will people become "food" to feed computers, as seen in "The Matrix"? Flashback 1999 - Jim Blaylock enjoyed the movie a lot just as I did, but we were both appalled by its taking "people as power sources" seriously. So "The Matrix" computers feed the people with what? They picked people's bodies to use as batteries over, oh, say - regular batteries or any other form of power generation? (A: People are very unlikely to become food or direct power sources for machine-based intelligence.)
I'm not really sure what "Singularitarians" think the outcome of exponential growth in artificial intelligence will be. I know the general concept is a sort of "New World Order" thing - or possibly a greater-than end-Permian level extinction event (note: this is two extinctions *before* the dinosaur extinction). Extinction event in a "good" way, I mean. Like - all those Neanderthal Troglodytes out there eating cheezburgers and cheez doodles will go the way of Triceratops, while the "enlightened" will become superhuman.
In evolutionary terms, Ray Kurzweil's assertion that machines created by people will overtake their creators in intellectual capacity within 35 years (it's 25 years according to others) isn't unprecedented if one views other forms of life in addition to computer geeks and computers. Evolution frequently speeds up and remains static. Our sense of time is skewed by our own biological clocks. In evolutionary terms, 35 years is a micro-nano-second. And what Singularitarians (I don't mean to be mean to them - the average person doesn't think about this type of thing. They just go about their lives.) are fixated on is a very narrow segment of very narrow concerns in the entire biosphere. It's such a narrow segment that Mr. Kurzweil's ideas almost take on the nature of a niche religion. The Singularitarians' beliefs are focused on the really big (yet hardly "new") idea that something man-made will take on a life of its own ("It's ALIVE!!!!") and that in a symbiotic relationship, the technological advance will enable people to take their own next evolutionary leap - which entails super augmentation of human intelligence by "merging" with machines and physical immortality by a variety of means.
The TIME article asserts that "The difficult thing to keep sight of when you're talking about the Singularity is that even though it sounds like science fiction, it isn't, no more than a weather forecast is science fiction."
How am I not to respond to that? That's like being slapped in the face with a kid-leather glove! At dawn, sir, we will meet . . .
The Singularity is a sci-fi-related and inspired idea. I gave up on the TIME article after 4 screens so I can't say with certainty that they ever got around to mentioning Vernor Vinge, but somebody who's marketing the concept of "Singularity," holding conferences and recruiting "Singularitarians" is NOT the same as the person who used math and logic to illuminate the concept long before the change-point that is fairly obvious to most keeping track of technology today was at all obvious. As to "it's like predicting the weather," well - as many commenters pointed up in various humorous ways - SKYNET!!! Oy! Describing the efforts of artificial intelligence to destroy humanity's "resistance" via time travel is the plot of Terminator (1984). Humans fought back to stop Skynet in Terminator II (1991).
In my opinion, articles like this TIME presentation could be a strong piece of evidence to prove the assertion that computers are currently smarter than people. As TIME journalists churn out their crap in the internet, the backchannel communication is laughing snarkily and feeding new "ideas" to the nonjournalists struggling to present concepts that exceed their capacity of reason.
I'm the last person to make fun of others for being "stupid" or "dumb." But to regard technological growth that has outstripped daily capacity of comprehension for years as whatever this article is presenting (ex: it presents the plot of the Terminator movies in descriptive terms as if the movies never existed and 75% of the population including kids hasn't seen them) - that's just not too smart. If I were a computer, I'd eat this guy that wrote the article and go looking for Kurzweil next.