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Towards Singularity – excited or scared?

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“Dwar Ev ceremoniously soldered the final connection with gold. The eyes of a dozen television cameras watched him and the sub ether bore throughout the universe a dozen pictures of what he was doing.

He straightened and nodded to Dwar Reyn, then moved to a position beside the switch that would complete the contact when he threw it. The switch that would connect, all at once, all of the monster computing machines of all the populated planets in the universe — ninety-six billion planets — into the super circuit that would connect them all into one super calculator, one cybernetics machine that would combine all the knowledge of all the galaxies.

Dwar Reyn spoke briefly to the watching and listening trillions. Then after a moment’s silence, he said, “Now, Dwar Ev.”

Dwar Ev threw the switch. There was a mighty hum, the surge of power from ninety-six billion planets. Lights flashed and quieted along the miles-long panel.

Dwar Ev stepped back and drew a deep breath. “The honor of asking the first question is yours, Dwar Reyn.”

“Thank you,” said Dwar Reyn. “It shall be a question which no single cybernetics machine has been able to answer.”

He turned to face the machine. “Is there a God?”

The mighty voice answered without hesitation, without the clicking of a single relay.

“Yes, now there is a God.”

Sudden fear flashed on the face of Dwar Ev. He leaped to grab the switch.

A bolt of lightning from the cloudless sky struck him down and fused the switch shut.

(Fredric Brown, “Answer”) [1]

Beyond Science Fiction

Technological singularity is the point in time when artificial intelligence will surpass human intelligence, leading to a rapid acceleration in technological progress.

This could lead to unprecedented changes in all aspects of society, and some believe that it may even herald the end of the human race as we know it.

The singularity will represent the culmination of the fusion of our biological thinking and our technology, creating a world that is still human but transcends our biological roots. [2]

How will Singularity Change the Way We Live and Work?

Technological singularity is a hypothetical future event in which artificial general intelligence (AGI) will surpass human intelligence, resulting in rapid and exponential technological growth that will radically change civilization as we know it.

The term was popularized by science fiction writer Vernor Vinge, who argues that the creation of superhuman intelligence will trigger a runaway process…

It will increase the intelligence of AGI rapidly and dramatically, eventually leading to a point where humans will no longer be able to understand or control the technology they have created.

There is significant debate among futurists, scientists, and technologists about whether or not the singularity is a real possibility, and if so when it might occur…

Some believe that AGI will never surpass human intelligence, while others believe that it is inevitable and could happen within the next few decades.

Entrepreneurs and public figures like Elon Musk…

have expressed concerns over advances in AI leading to human extinction. Significant innovations in genetics, nanotechnology, and robotics will lay the foundation for singularity during the first half of the 21st century. [3]

Regardless of whether singularity actually happens, the very idea has captivated the imagination of many and has led to a great deal of speculation about what life might be like in a post-singularity world.

Some believe that singularity will lead to a utopia in which humans merge with technology and achieve immortality, while others believe that…

It will lead to disaster, with superhuman AI leading to the enslavement or extermination of humanity.

Most philosophers and scientists agree that…

there will be a turning point when we witness the emergence of superintelligence.

They also agree on crucial aspects of singularity like time and speed. This means they agree that smart systems will self-improve at an increasing rate…

There are also discussions about adding superintelligence capabilities to humans.

These include brain-computer interfaces, biological alteration of the brain, brain implants, and genetic engineering.

The post-singularity world will be unrecognizable. For example, humans could potentially scan their consciousness and store it in a computer. This approach will help humans live eternally as sentient robots or in a virtual world. [4]

It is impossible to know for sure what will happen, but one thing is certain: singularity, if it does occur, will change the world as we know it in ways that few can imagine.

Challenges of Singularity?

As we move closer to singularity, the challenges we face will become more complex.

For example, how will we deal with the fact that computers will surpass human intelligence? What happens when machines can do everything better than us?

How will Super-AI choose its purposes? Your laptop does not care if you turn it off. You and I do care about being turned off. Will Super-AI care and take any steps necessary to stay on? Why should it? Because “on” is intrinsically better than “off”? [5]

This is just one example of the challenges that come to mind – but there are sure to be infinitely more that we haven’t considered yet.

The closer we get to singularity, the more important it will be to stay ahead of the curve and anticipate these challenges before they become problems.

What does Moving Toward Singularity Mean for Businesses?

As businesses move towards increased automation and artificial intelligence, the role of humans in the workplace is changing.

One area that is seeing significant change is customer service.

With the advent of chatbots and other forms of AI, businesses can provide 24/7 customer service with little to no human interaction.

Facebook and Google are already reaping the benefits of singularity.

They invested heavily in deep learning so they could improve their customer service.

Their AI tools crawl through the data on the internet and provide a personalized experience to each user.

This is one example of how technology is impacting businesses…

As we move closer to singularity, its impact on businesses will only become more pronounced.

Take, for example, the AI-based personal assistants from Apple and Amazon — Siri and Alexa. Both are equipped to carry out a range of tasks in response to voice commands that can be applied to several front-, middle- and back-office functions. [6]

With machines becoming smarter and more efficient, many jobs being done by humans are being replaced by machines. At this moment equal numbers of new jobs are being created to accommodate the changes.

In 2020, the World Economic Forum predicted by 2025…

85 million jobs will be eliminated while a further 97 million new non-existent jobs will be created

The deployment of Robo-advisors by financial firms such as JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, and Merrill Lynch is an example of one such scenario.

Many businesses are leveraging technology and becoming agile in the digital era.

This could lead to mass unemployment and a whole host of other social and economic problems.

But it could also lead to a world where humans are free to pursue their passions and creativity without the need to work for a living.

Only time will tell how exactly singularity will impact businesses

Yet one thing is for sure, the landscape of business is changing and those who don’t adapt will be left behind.

How to Prepare for the Challenges of Singularity?

Futurist Ray Kurzweil predicted 15 years ago that the singularity will occur around the year 2045.

And…

We are already watching his prediction coming to fruition with the rapid advent of technology in recent years.

It has already been six years since the program AlphaGo (a software equipped with neural networks and learning modes) defeated the GO World champion, Lee Sedol.

Google’s AI firm, DeepMind, introduced AI AlphaStar in 2019. Players of the Sci-Fi video game StarCraft ll (a massively popular online strategy game in which players compete in real-time as one of three factions — the human Terran forces or the aliens Protoss and Zerg — battling against each other in a futuristic warzone) facing AlphaStar as their opponent in the game.

The results were unexpected…

The AI achieved a grandmaster rating after it was unleashed on the game’s European servers, placing within the top 0.15% of the region’s 90,000 players. [7]

Given the game’s strategic complexity and rapid pace, it was astonishing to see AI performing critical thinking tasks like the human brain.

“I did not expect AI to essentially be superhuman in this domain so quickly, maybe not for another couple of years,” says Jon Dodge, an AI researcher at Oregon State University in Corvallis. [8]

This is just one scenario. Think about this kind of AI implications in every niche, every system in the world…

As we move towards singularity.

So how do we prepare ourselves for it?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best way to prepare for singularity will vary depending on your specific situation and goals.

However, there are some general steps you can take to start getting ready for the technological singularity:

Educate yourself about artificial intelligence (AI) and related technologies. The more you know about AI and the potential challenges it will bring, the better prepared you’ll be for the changes.

Try to stay up to date with the latest developments in AI research, and read widely about different approaches to AI development.

This brings me to my second point…

Develop strong critical thinking skills.

As AI increasingly comes to shape our world, it is more important than ever to be able to think critically about the information we are presented with.

Learning how to spot fake news, fallacies, and other forms of misinformation will help you navigate the post-singularity world.

To thrive in a quickly evolving world we also need to stay curious and open-minded…

As our technology advances, so too will our understanding of the world around us.

Be willing to explore new ideas and technologies, even if they seem strange or disruptive at first. The future will be full of surprises, so it’s important to stay flexible in your thinking.

We need to be willing to accept new ideas and perspectives if we want to stay ahead of the curve.

You can only do this if you cultivate a growth mindset.

In the face of rapidly changing technology, it’s essential to be agile and able to adapt and learn new skills quickly.

Having a growth mindset – that is, believing that your abilities can be developed through effort and practice – will help you thrive in an ever-changing world.

We need to be proactive. Instead of waiting for problems to arise, we need to be actively working to solve them before they become an issue.

By being proactive, we can avoid many of the challenges that come with singularity.

Most importantly, we need to have faith in ourselves.

As machines become more intelligent, it’s easy to start feeling like we are becoming obsolete.

However, we need to remember that we are the ones who created these machines in the first place. Perhaps this will prove to be ironic.

For this purpose, build a supportive community.

As the world changes, it’s important to have a network of people you can rely on for support and advice.

Seek out others who share your interests, and build relationships that can help you weather the storms of change.

Final Thoughts…

While the idea of exponential growth is fascinating, desirable, and cool – it is also laced with many challenges.

From a dystopian point of view, if otherworldly efficiency and productivity outpace demand, our markets will end up overly saturated with more goods and services than is actually possible to consume.

The capabilities of computers could truly replace the need for human workers. Work and compensation are foundational elements of our society, and without purpose or purchasing power, humans could be left in the lurch. [9]

But the real question that businesses should be asking is whether we want to sit around and let technological singularity disrupt our work and life.

Hopefully, the answer is – ‘Of course not!’

Building and maintaining a tech ecosystem will increase our chances of adapting to these changes and positively influence our outcome.

Coaching 4 Companies – Your premier executive coaching service

We are a young, vibrant, and diverse executive leadership coaching group, with the operation registered in 2019, however, the formation was a 45-year career lifetime in preparation. During that period our founder Wayne Brown observed and worked with leaders of all levels in organizations across industries and cultures globally.

Based on that exposure, our company has intentionally set out to support those practicing the art and science of leadership – or as often referred to, “Executive Talent.” These are people who acknowledge that they are not experts. They are open to opportunities for continued growth and carry the desire for learning what is needed to become a success in today’s complexity and uncertainty.

To this end, we have purposely structured our company and engaged with associates in strategic global locations, so that we are able to provide the full suite of transformational executive leadership coaching, facilitation, and education support required.

References:

[1]. Fredric Brown, 1960-1972, Short Story Answer

[2]. Roberto Mario De Stefano, 7th January 2022, A World Towards Singularity

[3, 4]. Andrew Zola, Tech Target, July 2021, What is Singularity?

[5]. Gregg Shores, August 2017, Better Questions than Answers, Answer

[6]. Nitin Rakesh, Forbes Magazine, 17th April 2018, Reaping The Riches Of The Coming Singularity

[7,8]. Dan Garisto, Nature News, 30th October 2019, Google AI beats top human players at strategy game StarCraft II

[9]. Janice Yau, HelloSign Blog, Singularity at Work: A Quest for the All-in-One Solution for Getting More Done

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