If you’re over forty, picture life when you were a child: no cell phones, no email, no Alexa…and self-driving cars were on The Jetsons, not the nightly news. Even those who grew up this century have seen incredible changes in their lifetimes. (Just ten years ago the now-ubiquitous iPhone was introduced.) And not only has technology become more advanced—the pace of advancement is also rapidly increasing. In other words, the rate of technological growth isn’t linear, it’s exponential. Over time, the rate of change becomes almost a vertical line, as can be seen in this chart.
Some people in the tech community look at this rate of growth and posit that we will soon reach what is dubbed the Singularity: a moment when technological change has become so rapid that it is beyond our capacity to comprehend. (Imagine something as groundbreaking and culture-changing as the iPhone being introduced every day.) At that point, advances in artificial intelligence (AI) will result in technology—in the form of AI—building and advancing itself, creating a “super intelligence” far greater than human intelligence. That’s how powerful the Singularity will be.