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Artificial intelligence. Network in hive mind brain. Vintage futuristic poster.
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Is the “Singularity” Already Here?

Two experts in the tech field warn that the singularity, as we've come to imagine it, might be right around the corner

The singularity refers to the future point when the human and the machine will merge––when the personal and technological distinction breaks down entirely. It sounds dystopian and far off. But, two experts in the tech field warn that the singularity, as we’ve come to imagine it, is right upon us. Writing for The Conversation, John Kendall Hawkins and Sandy Boucher comment,

To understand why this isn’t the stuff of fairy tales, we need only look as far as recent developments in brain-computer interfaces (BCIs). BCIs are a natural beginning to the singularity in the eyes of many futurists, because they meld mind and machine in a way no other technology so far can.

Elon Musk’s company Neuralink is seeking permission from the US Food and Drug Administration to begin human trials for its BCI technology. This would involve implanting neural connectors into volunteers’ brains so they can communicate instructions by thinking them.

-John Kendall Hawkins and Sandy Boucher, Futurists predict a point where humans and machines become one. But will we see it coming? (theconversation.com)

While there are medical hopes for such technology, such as helping those with disabilities, Hawkins and Boucher sense other ambitions at play. For instance, some people think technological BCIs will enable people to communicate emotions without even speaking. Not only would the brain merge with the machine, but the machine would merge all the other brains. While the authors note the relative implausibility of the emergence of a “hive mind,” that kind of development would “mark the end of individuality and the institutions that rely on it, including democracy.”

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Is the “Singularity” Already Here?