The term singularity refers to a theory that posits an inevitable moment in the future when computers will have become capable of self-awareness and begin surpassing human beings in intelligence and ability, effectively able to not only exist autonomously of human society but also replacing humans as the dominant species. Essentially, the mentally unhinged advocates of this supposed technological singularity dream of the sort of future depicted in William Gibson novels, most notably Neuromancer, a world in which governments and nation-states have ceased to exist as effective entities, with all actual power concentrated in the hands of several multinational conglomerates.
From Blade Runner to The Terminator and beyond, authors and filmmakers have generally viewed such a future as a dystopian nightmare to be avoided at all costs rather than deliberately cultivated. Not so with advocates of singularity, who believe that the convergence of humans with machines is not only inevitable, but necessary to drive the forward evolution of the human race. Regardless of whether or not proponents of singularity are pretentious authoritarians desiring the enslavement of humanity by sentient machines, one fact cannot be denied: The singularity, for all intents and purposes, is absolute nonsense.
As with other radical pseudoscientific movements focused upon life extension (particularly evident in fad diets such as calorie restriction) and chemically enhanced perceptions (from hallucinogenic substances like LSD to so-called “smart drugs” like amphetamines), the fundamental basis of transhumanism is that aging is a disease that can be “cured” through a combination of eugenics (selective breeding), genetic engineering, and organic, biological technology that is neither totally human nor totally artificial.
Transhumanism, as it is understood today, was first defined and promoted by FM-2030, a Futurist author and academic whose theories were later seized upon by others such as Raymond Kurweil and Vernor Vinge, both of whom could be considered as the godfathers of the contemporary postmodernist sci-fi cult of Singularitarianism.
Where scientists, engineers and science-fiction authors of the Golden Age of Science Fiction (1930s—1950s) posited an optimistic visionary ideal of the future in which humans have overcome their base prejudices and evolved t become more human than human, overcoming technology rather than converging with it, Transhumanists seek the opposite, desiring to be dominated by technology through such hypothesized procedures as cybernetic implants & extensions, “consciousness upload,” and other such quackery. From the Transhumanist standpoint, the artificial reality depicted in the 1999 film “The Matrix” is akin to a paradise rather than hell.
It doesn’t take an expert in rocketry to realize that such concepts have no legitimate basis in real science & engineering, and indeed the vast majority of Transhumanists neither have a credible background in the sciences nor philosophy, which becomes glaringly obvious when reading their pretentious nonsense and hyperbole.
The most obvious fatal flaw in the argument for Singularity is the fact that true artificial intelligence is absolutely impossible to achieve using digital binary machines. You could build a supercomputer the size of Jupiter and it would still be as dumb as any other binary system. The binary paradigm that current computer technology adhere to make it impossible to develop a digital computer that would be capable of not only learning from its mistakes (and of course, that of its human operators as well), but also learning how to learn. Such factors are paramount and a prerequisite in developing a viable artificial intelligence that would be potentially capable of self-awareness.
This brings us to the subject of quantum computers, which are not digital, and thus not binary. Put simply, a quantum system is essentially the exact opposite of a binary system—whereas a binary system is limited to an absolutist zero/one dichotomy [yes/no, good/evil, right/wrong, etc.], a quantum system is capable of storing & processing information in multiple parallel states at the same time, which is closer to how the human mind functions. In this regard, it becomes possible for the computer to evolve autonomously through trial-and-error and achieve higher states of pattern recognition superior to that of the human mind. Given that a quantum computer is effectively powered by pure atomic energy & states, it is a true analog paradigm for the future, vindicating the positions of early computer scientists who disputed the notion that digital binary standards would permanently force analog machines into obsolescence.
As it is, we’ve come full circle, from analog to digital and inevitably returning to the beginning, but in a way that no one could ever have thought possible.