victor steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Fri Feb 19 18:08:27 UTC 2010

I don't think Vinge was around in 14th century, where the earliest
citations seem to backtrack. Nor does he predate the math, physics and
astrophysics use--the former around for centuries, the other two
closer to one and to one-half century, but still longer than Vinge has
been writing.

I suppose, you mean this (from SingularityHub blog):

"The singularity is the point in mankind’s future when we will
transcend current intellectual and biological limitations and initiate
an intelligence and information explosion beyond imagining."

Then, there is the BioSingularity blog:

"Already within the past sixty years, life in the industrialized world
has changed almost beyond recognition except for living memories from
the first half of the 20th century. This pattern will culminate in
unimaginable technological progress in the 21st century. I believe
there is a good chance we will achieve technological singularity as
predicted by Vernor Vinge and Ray Kurzweil, although more
conservatively than Kurzweil’s predictions, within the next 50-60

Wiki summarizes all this as, "Technological singularity refers to the
hypothesis that technological progress will become extremely fast, and
so make the future unpredictable and qualitatively different from

I suspect that the root of all this is Vinge's lack of understanding
of "exponential" in Moore's law. Calling it "noise" is an

I'll just leave it at that.


On Fri, Feb 19, 2010 at 8:40 AM, Robin Hamilton
<robin.hamilton2 at> wrote:
> Has the term "singularity" condensed sufficiently to be incorporated in
> dictionaries?  The WIKI article on it, when I looked, seemed to reflect my
> own understanding,   [In Summary]:  "Coined by Vernor Vinge, and since
> generated a fair degree of noise."
> I'd be interested also if anyone has come across extended uses beyond the
> original technological/AI event horizon sense as used by Vinge.  It seems to
> me that in some ways the evolution of both google and Wikipedia itself could
> be seen as mini-singularity events, where the Thing in question experiences
> a (technically catastrophic) state-change.
> Further questiion -- is the term "singularity" (and metaphorical uses
> derived from it) particularly useful when applied to computer systems or
> epiphenomena (the Web, Wikis, Twitter, etc.) built on a foundation of
> computer systems,  and has this anything to do with the way in which
> feedback loops (can) operate in a positively catastrophic way in computers,
> and a negatively catastrophic way in the real world?
> Banks grow too big to fail, but Wiki finally succeeds by virtue of its size
> (so to speak)?
> Does the term "singularity" add anything to previous terms such as
> homeostasis, event horizon, discontinuity, tipping point, change of state,
> etc.?
> Robin

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