You may have heard of the singularity. It is an incredibly popular theory that both scientists and philosophers are still exploring with great care. There are many books written about the subject and there are lots of movies that are based on the concept of the singularity. Transcendence, Her, The Matrix and Avatar are some of the most recent and perhaps most notable examples. All movies approach the singularity slightly differently from each other and that is because, while we have a basic understanding of what it is, it is hard to conceptualize.
What is the singularity?
In basic terms, it’s the idea that there would be a creation of super intelligence because of the way that technology works. Basically, it means that technology would change so much that those that existed before it would not even begin to grasp the concept of it. It’s not like the internet, or computers, or anything like that – or maybe it is that, just on a much, much bigger scale. What we do know for sure is that, when or if the singularity happens, it will be a point of no return. There will be no way to turn back to older technology. According to this Analee Newitz article on io9, we have had some singularities before. The author says, for instance, to picture yourself trying to explain the concept of the internet to someone living in the early 1000s.
Will the singularity happen?
Probably, but maybe not in the way we are thinking about it now. It is, for instance, a lot less likely that you could upload your consciousness onto a computer and for it to become self-aware than it is for self-replicating nanobots to be unleashed onto the medical universe. If they control themselves and can work in an atomic level then the singularity has happened.
As far as uploading your brain onto the singularity, we just don’t know. And then that begs the really important, very old question: Will it still be you, or just a digital copy?