7 Possible Outcomes of the Singularity

By definition, the Technological Singularity is a blind spot in our predictive thinking. Futurists have a hard time imagining what life will be like after we create greater-than-human artificial intelligences. Here are seven outcomes of the Singularity that nobody thinks about — and which could leave us completely blindsided.

For the purpose of this list, I decided to maintain a very loose definition of the Technological Singularity. My own personal preference is that of anintelligence explosion and the onset of multiple (and potentially competing) streams of both artificial general superintelligence (SAI) andweak AI. But the Singularity could also result in a kind of Kurzweilian future in which humanity has merged with machines. Or a Moravecian world in which our “mind children” have left the cradle to explore the cosmos, or a Hansonian society of competing uploads, featuring rapid economic and technological growth.

 In addition to some of these scenarios, a Singularity could result in a complete existential shift for human civilization, like our conversion to digital life, or the rise of a world free from scarcity and suffering. Or it could result in a total disaster and a global apocalypse. Hugo de Garis has talked about a global struggle for power involving massively intelligent machines set against humanity — the so-called artilect war.

But there are some lesser known scenarios that are also worth keeping in mind, lest we be caught unawares. Here are seven of the most unexpected outcomes of the Singularity.

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