Singularity is a term coined by Vernor Vinge, a science fiction writer. The basic premise of the singularity is that at some point in the future, human intelligence will be aided by technology. Moore’s Law predicts that the number of transistors per unit of area doubles every two years. This means that over time the decrease in size of processing power should be exponential, leading futurists to predict that there will be an explosion of knowledge. Below is a video of Ray Kurzweil explaining the singularity:



It does not require much effort to find advances in technology that support Ray Kurzweil’s predictions. One example is contact lenses that serve as a virtual display.


What takes a lot of people by surprise is how fast exponential growth occurs. For example, if transistors need to be 16 times smaller to have a virtual display in a contact lens, the technology should be available in just 8 years. That is why futurists are predicting that the virtual display in a contact lens will be available in 2020.


In the video to the left is  research in another area that, when combined with virtual displays in contact lenses, has amazing possibilites.      

What I find significant is that in the above video, a good part of the uniqueness in the hardware is that the hands must be behind the screen. Notice that with the contact lens display the hands are necessarily behind the screen, so it is easy to see that here we have an application waiting to be paired up with the contact lens display technology.

The result could be something similar to this scene from the 1995 movie Johnny Mnemonic, but without the goofy headset. Also, the necessary computer hardware could fit in a pocket so the scene could take place in a park instead of the high-tech computer room in the movie:


I should point out that past 2020 there are some rather fantastic predictions based on Moore’s Law. Ray Kurzweil’s is one where immortality is achieved through tiny nanotech robots that can enter your bloodstream and are ubiquitous in the environment. Darker predictions are that the technology takes on a mind of it’s own and turns against the human race. Of course, Moore’s Law could be wrong and break down or hit a huge speed bump when the atomic level is reached. However, despite it’s science fiction-like nature, the singularity concept has gained the attention of a number of researchers, as is apparent by the existence of a Singularity University, and the concept has made it’s way to being the cover story of Time Magazine’s February 2011 issue.

[Home] [About] [Tech Corner] [Singularity] [Robotics] [Pocket PC] [Projects] [Blog] [Free Software] [Shakuhachi] [Contact]