|Definition||A function that jumps to infinity at a point.|
|Related Concepts||Hyperbolic GrowthExponential GrowthTechnological SingularityArtificial Intelligence|
What is a Singularity?
John Spacey, updated on May 21, 2016
A singularity is a sudden jump to infinity at a point in time. Modern physics considers the Big Bang a singularity whereby the Universe began as a mass of infinite density and temperature at a point in time. The laws of physics breakdown at a singularity. Equations tend to stop working when infinity is involved. The term singularity also comes up in relation to hyperbolic growth or things that suddenly grow or decline to infinity at a point in time. This can be used to describe a complete breakdown of a system at a certain point. For example, a bridge may collapse at a certain finite weight. This is a type of infinite event from the point of view of the bridge as it may remain out of service for infinity. The most common use of the term singularity is the theory that technology will suddenly improve so rapidly that it will escape all human comprehension and control. This theory, known as a technological singularity is most often associated with artificial intelligence and the idea that the intelligence of machines will suddenly jump to infinity. This is highly optimistic considering the historically slow progress of AI. For example, the artificial intelligence community experienced two long periods where little process was made. These are known as the First AI Winter of 1974–1980 and the Second AI Winter of 1987–1993.
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