The Singularity Vanishes

More accurately, "Singularity" has been overused and the signifier no longer fits the signified. Thanks for Michael Anissimov, whose blog I've admired for some time, for pointing out that the Singularity has lost its meaning:
The word "Singularity" has been losing meaning for a while now, but whateversemblance of a unified or coherent definition there ever used to be, it has long faded away over the horizon. Rather than any single idea, Singularity has become a signifier used to refer to a general cluster of ideas, some interrelated; some, blatantly not. These ideas include: exponential growth, transhuman intelligence, mind uploading, singletons, popularity of the Internet, feasibility of life extension, some developmentally predetermined "next step in human evolution", feasibility of strong AI, feasibility of advanced nanotechnology, some odd spiritual-esque transcension, and whether or not human development is primarily dictated by technological or social forces. Quite frankly, it's a mess.

Even more confusing is that there are technologies, and then there are plausible or possible consequences from the technologies - two things which are very distinct. Both lines of inquiry can cause heated argument, even when everything is perfectly delineated! But the delineation is still important, so after the argument is over, you actually know what you were arguing about.
Raymond Kurzweil's "The Singularity Is Near" was revelatory to me, and the term meaningful in terms of drawing attention to some startling trends brought to us by accelerating technologies. But in ironic proof of Kurzweil's own thesis, everything moves so fast that the very language frequencies he has helped to innovate (though he was not the first to coin the term, he popularized its message) have already become a bit overused and worn, crumbling under the weight of use. Am I a Singularitarian or not? I suppose the best strategy is to avoid labels and continue critical thinking, and Anissimov rightly lays out some differentiated lines of inquiry.
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