The Singularity (paperback)


“The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race” Stephen Hawking (BBC 2014)

The ‘Singularity’ is the idea that there will come a time – possibly in the not too distant future- when artificial intelligence will outstrip human intelligence, thereby putting humanity at risk of extinction. The Singularity includes thoughtful and provocative contributions from philosophers, psychologists, futurists, AI researchers, ethicists and neuroscientists, including David Chalmers, Daniel Dennett, Nick Bostrom, Ray Kurzweil, Ben Goertzel, Frank Tipler and Susan Greenfield with a preface by journalist Bryan Appleyard.


426 pages paperback

1st November 2016


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Will there come a point when machine intelligence outstrips human intelligence, thus making humans redundant? If so, will these machines save us, (possibly out of ‘kindness’ or for some other ethical reason) or kill us off as unnecessary irritants?

Could we ‘leakproof’ the singularity, developing it only in the virtual world? Is it even possible to have ‘proper’ AI in a non-organic machine (think films like Ex Machina, Chappie)? Soe say yes- once we understand how the brain works at a neuronal level (e.g. The Human Brain Project, Human Connectome Prject) we can replace it in silicone or some other material- but others say no.

Is a ‘brain vat’ possible? Would a human brain removed from the body but with electronic inputs exactly mimicking feedback from nerves, etc. be properly conscious?

Does a brain rely on a body for consciousness? Is it conceivable that we could ‘upload’ our own minds into a sufficiently complex computer and exist in virtual reality? Would this mean immortality for individual human consciousnesses? Would an uploaded consciousness be the same individual as before?


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