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Summary The technological singularity, or the intelligence explosion, is a hypothesized event that will follow the creation of machines whose intelligence is greater than that of humans.  The hypothesis is that such machines will be better than humans at designing machines, so that even more intelligent machines will follow, with a rapid spiral to superintelligence.
Key works The idea of an intelligence explosion is introduced in Good 1965.  The term "singularity" is introduced by Vinge 1993.  Philosophical analyses are given by Bostrom 1998 and Chalmers 2010.
Introductions Chalmers 2010
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  1. Igor Aleksander (2012). Design and the Singularity: The Philosophers Stone of AI? Journal of Consciousness Studies 19 (7-8):7-8.
    Much discussion on the singularity is based on the assumption that the design ability of a human can be transferred into an AI system, then rendered autonomous and self-improving. I argue here that this cannot be foreseen from the current state of the art of automatic or evolutionary design. Assuming that this will happen 'some day' is a doubtful step andmay be in the class of 'searching for the Philosopher's Stone'.
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  2. Nick Bostrom, Ethical Issues in Advanced Artificial Intelligence.
    The ethical issues related to the possible future creation of machines with general intellectual capabilities far outstripping those of humans are quite distinct from any ethical problems arising in current automation and information systems. Such superintelligence would not be just another technological development; it would be the most important invention ever made, and would lead to explosive progress in all scientific and technological fields, as the superintelligence would conduct research with superhuman efficiency. To the extent that ethics is a cognitive (...)
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  3. Nick Bostrom, When Machines Outsmart Humans.
    Artificial intelligence is a possibility that should not be ignored in any serious thinking about the future, and it raises many profound issues for ethics and public policy that philosophers ought to start thinking about. This article outlines the case for thinking that human-level machine intelligence might well appear within the next half century. It then explains four immediate consequences of such a development, and argues that machine intelligence would have a revolutionary impact on a wide range of the social, (...)
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  4. Nick Bostrom (2003). Taking Intelligent Machines Seriously: Reply to Critics. Futures 35 (8):901-906.
    In an earlier paper in this journal[1], I sought to defend the claims that (1) substantial probability should be assigned to the hypothesis that machines will outsmart humans within 50 years, (2) such an event would have immense ramifications for many important areas of human concern, and that consequently (3) serious attention should be given to this scenario. Here, I will address a number of points made by several commentators.
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  5. Nick Bostrom (1998). How Long Before Superintelligence? International Journal of Futures Studies 2.
    _This paper outlines the case for believing that we will have superhuman artificial intelligence_ _within the first third of the next century. It looks at different estimates of the processing power of_ _the human brain; how long it will take until computer hardware achieve a similar performance;_ _ways of creating the software through bottom-up approaches like the one used by biological_ _brains; how difficult it will be for neuroscience figure out enough about how brains work to_ _make this approach work; (...)
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  6. Selmer Bringsjord (2012). Belief in the Singularity is Logically Brittle. Journal of Consciousness Studies 19 (7):14.
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  7. Damien Broderick (2012). Terrible Angels. Journal of Consciousness Studies 19 (1-2):20-41.
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  8. David J. Chalmers (2012). The Singularity: A Reply to Commentators. Journal of Consciousness Studies.
    I would like to thank the authors of the 26 contributions to this symposium on my article “The Singularity: A Philosophical Analysis”. I learned a great deal from the reading their commentaries. Some of the commentaries engaged my article in detail, while others developed ideas about the singularity in other directions. In this reply I will concentrate mainly on those in the first group, with occasional comments on those in the second. A singularity (or an intelligence explosion) is a rapid (...)
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  9. David J. Chalmers (2010). The Singularity: A Philosophical Analysis. Journal of Consciousness Studies 17 (9-10):9 - 10.
    What happens when machines become more intelligent than humans? One view is that this event will be followed by an explosion to ever-greater levels of intelligence, as each generation of machines creates more intelligent machines in turn. This intelligence explosion is now often known as the “singularity”. The basic argument here was set out by the statistician I.J. Good in his 1965 article “Speculations Concerning the First Ultraintelligent Machine”: Let an ultraintelligent machine be defined as a machine that can far (...)
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  10. Mark Coeckelbergh (2013). Pervasion of What? Techno–Human Ecologies and Their Ubiquitous Spirits. AI and Society 28 (1):55-63.
    Are the robots coming? Is the singularity near? Will we be dominated by technology? The usual response to ethical issues raised by pervasive and ubiquitous technologies assumes a philosophical anthropology centered on existential autonomy and agency, a dualistic ontology separating humans from technology and the natural from the artificial, and a post-monotheistic dualist and creational spirituality. This paper explores an alternative, less modern vision of the “technological” future based on different assumptions: a “deep relational” view of human being and self, (...)
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  11. Ronald Cole-Turner (2012). The Singularity and the Rapture: Transhumanist and Popular Christian Views of the Future. Zygon 47 (4):777-796.
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  12. Daniel Dennett (2012). The Mystery of David Chalmers. Journal of Consciousness Studies 19 (1-2):1-2.
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  13. Eric Dietrich (2007). After the Humans Are Gone. Philosophy Now 61 (May/June):16-19.
    Recently, on the History Channel, artificial intelligence (AI) was singled out, with much wringing of hands, as one of the seven possible causes of the end of human life on Earth. I argue that the wringing of hands is quite inappropriate: the best thing that could happen to humans, and the rest of life of on planet Earth, would be for us to develop intelligent machines and then usher in our own extinction.
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  14. Robert M. Geraci (2010). The Popular Appeal of Apocalyptic Ai. Zygon 45 (4):1003-1020.
    The belief that computers will soon become transcendently intelligent and that human beings will “upload” their minds into machines has become ubiquitous in public discussions of robotics and artificial intelligence in Western cultures. Such beliefs are the result of pervasive Judaeo-Christian apocalyptic beliefs, and they have rapidly spread through modern pop and technological culture, including such varied and influential sources as Rolling Stone, the IEEE Spectrum, and official United States government reports. They have gained sufficient credibility to enable the construction (...)
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  15. Ben Goertzel (2012). Should Humanity Build a Global AI Nanny to Delay the Singularity Until It's Better Understood? Journal of Consciousness Studies 19 (1):96.
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  16. I. J. Good (1965). Speculations Concerning the First Ultraintelligent Machine. In F. Alt & M. Ruminoff (eds.), Advances in Computers, volume 6. Academic Press.
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  17. Susan Greenfield (2012). The Singularity: Commentary on David Chalmers. Journal of Consciousness Studies 19 (1-2):1-2.
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  18. Wendy M. Grossman (2012). Memo From the Singularity Summit. The Philosophers' Magazine 56 (56):127-128.
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  19. John Storrs Hall (2007). Self-Improving AI: An Analysis. [REVIEW] Minds and Machines 17 (3):249-259.
    Self-improvement was one of the aspects of AI proposed for study in the 1956 Dartmouth conference. Turing proposed a “child machine” which could be taught in the human manner to attain adult human-level intelligence. In latter days, the contention that an AI system could be built to learn and improve itself indefinitely has acquired the label of the bootstrap fallacy. Attempts in AI to implement such a system have met with consistent failure for half a century. Technological optimists, however, have (...)
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  20. Robin Hanson, Is a Singularity Just Around the Corner?
    Economic growth is determined by the supply and demand of investment capital; technology determines the demand for capital, while human nature determines the supply. The supply curve has two distinct parts, giving the world economy two distinct modes. In the familiar slow growth mode, rates of return are limited by human discount rates. In the fast growth mode, investment is limited by the world's wealth. Historical trends suggest that we may transition to the fast mode in roughly another century and (...)
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  21. Francis Heylighen & Center Leo Apostel Ecco (2012). A Brain in a Vat Cannot Break Out: Why the Singularity Must Be Extended, Embedded and Embodied. Journal of Consciousness Studies 19 (1-2):126-142.
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  22. Marcus Hutter (2012). Can Intelligence Explode? Journal of Consciousness Studies 19 (1-2):143-166.
    The technological singularity refers to a hypothetical scenario in which technological advances virtually explode. The most popular scenario is the creation of super-intelligent algorithms that recursively create ever higher intelligences. It took many decades for these ideas to spread from science fiction to popular science magazines and finally to attract the attention of serious philosophers. David Chalmers' (JCS 2010) article is the first comprehensive philosophical analysis of the singularity in a respected philosophy journal. The motivation of my article is to (...)
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  23. Ray Kurzweil (2012). Science Versus Philosophy in the Singularity. Journal of Consciousness Studies 19 (7-8):7-8.
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  24. Drew McDermott (2012). Response to The Singularity by David Chalmers. Journal of Consciousness Studies 19 (1-2):1-2.
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  25. Arkady Plotnitsky (2012). The Singularity Wager A Response to David Chalmers. Journal of Consciousness Studies 19 (7-8):7-8.
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  26. David Roden, The Disconnection Thesis.
    In his 1993 article ‘The Coming Technological Singularity: How to survive in the posthuman era’ the computer scientist Virnor Vinge speculated that developments in artificial intelligence might reach a point where improvements in machine intelligence result in smart AI’s producing ever-smarter AI’s. According to Vinge the ‘singularity’, as he called this threshold of recursive self-improvement, would be a ‘transcendental event’ transforming life on Earth in ways that unaugmented humans are not equipped to envisage. In this paper I argue Vinge’s idea (...)
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  27. Eric Steinhart (2012). The Singularity Beyond Philosophy of Mind. Journal of Consciousness Studies 19 (7-8):7-8.
    Thought about the singularity intersects the philosophy of mind in deep and important ways. However, thought about the singularity also intersects many other areas of philosophy, including the history of philosophy, metaphysics, the philosophy of science, and the philosophy of religion. I point to some of those intersections. Singularitarian thought suggests that many of the objects and processes that once lay in the domain of revealed religion now lie in the domain of pure computer science.
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  28. Frank Tipler (2012). Inevitable Existence and Inevitable Goodness of the Singularity. Journal of Consciousness Studies 19 (1-2):1-2.
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  29. Vernor Vinge (1993). The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era. Whole Earth Review.
  30. James Williams (2011). The Singularity Is Near. Philosophy Now 86:43-44.
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  31. Roman V. Yampolskiy (2012). Leakproofing the Singularity. Journal of Consciousness Studies 19 (1-2):194-214.
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  32. Roman Yampolskiy & Joshua Fox (2013). Safety Engineering for Artificial General Intelligence. Topoi 32 (2):217-226.
    Machine ethics and robot rights are quickly becoming hot topics in artificial intelligence and robotics communities. We will argue that attempts to attribute moral agency and assign rights to all intelligent machines are misguided, whether applied to infrahuman or superhuman AIs, as are proposals to limit the negative effects of AIs by constraining their behavior. As an alternative, we propose a new science of safety engineering for intelligent artificial agents based on maximizing for what humans value. In particular, we challenge (...)
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  33. Eliezer Yudkowsky, Staring Into the Singularity.
    1: The End of History 2: The Beyondness of the Singularity 2.1: The Definition of Smartness 2.2: Perceptual Transcends 2.3: Great Big Numbers 2.4: Smarter Than We Are 3: Sooner Than You Think 4: Uploading 5: The Interim Meaning of Life 6: Getting to the Singularity.
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  34. Michael E. Zimmerman (2011). Last Man or Overman? Transhuman Appropriations of a Nietzschean Theme. Hedgehog Review 13 (2):31-44.
    To what extent can Nietzsche's idea of the Overman be used in connection with transhumanist notions of highly advanced humans and even posthumans?
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  35. Michael E. Zimmerman (2008). The Singularity: A Crucial Phase in Divine Self-Actualization? Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy 4 (1-2):347-370.
    Ray Kurzweil and others have posited that the confluence of nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, robotics, and genetic engineering will soon produce posthuman beings that will far surpass us in power and intelligence. Just as black holes constitute a ldquo;singularityrdquo; from which no information can escape, posthumans will constitute a ldquo;singularity:rdquo; whose aims and capacities lie beyond our ken. I argue that technological posthumanists, whether wittingly or unwittingly, draw upon the long-standing Christian discourse of ldquo;theosis,rdquo; according to which humans are capable of (...)
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