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What, then, is the Singularity? It’s a future period during which the pace
of technological change will be so rapid, its impact so deep, that human
life will be irreversibly transformed. Although neither utopian or
dystopian, this epoch will transform the concepts that we rely on to give
meaning to our lives, from our business models to the cycle of human life,
including death itself. Understanding the Singularity will alter our
perspective on the significance of our past and the ramifications for our
future. To truly understand it inherently changes one’s view of life in
general and one’s own particular life.

- Ray Kurzweil, award-winning inventor and author of The Singularity is Near

Singularity has fascinated human minds since the concept first became popular in science fiction books and films in the 1980s. The term was introduced by mathematician and author Vernor Vinge in a 1983 issue of Omni magazine: the creation of artificial intelligence with the ability to improve upon itself, thus quickly and irreversibly surpassing the mental capabilities of humans.

Now, as artificial intelligence comes close to perfecting skills once thought to be uniquely human—speech recognition, for one—singularity has moved from science fiction into the mainsteam discussion of A.I. technology. In 2006, the first Singularity Summit was held at Stanford University for scientists and others to fully explore the subject with other interested participants.

Now in its third year, the 2008 Singularity Summit will be held this Saturday, October 25, in San Jose, California. Speakers include inventor and summit founder Ray Kurzweil, founder of the X PRIZE Foundation Peter Diamandis, and the Singularity Institute Director of Research, Ben Goertzel.

Registration for Singularity Summit 2008 is still open, and our readers can purchase tickets for the event at a discount by using this link: Footage from the previous two conferences can be seen below:

If you’re around the Bay Area this weekend, you have a rare opportunity to hear and interact with some of the world’s greatest thinkers. Check out the Summit’s program and register today!