This is a term I fished out from Mass Effect (a Sci-Fi RPG that spans three game titles). You can look into it further if you’d like, but the term I want to focus on is the idea of “technological singularity.” Wikipedia defines it as “theoretical moment in time when artificial intelligence will have progressed to the point of a greater-than-human intelligence that will ‘radically change human civilization, and perhaps even human nature itself.'” At this point, the future of human society becomes unpredictable in relation to its past.
Turing’s Turing Test looks at whether or not machines or artificial intelligence can ever pass itself off as human, or effectively imitate human behavior to the point where it is indistinguishable as a machine. In Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (don’t worry, no spoilers), it seems to be the case that androids do end up imitating humans quite well, and they in fact exceed human capabilities in terms of things like intelligence. I could introduce more things from the novel but I don’t want to spoil anything, so I at least hope that “technological singularity” can be a concept that we keep in mind as we read. What exactly about that singularity makes it so threatening to human society, and why do we seem to make strides towards that kind of singularity? Along with this idea, I wonder how it complicates Darwin’s idea that natural selection/God “works solely by and for the food of each being, [then] all corporeal and mental endowments will tend to progress towards perfection” (267). Maybe it’s not a comparison worth making, but how might the fact that these androids were made by humans question that definition of perfection, or how might humankind’s own actions in creating such androids that complete that idea of singularity pervert that idea of perfection?
I do wonder, however, if the idea of “technological singularity” can be brought into conversation with H.G. Wells’ Time Machine. We know that the time traveler goes to a very distant future where the human race has evolved/devolved into two distinct species. I’m wondering if there was a point in that timeline where technological singularity could have played a significant role.