How Stephen Wolfram is preparing for the Singularity

November 30, 2011


Computing and mathematics legend Stephen Wolfram is worried about bigger problems than climate change or overpopulation. He just joined the Lifeboat Institute, a think tank devoted to ways of protecting humanity from deadly nanoweapons and rogue artificial intelligences.

The Singularity is a concept, popularized by Ray Kurzweil, that posits human nature will be fundamentally transformed by technology sometime in the not-too-distant future. In books such as The Singularity is Near, and The Age of Spiritual Machines, Kurzweil argues that man and machine will ultimately become one. While many experts lampoon the idea of Singularity ever happening, the concept has been massively influential in both science and popular culture.

Wolfram has his own ideas about humanity and the future of technology. In a recent lecture at the 92nd Street Y’s Singularity Summit, Wolfram argued that the universe is best understood as a computer program and that technological advances will fundamentally alter human nature in unimaginable ways. […]

Note: contrary to the title, this article does not primarily focus on Stephen Wolfram, but we have included it in Kurzweil Collections to provide full coverage of Ray Kurzweil press mentions. – Ed.