Many have heard about the idea, popularized by Ray Kurzweil, that a technological singularity is coming. In a nutshell, the idea is that as the power of computers is growing exponentially, at some point it will bring about an artificial intelligence that will overtake human intelligence, reinforce itself and change everything beyond any (human) imagination.
I personally don’t believe that the creation of an AI able to compete (let alone surpass) with human intelligence is near at all. But while working on my latest web project, I noticed just how easier it has become to create incredibly powerful and attractive new software than just a few years ago. And all this thanks to Open Source and the internet.
Increasingly, we see amazing new software libraries, frameworks, programming environments being released as (Free) Open Source on the internet. This makes it progressively easier for other people, even solo developers working from home in their free time, to create great software, and often give something back to the Open Source community.
Not just that; the internet is making it easier and easier to find the best new pieces of software, to get answers to the most difficult programming questions, to circulate ideas and to publish the end results of it all. And to bring this all to even the most isolated programmers, in the remotest parts of the world.
Isn’t this all it’s needed to create an exponential growth of software innovation? I guess it is. And I don’t know what this will bring about, but it is a fact that information technology is disrupting lots of industries, with consequences that are harder and harder to predict – as unfortunately the current economic crisis is showing.
I don’t know if this could be the real technological singularity, even without artificial intelligence in the mix, but it could come damn close.