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“Singularity” is an odd word. Originally it meant peculiarity. Then 20th-century physicists got hold of it and situated it at the very boundary of space-time, to the eternal bafflement of the lay mind. A singularity became the inexplicable, infinitely charged nothing out of which the universe grew following the Big Bang.

A new “singularity” now looms — the moment, fast approaching, when our machines surpass us in intelligence. Conservative futurists — an oxymoron if ever there was one — see it coming around 2045. Others say 2030. What’s on the other side? Nobody knows. Good things in abundance, seems the majority view.

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