Technophile that I am, I found interesting the IEEE Special Report on The Singularity, which has a number of thought-provoking essays from multiple points of view and both pro and con Vernor Vinge‘s concept of the technological Singularity (rigorously expanded & popularized by Ray Kurzweil, among others, in his books The Age of Spiritual Machines and The Singularity is Near [now a major motion picture, coming to a theater near you] as well as many lectures, including ones at the Stanford Singularity Summit and TED 2006).

Not being close enough to the research, I hesitate to pass judgment on the question of the development of strong artificial intelligence, the key upon which the singularity is predicated. Either way, though, accelerating information, biological, and molecular/nano technologies promise to make the mid-21st century a magical time to be alive. (As in the late, great Arthur C. Clarke famous Third Law, “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”.