Think of last week’s mysterious market flash crash when reading the article this quote is taken from:
+: What signs would you look for which indicated that the Singularity is near?
VV: There are a number of negative and positive symptoms that a person can watch for. An example of a negative symptom would be if you began to notice larger and larger software debacles. In fact, that’s sort of fun to write about. One of the simplest of positive signs is simply to note whether or not the effects of Moore’s Law are continuing on track.
The fundamental change that may be taking place — humans may not be best characterized as the tool-creating animal but as the only animal that has figured out how to outsource its cognition — how to spread its cognitive abilities into the outside world. We’ve been doing that for a little while ten thousand years. Reading and writing is outsourcing of memory. So we have a process going on here, and you can watch to see whether it’s ongoing. So, for instance, in the next ten years, if you notice more and more substitution for using fragments of human cognition in the outside world — if human occupational responsibility becomes more and more automated in areas involving judgment that haven’t yet been automated — then what you’re seeing is rather like a rising tide of this cognitive outsourcing. That would actually be a very powerful symptom.