inevitable
by Kevin Kelly
ISBN: 0525428089
Finished 1/7/17
Amazon page for details and reviews

 

Recap:

This book does not make many specific predictions about the future. But it highlights the trends technology takes and how we define ourselves in the wake of these trends. Read this book, get inspired, and go create the future.


Notes:

Introduction

The computer age did not really start until computers merged with the telephone in the early 1980s

There is bias in the nature of technology that tilts it in certain directions, and not others

Banning the inevitable usually backfires, e.g. when media organizations tried to fight illegal downloads

An eyes wide open embrace works much better

Every kind of thing is always becoming something else

Processes are more important than products – products become processes and services

Continuing and accelerating technological change can be classified by 12 verbs:
– Becoming
– Cognifying
– Flowing
– Screening
– Accessing
– Sharing
– Filtering
– Remixing
– Interacting
– Tracking
– Questioning
– Beginning

We can get the most of these technologies by listening to the directions they lean and bending our expectations, regulations, and products toward these technologies

These forces are overlapping and codependent

1. Becoming

Bits and bytes decay and change just as living and inanimate objects do

As digital ecosystems grow and increase in codependence, delaying upgrading is becoming more and more disruptive

Upgrading is a type of hygiene, done regularly to keep your tech healthy

Technological life in the future will be a series of endless upgrades at an accelerating rate

No longer how long you have been using a tool, endless upgrades make you a newbie. In this era of becoming, everyone becomes a newbie

We keep inventing things that make new longings, new holes that must be filled

A world without discomfort is utopia, but is also stagnant. It has no problems, but also no opportunities

Real dystopias are highly bureaucratic rather than lawless, more Soviet Union than Mad Max

Technology has brought us to protopia, a state of becoming, of incremental improvement. A protopia generates almost as many new problems as new benefits

This cycle of problems and solutions hides a steady accumulation of small net benefits over time

What most could not foresee about the internet was that it enabled passive consumers to become active producers

If we have learned anything in the past few decades, it is that the impossible is more plausible than it appears

The web of the future will take the context of the past into account and will also anticipate your every move

The web will more and more represent something you relate to rather than a place

There has never been a better time to invent something than right now

2. Cognifying

Cheap, powerful, ubiquitous AI will change everything

There’s nothing more consequential than a dumb thing made smarter

A free AI would feed commerce like no other force we can imagine

The AI will be thin, embedded, and loosely connected

It will be faceless, unseen, and accessible in a variety of ways

At the rate AI is improving, a kid born today will rarely need to see a doctor to get a diagnosis by the time he is an adult

This IQ will serve you as much AI as you want but no more than you need

Everything that we formerly electrified we will cognify

Three recent breakthroughs have unleashed the long-awaited arrival of artificial intelligence:
1. Cheap parallel computation, based on GPUs
2. Big data
3. Better algorithms (deep learning)

Cloud computing powers the law of increasing returns, sometimes called the network effect. AI follows the same trend

Our AI future is likely to be ruled by an oligarchy of 2 or 3 large, general purpose cloud-based commercial intelligences

Over the next 10 years, 99% of the AI you will interact with will be narrow, super-smart specialists, not generalists

Robust intelligence may be a liability, especially when referring to our self awareness. Out most premium AI services will likely be advertised as consciousness-free

Human thinking is not general at all. It is only one species of thinking. AIs will employ a different kind of thinking

In a super-connected world, thinking different is the source of innovation and wealth

While it is inevitable that we will manufacture intelligences in all that we make, it is not inevitable or obvious what their character will be

One mind cannot do all things perfectly well

To really solve the current grand mysteries of quantum gravity, dark energy, and dark matter, we’ll probably need other intelligences beside human

We will expand our own skills by learning how to interact and fact check our AIs

Every achievement in AI redefines that success as not AI. Meanwhile, we have been redefining what it means to be human

With the industrial revolution, displaced workers did not sit idle. Automation created hundreds of jobs in new fields. Each new job builds on previous automation

By the end of this century,70% of today’s jobs will be replaced by automation

By 2050, most truck drivers won’t be human. Since truck driving is the most common occupation in the US, this is a big deal

Any job dealing with reams of paperwork will be taken over by bots, including much of medicine

As manufacturing costs fall because of robots, the costs of transportation become a far greater factor than the costs of production

Once we can co-work with robots alongside us, it’s inevitable that our tasks will bleed together. Our old work will become theirs and our new work will become something we can hardly imagine

Four categories of human-robot relations:
1. Jobs humans can do but those that robots can do better
2. Jobs humans can’t do but robots can
3. Jobs we didn’t know we wanted done
4. Jobs only humans can do at first

Our inventions assign us our jobs

The bulk of new tasks created by automation are tasks only other automation can handle

When robots do our most basic work, we are free to ask what are humans for

Everyone will be able to own a personal robot, but that doesn’t guarantee success. Success will go to those best able to optimize working with those bots and machines

7 stages of robot replacement:
1. A robot cannot possibly do the tasks I do
2. It can do a lot of those tasks but not everything
3. It can do everything I do, but it needs me when it breaks down, which is often
4. It operates flawlessly on routine tasks, but I need to train it for new tasks
5. I can have my old jobs because it’s obvious that was not a job humans were meant to do
6. My new job is much more interesting and pays more
7. I am so glad a robot cannot possibly do what I do now

This is a race with, not against, the machines

3. Flowing

The internet is the world’s largest copy machine

If something can be copied and it touches the internet, it will be copied

Once a copy is introduced, it will continue to flow forever

Copy-prone products, such as software, movies, music, and games, are among the most valuable exports of the US

We can’t stop massive, indiscriminate copying

Formerly solid products of steel and leather are now sold as fluid services that keep updating

Services are improving faster than physical products are

The first version of a digital product mimics what it replaces. The second creates a new paradigm. The third age of computation deals with flows and streams

We demand to know the results of something this very second in the present

Simultaneity trumps quality

Just in time purchasing is the natural consequence of real time streaming

The industrial age was driven by analog copies: exact and cheap. The information age is driven by digital copies: exact and free

The only things truly valuable now are those that cannot be copied

When copies are free, you need to sell things that cannot be copied

Brand companies can command higher prices for similar products and services than companies without brands because they are trusted for what they promise

Trust is something intangible that has increasing value in a copy-saturated world

Generative qualities: those that must be generated at the time of transaction. These cannot be copied, cloned, stored, and warehoused. It cannot be faked or replicated

Generatives are better than free

8 Generatives:
1. Immediacy
2. Personalization
3. Interpretation/support
4. Authenticity
5. Accessibility
6. Embodiment (physical presence)
7. Patronage
8. Discoverability

Audiences will pay only under four conditions that are not easily met
1. It is not easy to do
2. The price must be reasonable
3. There is clear benefit to them for paying
4. It’s clear the money will directly benefit the creators

Digital music was not only monetarily free, it was free from constraints

Four stabilities of paper books
1. The page stays the same
2. It will be the same for that edition
3. They can last for centuries with proper care
4. The work is complete

These stabilities are not present in eBooks

EBooks offer four fluidities that counter these stabilities:
1. Fluidity of the page and display medium
2. Fluidity of the edition (personalization)
3. Fluidity of the container
4. Fluidity of growth

The right kind of instability can be good

4. Screening

Screens are appearing in numerous places in our environment

There is a current culture clash between people of the book and people of the screen. People of the book write for newspapers and magazines and administer rules of law, regulation, and finance. They are on the same page

Recordings and copies enabled patronage of artists and thinkers

Most of us have become people of the screen. Screen culture is a world of constant flux, of endless sound bytes and brief texts. Notions are massively interlinked to everything else. People of the screen make their own content and trust their own truth. People of the book favor technology over law as the solution to all problems

TV briefly reduced writing, but cheap, accessible computing means writing has nearly tripled since the 1980s

Books have become the verb booking, a form of becoming. Booking is a continuous flow of thinking, writing, researching, editing, rewriting, sharing, socializing, cognifying, unbundling, marketing, more sharing, and screening. Books are byproducts of the booking process

With screens we cannot only read a book, but share our highlights and notes. Soon we’ll be able to link passages. Dense hyperlinking among books would make every book a networked event

The universal library and it’s books will be unlike any library or book we have known because we will screen them instead of read them

You are anonymously marking up the web – making it smarter – when you link or tag something

What happens to old-style books when screening and interconnection is the new norm?
1. Works on the margins of popularity will find niche audiences thanks to digital interlinking
2. The universal library will deepen our grasp of history, as all original documents are scanned and cross-linked
3. The universal networked library will cultivate a new sense of authority in terms of what we do and don’t know
4. The new library becomes a platform for cultural life

A new fact or unfamiliar term uncovered while screening will provoke us to take action: to research the term, to ask friends for opinions, to find alternative views, to create a bookmark, to interact with or tweak the thing

Screening nurtures thinking in real time

Propaganda is less effective in a world of screens, because while misinformation travels as fast as electrons, corrections do too

5. Accessing

Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate.

Media streaming services allow us to enjoy movies and music without owning them.

Possession is not as important as it once was. Accessing is more important than ever

While individual items use less material, we use more items as the economy expands. However, the total amount of material we use per GDP dollar is going down, which means we use less material for greater value. Digital technology accelerates dematerialization by shifting from products to services

Products encourage ownership but services discourage ownership because the kind of exclusivity, control, and control that comes with ownership privileges are missing from services

A subscription is not a one-time event. It’s an ongoing relationship between the customer and provider

The customer gets, or should get, many advantages for continuing to use a service: uninterrupted quality, continuous improvements, attentive personalization

The consumer often acts as the producer, or the prosumer.

Today, selling software as a service has become the default mode for almost all software

On demand, real time access models like Uber are disrupting dozens of industries

Companies like Uber create the software and rely on prosumers, in this case individual drivers, to deliver the value

There are so many more ways to be a service than to be a product

These startups try to exploit inefficiencies in novel ways by taking unused assets and matching them to people eagerly waiting for them right this second

Most of these companies won’t make it, even if the idea will thrive

Decentralized businesses are very easy to start with low cost of entry. If these innovative business models are proven to work, established companies are ready to adapt

If smartly connected:
– a crowd of amateurs can be just as good as the average solo professional.
– The benefits of existing products can be unbundled and remixed in unexpected and delightful ways.
– Products melt into services that can be accessed continuously
– Accessing is the default

The long term trend is that most goods and services will be short-term use. Therefore more goods and services are candidates for rental and sharing

Physical goods can only be rented to one person at a time, but digital goods can be distributed to numerous people at a time. Sharing intangibles scales magnificently

Instant long distance communications enabled an era of decentralization. In fact, wrapping the globe in communications cables and satellites meant decentralization was inevitable

You can decentralize money with technologies like Bitcoin, and these technologies may contribute to decentralization in other areas

In the past, two methods were used to organize work: the firm and the marketplace. Recently, the platform has emerged as an alternative way to organize work.

A platform is a foundation created by a form that lets other firms build products and services upon it

Levels of highly interdependent products and services form an ecosystem that rests upon the platform

The deep ecological interdependence if a platform discourages ownership and encourages access instead

The wealthiest and most disruptive organizations today are almost all multisided platforms. The platform’s job is to make sure it makes money and adds value, whether the parts cooperate or compete

Less privacy and more piracy are both breeding on platforms. In addition, access limits modification. But open source platforms allow the modifications that are sorely lacking in these platforms with strict terms of use

Cloud: a colony of millions of computers braided together to act as a single large computer. Clouds offer astounding speed, reliability, and scalability

Ownerless networks, such as mesh networks, upset our current regulatory and legal frameworks. Whose laws prevail, and who is responsible for the communication?

Most people will own some things while accessing others. The mix will vary by person

6. Sharing

A variety of services enable a new kind of digital socialism. But this socialism is not class warfare or anti-American. Indeed, it may be the newest American innovation

The top down government socialism of the industrial era could not keep up with free markets.

Digital socialism is designed to heighten individual autonomy. It is decentralization extreme

Some experts have called this new socialism the sharing economy because the primary currency is sharing

There’s one way in which socialism is the wrong word to describe what is happening. It is not an ideology, not an ism. It demands no rigid creed. Rather, it is a spectrum of attitudes, techniques, and tools that promote collaboration, sharing, aggregation, coordination, ad-hocracy, and other types of social cooperation

A hierarchy for sorting through these new social arrangements:
1. Sharing
2. Cooperation
3. Collaboration
4. Collectivism

If Facebook’s members were a country, they would be the largest in the world. Yet most of its users create content without getting paid monetarily

The most common motivation for working without pay on open source projects is to learn and develop new skills

Collective sharing of medical information can trumps both doctors and privacy scares

Much of the prosperity in recent decades was gained by unleashing market forces on social problems

At nearly every turn, the power of sharing, cooperation, collaboration, openness, free pricing, and transparency has proven to be more practical than we capitalists thought possible

The power of sharing is not just about the nonprofit sector. Three of the largest creators of commercial wealth in the last decade, Google, Facebook, and Twitter, derive their value from unappreciated sharing in unexpected ways

Every bottom up organization that lasts more than a few years does so because it becomes a hybrid of bottom up plus top down. A combination of user-generated and editor-enhanced content is likely the way forward

Organizations like Wikipedia, MySQL, and Linux are not the bastions of equality they are made out to be, but are wholly more collectivist than Encyclopedia Britannica, Oracle, and Microsoft

While top down is needed, not much of it is needed

Before the internet, there was no way to get thousands or millions of people to collectively work on a project. With the internet we can, and we are exploring all the permutations that trade off control and collectivism

Given enough time, decentralized, connected dumb things can become smarter than we think

Purely decentralized power is almost the best way to start, even if it doesn’t scale all the way

The digital age is the age of non-bestsellers, the underappreciated, the forgotten. The most obscure interest is no longer obscure – it is only one click away

Crowdfunding enables creators to get compensated for their work. Some sides like Patreon even provide continuous support for creators. Fanbase equity is by far the most potent route for crowdfunding. Peer to peer lending has been incredibly successful among poor borrowers in developing countries, and could also become popular in developed countries

Innovation itself can be crowdsourced, as evidenced by GE’s Quirky

7. Filtering

The number of possibilities we confront has been expanded by a growing population, then expanded further by technology that eases creation

Our only choice is to get assistance in making choices. We filter by gatekeepers, intermediates, curators, brands, governments, cultural environments, peers, and ourselves

In the coming decades, we create more and more ways to filter

Even after filtering out one in a million, we still have too many

Recommendation engines are already used by digital media companies, social networks, and e-commerce sites

“More like this” offers are responsible for 1/3 of Amazon’s sales

The danger of being rewarded with what you already like is that you can spin into an egotistical spiral, becoming blind to anything slightly different, even if you’d love it. This is known as a filter bubble or overfitting

Filters of the future should include not only slightly related recommendations, but also stuff that I know I want to like, and stuff that I know I dislike but should learn to like

Great teachers have a knack for conveying unsavory packages to the unwilling in a way that does not scare them off. Great filters can too

Our existing filters are biased toward the platforms that host them

Heavily cognified and increasingly smart filters will be applied to any realm with a variety of choices

Mass customization and personalization of products like clothing is becoming possible

Every filter will throw something good away. Filtering is a type of censorship, and vice versa

The inadequacies of a filter can be eliminated only by applying countervailing filters on it

Humans’ attention is limited and finite while everything else is becoming abundant

TV generates for its content producers $0.20 per viewer per hour. Newspapers generate $0.93. The internet generates $3.60 per hour of attention. The average book takes 4.3 hours to read and $23 to buy. This means it costs $5.34 per hour. All of these statistics indicate how much we value our hourly attention

Today ads are generated by companies like Google and placed by site owners. Imagine ads that site owners could pick themselves, share, and get paid for proportionally. This p2p ad concept completely reverses the dynamic of the existing ad industry

If a technology persists long enough, it’s costs tend to approach, but never reach, zero

The only things increasing in cost while everything else heads toward zero are human experiences. Everything else becomes commoditized and filterable. The value of experience is rising

8. Remixing

All new technologies derive from a combination of existing technologies

Digital technology unbundles existing content types to they can be represented in new ways

Today’s tools are upsetting the asymmetry present in all media: that it is easier to read a book than write one, and similarly for movies, music, etc.

Thanks to advancements in technology, the ease of producing video approaches the ease of writing

Hollywood produces about 1200 hours of video per year, a mere rounding error compared to all video produced

Amateur productions often rely of remixing because remixing makes them much easier to create

In much of modern filmmaking, each frame is more a manipulated digital painting than the original shot

If text fluency meant being able to parse and manipulate text, than a new media fluency would mean being able to parse and manipulate moving images with the same ease

The holy grail of visuality is findability: the ability to search the library of all movies the same way Google can search the web

In addition to findability, another ongoing revolution within media can be considered rewindability

The ability to hear music again via recordings changed music forever. Songs became shorter on average, and more melodic, and repeatable

These days, software programs employ undo buttons and non-destructive editing. Revision control for code and Wikipedia entries means all previous versions are kept forever

Bits are closer to ideas than real estate

For the most part, our legal system still runs of the agrarian principle of property ownership. It has not caught up to the digital era, not for lack of trying, but because it is difficult to sort out how ownership works in a realm where ownership is less important

What should new laws favor in a world of remixing? We must ask the question: Has it been transformed by the borrower? Or did he just copy it?

The works that will have the most cultural influence are those that have been remixed the most

9. Interacting

A simulated environment that you can enter at will is a recurring science fiction dream that is long overdue

The usual goal for increasing the degree of realism while you tell a story is to suspend disbelief. The goal for VR is not to suspend belief but to ratchet up belief that you are somewhere — and maybe even somebody — else

The particular problem with VR pre-2015 was that close enough was not close enough. Phones were the unlikely savior

VR is much bigger than the consumer games industry

Two benefits propel VR’s current rapid progress: presence and interaction

Presence is made of all the technological forces that enhance realism.

Microsoft’s vision of the future is an office in which all employees wear augmented reality HoloLens goggles

VR’s enduring benefits spring from its interactivity

The same eye-tracking from VR technologies can also be used to keep track of distracted or drowsy drivers. Some eye-tracking technology is so advanced it can infer human emotions and depression

Real interfaces in the future are more likely to use multiple parts of the body, as opposed to just fingers

If something is not interactive, it is broken

The more interactive an artifact is, the more it should appear, sound, and feel beautiful

The next form factor for computers is wearable, but some technologies will have to go under our skin to have maximum effect

Over the coming decades, we’ll expand what we interact with. This expansion follows 3 thrusts:
1. More senses and sensors
2. More intimacy
3. More immersion

VR enhances realness but also encourages unrealness

Facebook may be the broker of our true identity in tomorrow’s world. Your body becomes your password

10. Tracking

Tiny, cheap sensors have made self tracking accessible. These have changed our ideas of medicine, health, and behavior

This cultural drift can be called the Quantified Self, which has evolved into a worldwide organization

Anything that can be tracked is being tracked by someone, somewhere

Some health hackers undertake very long-term tracking of health metrics. This helps establish a very personal baseline

An n=1 experiment may not seem scientifically valid, but it turns out it is extremely valid to you

The problem with n=1 is that it is easy to fool ourselves. Automatic instrumentation helps overcome this bias, along with statistical analysis

Lifestream: a time ordered stream of documents that serves as a record of your electronic life. When people meet, our lifestreams intersect. Any relevant description can be used as a retrieval key

Facebook and WeChat both have a form of a lifestream

Lifelogging is a less active form of tracking, where data is automatically saved about you over time

Making sense of all this data is a far greater challenge than merely recording it

The most informative media to capture is audio prompted by videos and photos

Social norms initially slow adoption of new technologies, but then the technologies adapt, e.g. vibrate and texting on cell phones

Cheap AI will help us sift through petabytes of data

It is shockingly easy to imagine the power that would accrue to any agency that could access any type of data about you. At the moment, most data streams are independent

Data is the new gold in business, so companies will continue to collect more of it

Ubiquitous copying is inevitable, but we have significant choices about its character. Tracking has the same dynamic

Those who figure out how to domesticate tracking, to make it civil and productive, will prosper, while those who try only to prohibit and outlaw it will be left behind

The fastest increasing quantity on this planet is the amount of data we are generating. New information is growing at 66% per year

Metadata is the new wealth because the value of bits increases when they are linked to other bits

We tend to be uncomfortable being tracked today because we don’t know much about who is watching us

In a covalent society, a sense of entitlement can emerge. Every person has a right to access, and to benefit from, the data about themselves. But every right requires a duty, and every person has a duty to respect the integrity of information and share responsibly

The big sin of many governments, including the US, is lying about tracking. They are tracking us with no chance for symmetry

There is a 1:1 correspondence between personalization and transparency

When technology gives us a choice between personal/transparent and private/generic, people tend to push the slider all the way over to the personal/transparent side. The human impulse to share overwhelms the human impulse for privacy. Vanity trumps privacy

The internet makes true anonymity easier than ever before, but it also makes physical anonymity harder

Many smart people use easy anonymity as a refuge for the private. But communities saturated with anonymity will either self-destruct or shift from the purely anonymous to the pseudo-anonymous

Anonymity is good in small doses and can keep the system healthy. It enables the occasional whistleblower and can protect the persecuted fringe and political outcasts. But if anonymity is present in any significant quantity, it will poison the system. It is far more often used to escape responsibility

Privacy can be gained only by trust, and trust requires persistent identity. In the end, the more trust, the better, and the more responsibility, the better

When self-tracking data can be cognified by machines, it will enable new, novel ways of seeing ourselves

11. Questioning

On Wikipedia, both the weaknesses and virtues of individuals are transformed into common wealth with a minimum of rules. It is easier to remove vandalized text with the revert function than it is to write damaged text, so the good enough version prevails and keeps getting better over time

Wikipedia is an example of what’s impossible in theory but possible in reality. Once you experience it working, you have to shift your expectation of what else is impossible in theory but might work in practice

Other examples abound: eBay, Google Maps with turn-by-turn navigation on smartphones, YouTube, Uber, Linux, the Web

The impossible things happening now are due to a new level of organization that did not exist before

eBay’s innovation was verification of identity to enable complete strangers to remotely buy and sell

It is necessary that we connect everyone to everyone else – and everything else – so that we can create new things together

Of course, many of the new impossible things will be impossibly bad. There will be new ways to lie, cheat, steal, vandalize, and terrorize

Even the most angelic technology can be weaponized, and will be. Criminals are some of the most creative innovators in the world

Both virtue and vice are subject to the same great becoming forces

Every harmful invention also provides a niche to create a brand new, never-before-seen good. Of course, that newly-minted good can and probably will be abused by a corresponding bad idea

On each round of good and bad creation, we gain additional choices and opportunities that did not exist before. This expansion of choices is an increase in freedom, which is the foundation of our progress, humanity, and individual happiness

As we continue to connect in new ways, our humanity will shift. We won’t cease surprising ourselves with impossible achievements

We are headed into a new world where the improbable is the new normal

The internet exposes us to improbable feats of performance, and makes them everyday. This also makes us expect only the best and brings dissatisfaction with anything ordinary. But it also cultivates an expanded set of what is possible

Soon, rather than being surrounded by ordinariness, we’ll float in extraordinariness so that it becomes mundane

Certainty itself is no longer uncertain as it once was

Truths will come with even more anti-truths, and we will have to sort through what we know

Wasting time on the internet or elsewhere is a necessary condition for creativity. The conflation of play and work, of thinking hard and thinking creatively, is one of the greatest things the internet has done

We need to be fluid and agile, flowing from idea to idea, because that fluidity reflects the turbulent informational environment surrounding us. This is neither a lazy failure not an indulgent luxury. Rather it is a necessity in order to thrive

New tools lend themselves to new answers, but also new questions. Our inventions allow us to spy into our ignorance, which is growing exponentially. It’s a safe bet we have not asked our biggest questions yet

Google provides answers for free, but the value of those answers is huge. And because questions are so cheap, we ask more of them

Over time, the Cloud will learn to distinguish what is known from what is not known

A good question challenges existing answers, is not concerned with the correct answer, and cannot be answered immediately. It is the seed of innovation in science, technology, art, politics, and business. It is what humans are for

Facts will continue to underpin the bulk of our civilization. But the most precious aspects will lie in new frontiers, in the edges where uncertainty, chaos, fluidity, and questions dwell

12.Beginning

We are alive at the moment the planet linked itself together. This will be recognized as the largest, most, complex, and most surprising event up until this time

The Holos: the collective intelligence of all humans combined with the collective intelligence of all machines, plus the intelligence of nature and whatever other intelligence emerges

Our brains are not doubling in size every few years. The Holos mind is. We will write the code that makes this system useful and productive

We may be mindlessly surfing, but each action means we are strengthening the Holos mind somewhere

The level of organization is above the largest things we have made up until now: cities

Singularity: a frontier beyond which nothing can be known

Hard singularity: AIs create smarter and smarter versions of themselves and solve all existing problems. This is unlikely

Soft singularity: humans and machines converge and move to a complex interdependence. This is more likely

The beginning, of course, is just beginning