Convergence and the Singularity

The concept of ‘converging technologies’ stems from a 2002 report sponsored by the US National Science Foundation (NSF), and edited by Mihail Roco and William Bainbridge:

In the early decades of the twenty-first century, concentrated efforts can unify science based on the unity of nature, thereby advancing the combination of nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, and new technologies based in cognitive science. With proper attention to ethical issues and societal needs, converging technologies could achieve a tremendous improvement in human abilities, societal outcomes, the nation’s productivity, and the quality of life.

The phrase ‘converging technologies’ refers to the synergistic combination of four major provinces of science and technology, known in short as ‘NBIC’. These are (a) nanoscience and nanotechnology; (b) biotechnology and biomedicine, including genetic engineering; (c) information technology, including advanced computing and communications; and (d) cognitive science, including cognitive neuroscience. The idea is that as these four areas develop they will

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