The best visuals to explain the Singularity to senior executives


Tomorrow morning I’m doing a presentation to the top executive team of a very large organization on the next 20 years. Most of what I will cover will be general societal, business and technological drivers as well as specific strategic issues driving their business. However as part of stretching their thinking I’ll also speak a about the Singularity.

As such I’ve been trying to find one good image to introduce my explanation, however I haven’t been able to find one which is quite right for the purpose.

Ray Kurzweil’s Six Epochs diagram below is great and the one I’ll probably end up using, however it is a bit too over-the-top for most senior executives. The Universe becoming conscious is beyond the ambit of most strategy sessions.

Source: Ray Kurzweil, Applied Abstractions

The chart below from Hans Moravec showing how exponential growth of computing power will allow machines to match human intellectual capabilities is excellent, but it is seriously out of date. This needs to be brought current to be able to be shown to people.

Source: Hans Moravec, When will computer hardware match the human brain?

This additional diagram below from Ray Kurzweil shows how the gap between significant events in human evolution is diminishing exponentially, suggesting that this will soon be an everday occurrence, taking us into totally uncharted territory. However there are several leaps of logic and imagination required to make this really compelling to people rooted in the present.

Source: Ray Kurzweil, Tropophilia

So despite these great images, it doesn’t seem there is one visual that suits my purpose here. I may have to end up making one myself.

Definitely let me know if there are other great visuals to help elucidate the Singularity for sceptical neophytes!