Catherine Valente, author of adventure tale The Cities of Coin and Spice, says the singularity isn't about artificial intelligence or nanobots. Instead, that scifi moment at which everything "now" becomes "the future" is personal, too: Valente compares the big Singularity to personal singularities like living as a divorced person when you thought you'd be married forever. She also lays down a much-needed challenge to all those wankers who think the singularity can only come about via specific technologies like artificial intelligence.

Here are a couple of her smartest points:

But the real nature of singularities is that they can't even be predicted. In some sense AI is such an easy answer to what the singularity will be. In actuality it will probably be some advance we can't even think about right now, as incomprehensible as the internet to a potato farmer in 17th century Ireland. He would not even have the tools to begin to understand what it was, let alone, and maybe more importantly, what use anyone could have for it, and why anyone would care. There are potatoes to pull, goddammit, leave me alone with that shit . . .

The word singularity is a lie, both in SF and in life. There is no one singularity. You keep pushing through them, and it's fucking terrifying, and fucking amazing. You wake up and one day the USSR is gone and the tech boom crashed and you're divorced and you sell tires instead of playing professional soccer and your toaster wants to talk to you about pork futures and the size of your penis and your sofa wants to have a serious conversation about the works of Vernor Vinge. You wake up and you're making independent movies instead of selling tires and Europe up and got themselves a common currency and you had twin girls when you thought your birth control was top notch and the Supreme Court threw an election and gay marriage is so old-fashioned when there are four sexes and flights to Saturn leave daily.


The Singularity [via Whatever]