I used to be a sceptic about the ‘technological singularity’, the idea that we are on the verge of creating machines so unimaginably intelligent that human history will enter a wholly new and unfathomable phase. My scepticism stemmed largely from the quasi-religious awe that surrounds the idea. Like the mysterious black monolith in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, the singularity is a blankness onto which adherents project primordial fantasies of immortality and omnipotence, heaven and hell.
As a keen student of mythology, I am always inclined to take a wry view of such projections, which recur in different variations, secular and religious, in every generation, couched in the language of the day. For us, that is the vocabulary of advanced technology: robots, avatars and