• Mechanical singularity: a configuration in which the robot end-effector becomes blocked, because the subsequent behavior cannot be predicted.
  • Technological singularity: The hypothetical point where the machines grow so advanced that humans are forced into a societal and existential crisis.


Technological Singularity, Superintelligence, AI singularity


The term “singularity” was first used in the context of artificial intelligence by mathematician and computer scientist Vernor Vinge in his 1993 essay “The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era.”

The term comes from mathematics, which is a point at which a function or a physical quantity becomes infinite or undefined.


/sɪŋɡjʊˈlærɪti/ (sin-gyuh-lar-i-tee)

Related terms

Robot – Robotics – Transhumanism – Technological determinism


Singularitarianism: a movement that believes in the inevitability of the singularity and advocates for the development of artificial intelligence to achieve it.


The concept of singularity can be likened to the idea of a “tipping point,” where a system or process reaches a critical point of change and rapidly accelerates towards a new state.

It can also be compared to the moment of a black hole’s “singularity,” where the laws of physics break down and our understanding of the universe is fundamentally challenged.


When is the singularity expected to occur?
The singularity is a hypothetical event, and there is no consensus on when or even if it will occur. Some experts predict that it could happen within the next few decades, while others suggest it could be centuries or even millennia away.

What are some of the potential implications of the singularity?
The potential implications of the singularity include the possibility of machines surpassing human intelligence in a wide range of tasks, leading to a fundamental change in the nature of human society and the potential for the creation of superintelligent machines that could solve some of the world’s most pressing problems, but also raise ethical and existential issues.

Are there any concerns about the singularity?
Some experts have raised concerns about the potential negative consequences of the singularity, such as the possibility of machines becoming uncontrollable and potentially harmful, the potential loss of jobs and economic disruption, and the potential for machines to be used for malicious purposes. Additionally, the lack of understanding and control of the AI behavior post-singularity is a concern.

Quotations and Historical References

“We will soon create intelligences greater than our own. When this happens, human history will have reached a kind of singularity, an intellectual transition as impenetrable as the knotted space-time at the center of a black hole, and the world will pass far beyond our understanding.”

Vernor Vinge

“The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. Unless you have direct exposure to groups like Deepmind, you have no idea how fast—it is growing at a pace close to exponential. The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five-year timeframe. 10 years at most.”

Elon Musk

“The first ultraintelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make, provided that the machine is docile enough to tell us how to keep it under control.”

I.J. Good

Fields of application

The concept of singularity has applications in a wide range of fields such as artificial intelligence, computer science, philosophy, and futurology.

The singularity is often discussed in relation to the development of AI and robotics, and how these technologies will affect society and human life.

Example sentences

  • Many scientists believe that the singularity is inevitable and that we must prepare for its consequences.
  • The robot arm got stuck in a singularity, unable to move to its intended position.
  • The singularity could bring about unprecedented technological progress, but also poses serious risks and challenges.


Some proponents of the singularity believe that it could lead to the creation of a superintelligence that could solve all of humanity’s problems, while others warn that it could lead to the extinction of the human race.

The idea of the singularity has been popularized in science fiction exploring its implications, with films like “The Terminator”, “Ex Machina” and the novel “The Singularity is Near” by Ray Kurzweil.

Other in Robot Glossary

Turing Test

A test of a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human


Hybrot is a hybrid robot that combines biological and mechanical components to achieve unique capabilities

Other terms in robot vocabulary

Turing Test

A test of a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human


Hybrot is a hybrid robot that combines biological and mechanical components to achieve unique capabilities

AI – Artificial Intelligence

The simulation of human intelligence in machines to perform tasks such as learning, decision making, problem solving, visual perception and natural language processing

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