Here’s what was said:
“What irritates the heck out of me is that so many other people have come to have faith in this, despite zero evidence, and that this is inhibiting SF. “…”Yet somehow the Singularity resonated to the point where Charlie Stross called it “the turd in the punchbowl” of writing about the future, and most SF being written now has to call itself “post-Singularity” and try to write about people who are by definition beyond our comprehension, or explain why there hasn’t been a Singularity.” (bold face mine)
I mentioned before that I agreed with the assessment that there would never be a singularity event, but that opinion obviously shared by some hasn’t prevented the seeming need to adequately explain away the singularity for readers who are concerned about such bible-esque armageddons.
Now admittedly I haven’t read all that much POST Nineties SF (some, and I’m working on it), but I’ve yet to see anyone use the most simple, straight-forward explanation of all. What I have seen are authors who simply leave the entire concept out of their world building (which works for me), but may not work for others in the ‘believeability’ department. (How some folks can believe in one fictional concept and reject another fictional work because it doesn’t embrace the first piece of make-believe is beyond my understanding. Selective sense-of-wonder disorder? Adult Willing-Suspension-of-Disbelief Deficit?)
Anyway. The simplest work-around to the singularity ‘problem’ is – it didn’t happen.
As some have pointed out, the progression towards technologies that could engender a singularity that will occur within our life times (or close enough) requires that the current rate of change remains unchanged. Moore’s Law describes an exponential increase and the path towards the singularity assumes that that will continue, while prior experience with other technologies will easily illustrate that this is not the case; at some point, a wall is reached, the exponential growth ceases and only cosmetic changes occur until a new technology comes along to supplant the old one, at which point the roller-coaster ride begins all over again.
Fortunately, we don’t even have to wait to see if we come to the end of the exponential growth cycle in computing to know if such will occur before or after the singularity, because there are numerous, plausible future events that could curtail such growth tomorrow.
Natural disasters, biological events, warfare, alien invasion, cosmic blow-offs are just the few off-the-top-of-my-head, easily imagined future events that could slow or even stop technological advancement next year, next month, or even tomorrow, because, if the research stops, so does the development of technologies that could lead to the singularity.
If you presume that a post-apocalyptic* society remembers our concerns about run-away technology – or even blames such for the downfall, and you presume that their cultural attitudes embrace some small piece of ‘just because we can doesn’t mean we should’, and then give them a little time to recover from the apocalyptic* event, you’ve created any number of plausible post-non-singularity futures, futures that can embrace just about any stripe of SF you might imagine. If you really want to have astrogators plotting their interstellar routes on punch cards fed into the electronic calculator – now you can. (Gotta keep those machines down…). If you’re full-on with steampunk – there’s your background for coal-fired FTL drives. And if you really want to get nasty, you can have your pseudo-Victorian Era Earthmen run afoul of an alien species that embraced a singularic future . The coal-fired Earthmen will win, of course, because their ‘old world tech’ can’t be affected or influenced by mere electronics.
Hmmm. I like that one so much I think I’m going to start taking notes…