Open Innovation and Technological Singularity

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Hélio Lemes Costa Jr.

Technological singularity is the term used by Raymond Kurzweil to define the prediction that, in a few decades, men and technology will be integrated and inseparable, in a way that the presence of technological development will simply not be noticeable. Cybernetic organisms, the cyborgs, will be common and the technologies will no longer be used only to repair human physical disabilities, but to broaden their physical capacity and their senses, memory and reasoning.

At first, it looks like a science fiction scenario; however, when looking closer to the curves of evolution of certain branches in science and its technological applications in the last five decades, it is possible to see that this evolution does not follow a linear growth pattern, but rather an exponential one.

This means that, unlike the increase of temperature from winter to summer, which follows a linear growth, the growth in capabilities of computers and networks, the discoveries of nanotechnology and genetics engineering are given in exponential leaps, such as what we observe in the growth of web users in the last 20 years, for instance.

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Hélio Lemes Costa Jr. – Professor, writer and geek. He investigates on technology, innovation and people. Associate Professor at the Institute of Applied Social Sciences at the Federal University of Alfenas, Varginha campus, MG. PhD and MA in Production Engineering, with a bachelor degree in Computing and Management.

The growth of computing capacity, the improvement of robots, the advancements in neuroscience, will all take to a reduction of costs and, consequently, the popularization of advanced resources of mechanical and cognitive assistance (hardware and software) to human capacities.

It is interesting to observe that these perspectives analyzed and proposed by Kurzweil and other scientists that support the concept of Singularity would not be possible if they were dependent on a single company, a single researcher or even a limited group of researchers. There are many fields of knowledge involved in the process of creation of cyborgs.

The extensive combinations of discoveries and the current flow of information among researchers and groups have accelerated the process. Brazilian researchers, such as Miguel Nicolelis, are working alongside a wide and diverse community, which includes scientists, companies, governments and NGOS, so as to make a paraplegic child kick the first ball at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Open and incremental innovations in the areas of artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, bioengineering and others for the complementarity of the abilities of the human being are capable of generating a future in which references to age, health and wellness can be radically altered and this paradigm shift may give space to a new men.

Likewise, new organizational paradigms are also being achieved through open innovation, where public institutions, private companies and individuals rearrange and complement themselves in competencies and initiatives which, in a not so distant future, will result in a new company, integrated in a balanced manner by the technology and by the human, as the cyborg.

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