Thoughts on News, Connectivity and the Death of Steve Jobs: A Mini-Singularity
I have a different view on the idea of the technological singularity. I don't believe that a Singularity will suddenly happen all at once, but that there are increasing singularities. Instead of one Singularity, singularities come in brief bursts, uniting the majority of a connected group across social and topical boundaries for a brief moment.
Defining a Singularity
A singularity could be defined as everyone experiencing a certain moment or thought at once. Like having all time zones converge on one time, or the entire planet experiencing the same weather for a moment, these moments of singularity are fascinating to experience.
It's not that we are always connected to the same thoughts, but that if something globally relevant happens, those who are connected have the capability to experience it at the same time. It does not matter if anyone has the same opinion on the subject, it matters that they are all suddenly aware of the change.
During a singularity, all media reach a saturation point. During an earthquake or the death of a celebrity, social networks generally collapse into a single topic and tweet about it for a period of time after the event.
Mental and Technosocial Convergence
In the case of Steve Jobs, real-time media channels were saturated mere seconds after the announcement. The Twitter channel I had open in Tweetdeck began zooming by with every tweet being the same. Some form of communication mentioning the passing of Steve Jobs.
Software developer Aaron Parecki noticed not just the Twitter and news channels filling up, but all of the subchannels he was in on IRC as well. Within about 20 seconds, two IRC channels, Twitter, and the entire Portland Incubator Experiment office simultaneously were talking about his death.
Time and Space Compression
As the time and space it takes to send and receive information decreases, these kinds of micro-singularities will become increasingly common. If you're connected to the web, it is likely that you have just experienced another singularity.
Although in this case, the micro-singularity was brought on, as @jenkhughes stated, "it was a micro-singularity made possible by Steve's own inventions". The analog world announced the death to the digital world, and the digital spread at the speed of light to all nodes on the network. Jobs played a massive role in making those nodes on which we all connect. RIP Jobs.