Vernor Vinge in 1993 predicted that, at some point between 2005 and 2030, greater-than-human-intelligence would come into being due in part to improvements in computer hardware and networking. He called this "The Coming Technological Singularity" and suggested four means:
- There may be developed computers that are "awake" and superhumanly intelligent.
- Large computer networks [and their associated users] may "wake up" as a superhumanly intelligent entity;
- Computer/human interfaces may become so intimate that users may reasonably be considered superhumanly intelligent; and
- Biological science may provide means to improve natural human intellect.
It's at this point that Vinge suggests all the old models will break down and be discarded and a new reality will rule. It's a really interesting piece that I'm still trying to think through, because it has such implications for the information community.