Moore's Law, first predicted in the 1970’s, establishes the long-term exponential growth of technology over time. It states that the performance of a computer’s central processing unit consistently doubles every eighteen months, which implies that by the year 2030, the average mass-market computer chip will be somewhere around 1024 times more powerful than the average computer chip in 2010. It also means that a single computer chip will be able to do more computations per second than the human brain itself, reaching a limit where machine consciousness could become plausible.
As of 2011, no artificial conscious entity is known, the most similar entity to it would be arguably IBM’s Watson project. The dream seems to be very far away from us, and some proponents doubt whether it will ever be achieved, arguing that there must be something more to consciousness apart form pure computational power.
Whether the creation of such artificial consciousness would bring more advantages than hazards to society, is nowadays a matter of philosophical discussion, and only time can tell whether these predictions will become true at all.
“The Singularity occurs as artificial intelligences surpass human beings as the smartest and most capable life forms on the Earth. Technological development is taken over by the machines, who can think, act and communicate so quickly that normal humans cannot even comprehend what is going on; thus the machines, acting in concert with those humans who have evolved into postbiological cyborgs, achieve effective world domination. The machines enter into a “runaway reaction” of self-improvement cycles, with each new generation of A.I.s appearing faster and faster. From this point onwards, technological advancement is explosive, under the control of the machines, and thus cannot be accurately predicted.”
— Raymond Kurzweil