Sit down with some big technology thinkers, and it won’t be long before you hear them talk about “the Singularity”: the allegedly imminent moment when our technology outsmarts us and takes over. It’s sort of a Rapture for nerds, and it’s been popularised in everything from the Matrix films to inventor Ray Kurzweil’s book The Singularity Is Near. Think the robot armies in Star Wars are fanciful? Right now there are more than 12,000 robots working for the US military. Google has computer-driven cars out on the road. And we all know about Watson, the IBM computer that dominated its human competitors on Jeopardy!