Part 1 - The Concept Defined
1) The development of computers that are "awake" and superhumanly intelligent. (To date, most controversy in the area of AI relates to whether we can create human equivalence in a machine. But if the answer is "yes, we can", then there is little doubt that beings more intelligent can be constructed shortly thereafter.
2) Large computer networks and their associated users (internet) may "wake up" as a superhumanly intelligent entity.
3) Computer/human interfaces may become so intimate that users may reasonably be considered superhumanly intelligent.
Perhaps it was the science-fiction writers who felt the first concrete impact. After all, the "hard" science-fiction writers are the ones who try to write specific stories about technology outpacing humanity. As the concept of super-human intelligence looms closer, the dilemma felt by science fiction writers will soon be perceived in other fields. We will see automation replacing higher and higher level jobs.
The preceding ideas are a “cut and paste” (literally and figuratively) composition from the complete and original material that is… available here.
It represents the most important question of our time. Our undying gratitude goes to Vernor Vinge for encapsulating and presenting this vital information to humanity.