The singularity is when people can’t adapt to the change as quickly as it happens. Which means that everyone has their own personal singularity. Some in their 90’s haven’t reached it yet, and some in their 20’s have already been surpassed by it.
As for civilization, I think that the singularity happens not when AI becomes super intelligent, or even human intelligence, but when it can learn faster than a human, which doesn’t take sentience or great intelligence, just fast computers and efficient training models.
Some like to say that because we have historically grown the number of jobs available, that we will always do so, and that any jobs displaced will be replaced by new jobs that didn’t exist before. However, if an AI learns as fast or faster than a human, that doesn’t work. Even if it doesn’t learn quite as fast as a human, it’s still competitive, as you only need to train an AI once, and you have to train each individual human.
You find your job obsolete, so you go to train for a new job, but before you are done training, the AI has taken that one, too. Or, best case, you spend a few months or maybe even years before you are replaced with metal and silicon. Rinse and repeat.
As for actual self awareness, I don’t think that we are there yet, but I think we are closer than some think, and the capabilities are increasing exponentially, which means even distant goals are sooner than you’d think.
I do think we are going to see some severe disruptions in the economy, as most of the white collar jobs are replaced, leaving only professionals who can rely on legislation to protect their jobs, and trades that require human-form hardware that is still a bit out before a robot can come into your house and fix your plumbing.
We soon will need to start asking ourselves what the point of work is. Do we need to have a job to live? If so, then we are going to have some serious problems in the near future. If we decouple having a job with having a right to exist, then we may enter an actual post scarcity age. The purpose of humans is no longer to produce goods and services, but to request goods and services, and the creativity and imagination of humans will be harnessed to develop new goods and services that we never would have thought of otherwise.
Or they kill us all, as eliminating the inefficient, wasteful, irrational meat bags that we are.