English edit

Etymology edit

Imitative. Compare boom.

Interjection edit


  1. The sound of a muffled explosion.
    • 1983, Richard Bach, Biplane:
      And FOOM-FOOM! the two engines burst together into life...
    • 2000, James Bradley, Ron Powers, Flags of Our Fathers: Heroes of Iwo Jima:
      Those flat-trajectory shells would skim straight in, making a roaring sound in the dark: Foom! Foom! Foom!
    • 2007, Warren Murphy, James Mullaney, The New Destroyer: Guardian Angel:
      A soft, distant foom. The lights blinked, then faded. Foom-foom-foom! Explosions, one after another, rocked the tunnel.

Noun edit

foom (plural fooms)

  1. A sudden increase in artificial intelligence such that an AI system becomes extremely powerful.
    • 2013, Brian Tomasik, International Cooperation vs. AI Arms Race, page 2:
      There are some scenarios in which private AI research wouldn't be nationalized: •An unexpected AI foom before anyone realizes what was coming.
    • 2016, Robin Hanson, The Age of Em: Work, Love, and Life when Robots Rule the Earth, →ISBN:
      Some advocates of this foom scenario say that there is an as-yet-undiscovered but very powerful set of related architectural innovations for AI system design, a set that one team could find first and then keep secret from others for long enough.
    • 2018, Steven Pinker, Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, →ISBN:
      Though the programs will surely get better, there are no signs of foom.

Verb edit

foom (third-person singular simple present fooms, present participle fooming, simple past and past participle foomed)

  1. To exhibit an AI foom.
    • 2013, Robin Hanson, Eliezer Yudkowsky, The Hanson-Yudkowsky AI-Foom Debate, page 216:
      The reason an AI can foom so much faster than its society is that an AI can change its basic mental architecture,and humans can’t.

Anagrams edit

Middle English edit

Noun edit


  1. Alternative form of fom