The Near Singularity was the nearing a singularity that didn't come in 2036. Everyone expected the singularity to come within the decade. Unfortunately, humanity's effect on the evironment finally caught up with them in the form of the Great Drying. The world's population was decimated and the singularity to come was postponed for nearly a century.
In the mid 2030's, the world's nations grew ever more prosperous. To keep competitive, they began pouring continuously more resources into the R&D industry. The result an explosion of technology and population. The population of the world boomed from 8 billion to more than 15 billion. This explosion of people was founded on the idea that once the singularity happened, there wouldn't any poverty and everything would be provided plentifully. This boom was premature however and actually strained the world's infrastructure to its limits. Though coping, the global infrastructure was exceeding delicate. Just as the economy began to stabilized, the Great Drying struck and collapsed the equilibrium. The result was an unparalleled drop in the human population and loss of most of the knowledge gained from the near brush with the singularity. Humans numbered less than 800 million in the first year after the Near Singularity.