The Singularity doesn’t depend on trends.

Excerpt from a mail to the SL4 mailing list from Micheal Vassar that I found particularly good:

“Popular conceptions of the “singularity”, grounded on trend extrapolation for either poorly designed metrics like “change” or narrow metrics like “transistors per dollar” are squarely SL3 because they inspire a belief in discontinuous change without any real understanding of the reasons for discontinuous change or it’s likely nature/dynamics. At SL4 people don’t believe in “the singularity” because they have extrapolated the past, but because they see in rough outline how it can be brought about. They don’t believe it will happen in 2037 because that’s when it’s due, they believe that it will happen when someone makes it happen, if anyone ever does. At SL4 “the singularity” isn’t seen as a technological trend, like Moore’s law or more powerful car
engines, it’s seen as a specific class of technology, like “heavier than air flying machines”. We see how the laws of physics and information allow for such things, and how contemporary technology is sufficient to allow credible attempts, and how near future technologies, which are predicted substantially as the outcomes of trend projection (but trend projection stepping forward another decade or at most two decades on trends that have proven themselves for many decades) should make it slightly easier to make credible attempts to bring about singularity.”


#1   andrew brown on 04.26.06 at 2:30 am

are you talking about the new OS microsoft are making?

#2   Joel on 04.26.06 at 3:35 am

Well Vista may take until 2037, but I’m actually talking about something else. Check out here.

#3   andrew brown on 04.26.06 at 12:24 pm

oooooh m$ is making a different os to the side, more like HURD than anything else I believe….

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