Re: What could stop the singularity? ( was Interesting Quotation)

From: Geraint Rees (
Date: Mon Jan 07 2002 - 11:27:07 MST

On 1/7/02 4:00 PM, "John Clark" <> wrote:

> How about a simple virus mutation? Something as deadly as Ebola
> and as contagious as the common cold might spread so fast that
> scientists would have no time to study it. Compared with other
> mammals there is remarkably little genetic variation in the Human
> Race so it is at least conceivable that one very bad bug could
> cause an extinction, sort of like a Dutch Elm Disease for people.
> I'm not expecting it to happen but it's something to think about.

How about a repeat of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, which killed 20-50
million worldwide, mostly young adults. More Americans were killed than in
all the wars of the 20th century.

The problem here, as the CDC point out, is that vaccine production (which is
now available) typically takes 6 months, more than the likely warning of a

On the optimistic side, although a pandemic on this scale would be bad it's
not likely to be an extinction event.
Best wishes,


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