Re: Singularity Blindness

Date: Tue Oct 23 2001 - 15:53:15 MDT

From: Anders Sandberg

>While I think Natasha's analysis makes a lot of sense, there might also
be an additional cultural cognitive factor: in general people are not
good at making complex future scenarios.<

"Multi-tracking" is the most effective method for future scenario designing. While I skimmed the phrase lightly, thank you for expanding on it.

> You imagine change along one
variable, and see the consequences ("given the increasing population and
transportation needs, in the future all cities will be choked on horse
manure"). But to really make a good future model (even for short range
planning like how to organise one's day) you need to take both several
variables into account and how changes cause further changes (the
response to limited resources is economic incentives for finding new
resources or better ways of using them, making the original shortage
temporary). Most people seem to be fairly unusued to this on a large
scale - they do it all the time in everyday thinking but do not apply it
to thinking about the big picture. I think this is mainly cultural
thing, there has so far not been any training or even need for it. But
things are changing, and more and more people seem to be able to run
scenario planning through their heads quickly and efficiently.<

When people consider future events, there is a tendency to place their bets on one area they think will potentially have the most consequential effect. But what is a far more productive analysis stems from viewing varied areas of development which affect the future from all sorts of directions. How rare are the people who have comprehensive information gathered from varied points of view, and what better and enjoyable conversationalists they are.


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