Exponential Trends trump YXK [was RE: Clock of the Long Now]

From: Robert Bradbury (bradbury@genebee.msu.su)
Date: Tue Jan 04 2000 - 06:33:30 MST

On Mon, 3 Jan 2000, Rick Strongitharm wrote:

> I wonder if they'll make it Y10K compliant. How scary would FOUR nines be?

Not very scary at all. We have reached the point in technology where
data storage is close to becoming "free", so past "compromises" are no
longer necessary. I'll cite some examples:
 - IEEE floating point math & 64 bit processors are capable of handling
   calculations describing almost anything "physical" in the Universe.
 - A->D and D->A converters in recording & playback devices have reached
   the sensitivity limits of the human ear.
 - Digital cameras are approaching photographic film, i.e. eye resolution.
 - HDTV & SHDTV are streaming information to us at probably close to the
   bandwidth and resolution limits of the eye.
 - Machines already far exceed our strength, speed, dexterity and scale
   manipulation abilities.
 - We are on a max 30/min 5 year countdown to machines exceeding the human
   brain computational capacity.
 - We have low latency disk drives capable of storing the digital recall
   capacity of the human brain.
 - We can position ourselves to anywhere within a meter or less on the planet.
 - We are in the process of implementing an Internet addressing scheme that
   can address more devices than we can possibly imagine (2^64).

I could probably add more, but the point is clear. We have reached the
point in our technology development that the exponential engineering trends
have transcended the previous compromises that had to be made. We have
a few more "hurdles" to cross, including "exponential" self-replicating
machines, manufactured by conscious design and exponential growth in
available energy and matter to manipulate. These things are still in
the relatively flat part of the curve.

But YXK should never occur again.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:01:58 MDT