Re: Singularity information

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Sat Feb 12 2000 - 11:57:19 MST

On Sat, 12 Feb 2000 wrote:

> It seems that the rate of development of technology would necessarily be
> limited by the rate at which the new technology can be assimilated by the
> users, assuming that the users are directing the development.

No, think of the headaches of a high-tech startup. First write a plan,
then convince people to provide money, then hire people, then do the work...

If an entrepreneur has been successful in the past, the first two
steps get dramatically shorter. The recent round of high-tech startups
is occuring much faster because (a) there is so much cash floating around
that less "selling" has to be done; and (b) we are moving into industries
where less and less infrastructure has to be built to get the thing going.
If the startup is successful, then this becomes a self-perpetuating process.

So long as the industries are focusing on overcoming customer
resistance (esp. rates of learning limitations), things will get faster
and faster. Witness the fact that they are now *giving away* lots
of high tech stuff (cell phones, ISP access, etc.). That removes one
of the big barriers to marketing things at faster and faster rates.

> So long as
> humans are in charge, it seems that they would not allow technology to
> advance any faster than they wish it to advance.

If it were "demand-pull" that would be the case, but it seems alot more
like its "create-push". I'm don't go shopping for a car based on whether
it has a GPS system in it, but in another 5 years I doubt you will see
a vehicle without one. Will I use the technology? Hard to say. Look
at all the features in MS-Word that I don't use but I still buy the
software because the it does the job I need it for fairly well.

It is going from whether *all* humans can absorb the technology to the
point where is there *any* human that will use the technology.

> And if humans were not in charge, and technology were advancing on its own,
> as for example by the actions of intelligent robots, it seems that humans
> would seek to isolate themselves from the new technology so long as it
> is too advanced for them to use or to benefit from it.

Well, now you are talking pseudo-ludditism (Quakers, etc.). As Robin
and others have pointed out, those who are first to grok the technology
and use it to accelerate their growth rates will have a substantial
advantage over those who don't. Whether or not they keep the stay-behinds
as pets or antiques remains an unresolved question.


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