Re: Heinlein (1946) on the Singularity

From: Michael M. Butler (
Date: Fri Jan 04 2002 - 20:49:49 MST

Popping in for a second:

> > Was your post about Heinlein, evidence that he seemed to see a
> >"singularity" on the horizon? If so, neither his atomic war, nor a period
> >of accelerated technical progress actually occurred. Houses in 1946 look
> >much as houses did then, autos are gasoline powered, there's a computer in
> >every home, but surely not robots.
> This is asking too much. One aspect of the rise up to a Singularity is that
> the farther ahead you look the greater the difficulty in knowing which
> technologies will go spikishly exponential.

And the threat of destruction now extends far beyond just nukes, which
completely understandably filled his vision in 1946. Consider the context.

RAH also said that predicting specific future tech was merely "a parlor trick".
Sociologically, however, he was right on the money about The Crazy Years,
the Interregnum, and people being able to make big money designing games and
being famous for it.

He didn't predict an electronically mediated world garage sale (eBay), but
I think it would have amused him.

butler a t comp - lib . o r g    Wm. Burroughs said it best: "After a shooting spree,
I am not here to have an argument.        they always want to take the guns away
I am here as part of a civilization.        from the people who didn't do it."

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