Re: Knowledge Doubling Time & Singularity?

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Mon Feb 18 2002 - 13:31:21 MST

On Mon, Feb 18, 2002 at 02:52:27PM -0500, Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:
> Which is just not true. I can't remember any medical discovery since I was,
> say, thirteen, that was as dramatic as Pasteur's refutation of spontaneous
> generation, the synthesis of uric acid, the discovery of the smallpox vaccine,
> et cetera.

If it is hard to estimate rates of knowledge growth, then estimating
*progress* is even harder. It seems that the benefits of the earliest
fundamental discoveries in a field often get a huge impact because
subsequent improvements are compared to what has already been achieved,
not a total lack of ability. The first smallpox vaccine was likely not
very good, but it did achieve its aims. The second vaccine was better
but now the improvement was mostly visible in statistics.

> In fact, if you track the amount of exponential-doubling hype out there, and
> the rate of its increase, I think that by 2008 you'll find people predicting
> that the Singularity will occur in 1840.

Very true. Which means that at one point the Singularity will occur...
right now! Yay! :-)

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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