Re: Singularity or Holocaust?

Philip Witham (
Thu, 26 Feb 1998 14:58:26 -0800

>If I have good intelligence amplification, then I
>can use it to earn enough to buy or develop better IA equipment, and
>so on. My neighbor, who isn't quite as bright will still improve, but
>will lag after more and more while I soar towards transcension.
>There are equalizing forces too.
>The problem is of course: are these forces
>enough to keep the differences finite? I doubt it.

There is one equalizing force that I think is very powerful: the market
economy. A relevant example is the growth of personal computers. One might
argue, even mathematically, that a company or individual with more MIPS will
make more money off of that computing power, and therefor they will earn more
money to buy more MIPS, and before long, most of the MIPS are in the hands of
one entity. Some thought that there would never be a need for many
The opposite happened. Most of the MIPS are in the cheap computers.

Design effort is paid for by sales, and this will apply to improving humans
our minds. There is a market of billions of units for cheap human
improvements. These billions, growing exponentially in thinking and buying
power, remain richer in total than any individual. Remember also that we are
talking about a market situation that would drastically alter the value of any
particular group's currency, which tends to keep everyone trading amongst each
other. For instance, think of an incipient Power, temporarily getting
ahead of
the game and finding that the possessions and services of the mere Humans were
especially cheap. She would also be too expensive for the Humans to often buy
from. Over time, this trade imbalance would shift what I would call the
"personal currency" balance back, and the Mere Humans would catch up to some

Bringing "up" the world with you is a selfish act, resulting in faster growth
for you. And a much more interesting world.

- PW