Re: tech miracles of the year 2000 as seen from 1950

From: Spike Jones (
Date: Sun May 13 2001 - 16:31:20 MDT wrote:

> Wow, so much for analysis and prognostication. Basically, the article
> suggests that the technological forecasting is always wrong and always
> hideously, overly optimistic.

Tech prognostication is optimistic always in the short term,
laughably pessimistic always in the long term.

Consider further that predictions tend toward optimism when
there is a lot of attention focussed on a situation that is rapidly
changing. One can make a lot of "money" in ideas futures by
understanding this phenomenon. Consider the price curve of
the meme "computer defeats world chess champion." Over
the years, the price of this meme went way up each time there
was a match, even when the experts were pretty much unanimous
that the human would win. Drawing attention to the question
caused optimism that the computer would pull an upset. It
did so, by the way, in spite of the expert's predictions, in 1997.

A more interesting question now would be: when might an
ordinary desktop computer (under $2k U.S), running commercial
chess software (under $200 U.S) defeat the reigning world
champion under match conditions? Do you notice that the top
grandmasters are no longer reporting their results against the
best software? I suspect that it is scalping them on a regular
basis these days. That day of the $2k chess champion is nearly
upon us as the software evolves and the hardware just keeps
Moore-ing along. spike

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