Volume 2 of the JTH!

Nick Bostrom (bostrom@ndirect.co.uk)
Mon, 15 Jun 1998 03:50:35 +0000

Volume 2 of the Journal of Transhumanism
(http://www.transhumanist.com) is now released, featuring a paper by
Robin Hanson on the singularity and the economics of explosive
growth. If you feel competent, please consider submitting a note to
the open peer commentary to seed the discussion.

Is a singularity just around the corner? What it takes to get
explosive economic growth

Economic growth is determined by the supply and demand of
investment capital; technology determines the demand for capital,
while human nature determines the supply. The supply curve has two
distinct parts, giving the world economy two distinct modes. In the
familiar slow growth mode, rates of return are limited by human
discount rates. In the fast growth mode, investment is limited by the
world's wealth. Historical trends suggest that we may transition to
the fast mode in roughly another century and a half. Can some new
technology switch us to the fast mode more quickly than this?
Perhaps, but such a technology must greatly raise the rate of return
for theworld's expected worst investment project. It must thus be
very broadly applicable, improving almost all forms of capital and
investment.  Furthermore, investment externalities must remain within
certain limits.

Nick Bostrom
Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
London School of Economics