Re: Economists Optimistic Re Population
Mon, 22 Jun 1998 21:05:24 EDT

In a message dated 98-06-22 19:18:50 EDT, Alexander Chislenko rearranged the
electrons to say:

<< I wonder what they think of the economic environment for
the period covered in their forecast. The economic utility
of both humans and machines should very considerably
change; any long-term economic scenario should take
into account radically different organizational methods,
cheap little robots with image recognition taking over
much of current work, etc. If anybody was able to give
quantitative assessments of such things, I would drop
everything else I'm doing and go learn from them.
Maybe, I should start from requesting that report... >>

I haven't yet read the report, but it would surprise me rather a lot if they
considered any such thing. The more likely scenario, imho, would have them
painting a sunny picture based on what they know about out level of technology
right now. Should that be the case, then any paradigm shifting discoveries
such as "cheap little robots with image recognition" would likely make an
otherwise very optimistic prediction look very shabby indeed. Anything other
than trend prediction based on a solid historical record, a la Julian Simon,
would fall into the same category of mistake that the "1 extinction every 20
minutes" environmentalists make. It would just happen to fall on the opposite
side of the spectrum.

But I could always be wrong,

Nature's id