Re: Singularity Passivity

Anders Sandberg (
26 Aug 1997 13:00:08 +0200 (Dan Clemmensen):
>I would be very interested in discussions on the era leading up to the
>Singularity. In particular, what can we do to minimize societal upheaval
>while accelerating the pace of technological advance?

Yes, this is probably a fruitful area of inquiry.

Some things worth considering:

How well do people in general adapt to change, and how much do they
like it? Are there basic traits of flexibility? Can flexibility be
nurtured by culture or amplified artificially?

In the future scenarios developed by Aleph, I noticed recently that
catastrophe theory could be applied to society. Essentially the
catastrophe surface was controlled by the parameters of how much
society tried to control new technology (social impact statements vs.
invent whatever you like) and how well it adapted to new technology
("Internet is a fad" (an actual quote from the Swedish communications
minister!) vs. "Let's use this, with some caution"). I found that
at least in our scenarios (which may or may not reflect reality)
a catastrophe could occur if society didn't adapt; when a society
attempting to control technology fails, or when a previously free
society due to popular pressure really enforces technology controls,
a very fast transition can occur if the society has not adapted to
the technology, likely with social upheaval as a result. Besides,
in the no adapption case the internal tensions in society were higher.

[Note: in only one of the four scenarios was a singularity a noticeable
future possibility; in one other it might occur, but a more likely
long-term future would be a branching of humanity into very different
directions, and in a third it might occur further in the future based
on a non-western culture]

How will economy change in the time up to the singularity? Can today's
corporations adapt fast enough, or will the break up?

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