Re: The Singularity

Eugene Leitl (
Sat, 18 Jul 1998 21:49:30 +0400 (MSD)

Robin Hanson writes:

> I don't know what you mean by "saturation."

Sorry for being notoriously informal, it means that certain developments start to lag relatively to the hitherto linear log plot of some relevant metric vs. time.

> You don't need to "safely exclude anything" to be able to make more
> accurate forecasts. You just have to assign a higher probability to
> what turns out to be the right answer. Consider the probability
> distributions my 1898 ancestor would have assigned to these:

Hmm, let's see. (Btw, would you let me have a copy of your algorithm of assigning these numbers to actual events forecast? Big thanks).

> 1) Number of his/her human decendants in 2098

Anything from zero (we can't go negative, can we?) to some absurdly (really really transastronomically postabsurdly) high number. (If 'number' and 'human' and 'individual' still mean something by then, that is, things like timelike closed curves and timespace engineering considered. Recent news about GUT unification energy reconsideration considered, nothing will ever surprise me).

> 2) Median physical mass of each descendant in 2098

If physical mass has a meaning after some timespace engineering (show me a proof you can't do that by 2098). Even if you can't build these, I still have no idea how many persons can really fit into the volume of a glass of water, whether quantum computers, or no. What's the mass of matter in the PS lightcone @ 2098?) (And molecular circuitry we will certainly to be able to do by then. Urgh. Was this a forecast? Forget whatever I said).

> 3) Median age till death of each descendant in 2098

Age? (Well, if you go Lamarckian, identity stops having its canonical meaning). Death? What's that?

> 4) Median number of immediate descendants of each descendant

If identity still exists, as does timespace.

> 5) Median distance each descendant lives from where he lives

Urrr. 'Distance'? 'Live'?

> 6) Modal religious affiliation of descendants


{Allright, I've been deliberately nonconstructively dadaist (within my current mental model), but point (still) is: you can't be sure what actually happens. Personally, I would adhere to more conservative scenarious (you'd be surprised), but no one can't be certain. No, sir. Not even Robin Hanson.}

> *Any* difference in his/her vs. my distributions assigned should mean
> I will make better forecasts (assuming I'm rational). Even if the

Maximum difference you'll get, but it still does not mean anything a priori.

> distribution I would assign is broader than the distribution
> he/she would have assigned, reflecting the realization of a wider range
> of possibilities, that still means I am more likely to assign a
> higher probability to the right answer.

The distinction is not practical. Yes you would, much good this will do you.