Re: The Singularity

Robin Hanson (
Wed, 22 Jul 1998 10:27:36 -0700

Eugene L. writes:
> > >The bulk of past predictions now seems ludicrous. ...
> >
> > This claim is independent of any concept of singularity. So are you
> > saying no one should ever attempt to envision the future decades ahead?
>Independent? Not quite. It's just that predicting things grows the
>harder the nearer we are near the Singularity. _Of course_ one should
>attempt to envision the future decades ahead, just don't expect it's
>graven in stone you'll turn out right.

Predicting things at time A about time B > A gets harder the larger B - A is, regardless of what B and A are. It seems as if you've been claiming something much stronger, that there is a special time S such for A < S < B, there is an extra/special difficulty in predicting. I've been trying to get you to articulate arguments for this stronger claim, not to repeat that predicting is hard and we shouldn't be certain.

> > How can you be so sure of these things, that gods have no banking, and
> > that gods are incomprehensible to us? These true by definition of "god"?
>I can't be sure, that's the reason I mentioned this. The bandwidth of
>possible developments suddenly explodes, and you're a sorely put at
>assigning probabilities to each individual branch of the multitude.
>As to 'gods are incomprehensible to us', why, yes, I'd say that's a
>part of their definition. If I can predict the actions of a posthuman,
>then it is no different from a wind-up toy.

There is a vast region of predictability between "wind-up toy" and "incomprehensible." Given your definition, why should we believe there will ever be gods? And why does "the bandwidth of possible developments suddenly explode"?

Robin Hanson RWJF Health Policy Scholar, Sch. of Public Health 510-643-1884 140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 FAX: 510-643-2627