Re: Singularity: Vinge responds

Joe E. Dees (
Thu, 17 Sep 1998 11:37:51 -0500

Date sent:      	Thu, 17 Sep 1998 08:19:35 -0700 (PDT)
From:           	Emmanuel Charpentier <>
Subject:        	Re: Singularity: Vinge responds
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> ---Michael Lorrey <> wrote:
> > One concept that I developed in my minds eye upon reading much of
> Vinge's
> > work is that a 'singularity' is not a destination, but the horizon
> of any
> > man's vision of the future. While extrapolating from Moore's Law we
> think
> > that the event horizon of the 'singularity' is going to come closer
> and
> > closer as we approach a given point that seems now to be
> incomprehensible.
> > However, given that amplification of our own intelligence is an
> effect of
> > approaching the singularity, our own ability to imagine future
> > possibilities should also expand with our own intelligence.
> ...
> > The singularity is ALWAYS in the future. It will NEVER be reached. And
> > just as today there are savages and spacemen living on the same
> planet,
> > there will also be a whole panoply of civilizations within each
> nation or
> > ethnic group that at some point will be incomprehensible to each
> other.
> > This is the 'generation gap' in the extreme, though it is not
> necessarily
> > a matter of the age of the participants, but in the version numbers
> of the
> > participant's operating systems. As Moore's Law begins to contract,
> anyone
> > more than x number of software generations behind the curve will find
> > themselves in a state of career and cultural obsolescence, as far as
> the
> > bleeding edge is concerned.
> I totally agree with that view. The image of the horizon is just the
> right thing: everybody is on the verge of a singularity, we're
> constantly walking toward it! And there might not be just one horizon,
> but a continuity of them, in every domain of humanity's knowledge or
> ability.
> To think there will be a change, any sort of change, be it
> philosophical, economical, social, technical...etc, to the very
> history of mankind, a change that is actually the end of history,
> looks very much like a doom theory. Well, it could/will look like it
> to a lot of people. Me included? Certainly, if I or my offsprings
> (genetically or not) are not part of it, and/or if it happens very
> quickly/violently.
> When was the last time when the end of history was announced? Karl
> Marx. (note: I don't want to imply that communism is linked in anyway
> with the singularity, just want to draw an analogy)
> Manu.

This century has already seen the births of the nuclear revolution, the plastics revolution, the transistor revolution, the integrated circuit revolution, the television revolution, the computer revolution, the genetics revolution, the laser revolution, the robot revolution, the nano revolution, the space travel revolution, etc., etc....the changes still ahead of us seem mainly to be a matter of degree rather than essence. Could it be that we have been in the singularity for a while now, and are on the down side of the bell curve, the rest now being a matter of refinements?

> [One of the last step we've done/we're doing toward the horizon, is
> the expansion of our ability to communicate, leading to a new ability:
> telepathy, or whatever the name]
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