Re: A biological singularity?

John Clark (
Mon, 21 Sep 1998 23:47:28 -0400

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Robin Hanson <> Wrote:

>There seems to be something about social aspects of the future that
>makes ordinarily careful people get sloppy.

I think everybody is a bit sloppy when talking about social science because nobody knows much about it, and there is an additional problem. Predicting is hard, especially the future.

>You take care to explain carefully what this language would be and why
>we might suddenly understand it, and then when the subject of the timing
>of social change, you just declare that "perhaps in 20 years or less"
>it "would change the world beyond recognition." Can't you see the vast
>space between granting your assumption of sudden language
>understanding and having the world change beyond recognition in 20 years?

You misunderstand me, I'm not saying the singularity will happen by 2018, I'm saying eventually there will be a 20 year stretch of time during which the world will change beyond recognition. As for when all I'll say is that it will almost certainly happen in less than a thousand years and probably less than a hundred, perhaps much less.

John K Clark

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