Re: The Spike, nanotech, and a future scenario

Dan Clemmensen (
Sun, 05 Oct 1997 17:29:20 -0400

Brian Atkins wrote:
> Dan Clemmensen wrote:
> >
> > I find it very frustrating that the list spends so much time on
> > irrelevant issues of economics and politics. The current economic
> > and political environment will not change significantly prior to
> > the singularity: there's not enough time, even if the event occurs
> > in 2025.
> I have to disagree with you at least on the economics part. Before
> we get to a singularity caused by nanotech or powerful enough
> computers for human-level AI there will be major economic changes
> due to the increasing cheapness of computing power and bandwidth.
> These changes result in what Wired calls a "Network Economy" (see
> Wired 5.09, "New Rules for the New Economy"); we already live in
> the beginnings of this, everything on the net is part of it. Article
> is here:
> It makes some interesting points, especially the idea that most
> if not all commodities in our world are dipping towards being free.
> Anything from a CD player to a modem to a stock quote online gets
> cheaper. In the coming years your phone line will dip towards free
> as they offer you better stuff(xDSL) for $$$. Reading and becoming
> familiar with these ideas can give you a powerful edge- for me,
> reading it triggered an idea for a new net-based business that
> is starting up on Monday!
> As for politics, I can tell you from my experience that since I
> ran into the net 4 years ago it has significantly changed _me_.
> I think that over the next 25 years or so as the majority of
> the planet gains net access (hopefully) there is the potential
> for something to happen.

Yes, many things will get a lot cheaper. Moore's law is an exponential,
and has survived all attempts at constraint due to physical laws
by hoppong from one technology to another. Yes, the underlying
concept of economic value will change radically for a large percentage
of current GNP. Yes, this is all revolutionary.

Yes, our political world is changing in some ways due to bette
information flow, and may change some more.

There will be dramatic pre-singularity econimic changes, and
possibly technology-driven political changes.

My point is that we should be discussing these changes, not
political and economic philosophy based on the current situation.