Re: The Spike, nanotech, and a future scenario

Steve Witham (
Mon, 6 Oct 1997 21:43:19 -0400

Hal Finney writes-
>Actually I find that the Singularity stays about 20-30 years in the
>future. I'd like to see some evidence that anyone in 1980 predicted it
>to be in 2035, 55 years in their future. I don't think anyone even knew
>about the Singularity back then.

I remember writing a letter to Creative Computing, so it must have been
in the late '70s, predicting enough computing power for real-time brain
simulations by 2025 or something--about 45-50 years out. Didn't get

>It's our old friend, the S curve. Right now the growth in performance
>looks exponential, just as the increase in sewing machine speeds (or
>virtually any other industrial performance measure) looked exponential
>at one time. But they hit a limit back then, and we will probably hit
>a limit ourselves now.

Hans Moravec graphed computing power starting with mechanical calculators
and it's been a steady exponential since quite a few decades before the
transistor. But then (this was the early '80s, I think) he said we were
going to see a sudden Giant Leap around 1990, for some reason!


--    Steve Witham under deconstruction
"...when activated, it pops a message off the bag
    and recurs with the tail of the bag."
             --Vijay Saraswat and Patrick Lincoln