Re: No Singularity?

M. E. Smith (
Mon, 15 Nov 1999 13:12:28 -0800 (PST)

Geoff Smith wrote: "Have any singularitans drafted a critique of the following site?"

Thank you, Geoff, for bringing this to fascinating site to my attention. Before now, I've never seen a *good* critique of "Engines of Creation". Now I have.

Like you, I have reservations about a sentence here and there, but overall Lyle Burkhead's article
"Nanotechnology without Genies" is well-reasoned.

His overall point reminds me of what has happened so far with nuclear energy and it's original promise of
"energy too cheap to meter". The promise was based on
the simple physical fact that the energy levels producable with nuclear reactions are orders of magnitude greater than with chemical reactions.
However, when we actually went about constructing nuclear energy plants, we found we needed to staff them with so many well-trained people and include layer-upon-layer of safeguards (not to mention the costs of continually assuring the public that it was safe) that, ultimately, the energy produced costed more than that produced by coal-burning plants (which is a shame, since burning coal is so much more dirty, provided the nuclear plant is a good one that is run right.)

His overall point ALSO reminds me of the so-called
"productivity paradox" associated with

computerization, and certain total-cost-of-ownership arguments about PCs.

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose???

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M. E. Smith
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