Re: Stopping the Singularity

Chris Hind (
Fri, 04 Oct 1996 14:57:18 -0700

>No, the tragic death of Drexler might even have the opposite effect by
>creating media attention.
>Here is a more realistic scenario, based on an upcoming paper about
>scenario planning (this is the "House of Cards" scenario):
>An international stock market crash occurs for one reason or another
>(Earthquake in Tokyo, Bill Gates converts to Islam or a little computer in
>Ulan Bator gets a stupid idea); this upsets the world economy a lot, and
>several influential banks or insurance companies crash or get into serious
>trouble. This causes a feedback - for example, all insurance companies are
>cross-insured, and if one goes down the others will feel the
>The economic chaos affects the national economies and currencies badly.
>Many customers find their savings inaccessible or even gone, a lot of
>companies are forced into layoffs. A new depression seems imminent, but it
>has appeared much faster than anybody had planned for, and it is almost
>impossible to do anything constructive against it (whether this is true or
>not doesn't matter, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy). In developing
>nations things turn very nasty, since foreign capital suddenly vanishes
>together with the market of many export products (like coffee or cacao).
>Things are not much better in the industrialized world, since there are a
>large group of unemployed, suddenly poor people who have not enough
>savings, will not get enough wellfare (since the government is busy having
>to save the remaining banks, the currency and keep vital installations
>running) and beside have lost all confidence in the official currencies.
>As violence and poverty rise, many people band together into communities
>for mutual protection and survival. This of course makes the state even
>jumpier, and it has to prevent these communities from becoming too
>powerful, otherwise it will loose its remaining control - and of course,
>sending out the police and military consts valuable resources, which makes
>the situation worse. And when things really start getting bad people
>become even more desperate...
>The end result, when we played out this scenario, was a world dominated by
>many more or less independent agrarian communities focused on staying
>alive, most strongly defended or part of neo-feudal states. Long range
>trade will probably return in the future, but it will take a long time.
>Mongolia suddenly looks like a developed country in this world - they are
>good at horsemanship, independent and self-sufficient.
>Meanwhile, advanced research and development is practically impossible
>(ever tried to do genetic engineering without access to purified enzymes?
>Or how do you rebuild the internet when electricity is a scarce
>commodity?). Drexler and us are (if we are lucky) building generators or
>tending the sick.
>No, this may not prevent the Singularity from appearing later, but it
>will delay it considerably. You could of course make this scenario even
>darker by assuming bioweapons or similar tricks, but a global market
>crash can be bad enough.

AHHH!! DON'T SAY THIS!! This is a horrible idea! What is the likelyhood of
this occurring?