[extropy-chat] technological equilibrium

Emlyn emlynoregan at gmail.com
Tue Jul 13 06:20:08 UTC 2004

There could easily be plateaus. For example, look at human history and
you'll see many plateaus... the jump from hunter-gatherer to
agriculture, for instance, is a story of a technological ramp up which
eventually settles down; a plateau on either side of the rise.

So maybe there's some kind of technical "closure" around machines,
computers & information processing, and global communications
technologies, that we haven't quite reached yet but are going to reach
some time soonish. So the spike never happens, it is an S instead.

I'm not sure I believe it, but it's sort of plausible. The only
problem is that yes, our history is one of plateaus, but they are
shorter and shorter, with an exponential supercurve across the


On Mon, 12 Jul 2004 22:39:24 -0700, Spike <spike66 at comcast.net> wrote:
> Occasionally one stumbles over an insight which has
> for some time proven elusive, even though the insight
> is so obvious it illicits in the suddenly enlightened
> the response, "well, DUH!"
> I had a well-duh moment this evening.  Since the Long
> Now talk by Dr. Jill Tarter, I have been pondering the
> question of how an advanced society can ever re-establish
> some technological equilibrium.
> This disturbed me as a child when I read Asimov's
> Foundation.  Here was a technologically advanced society
> that was retrogressing, or at least not progressing.
> I did not have the vocabulary or grokitudinosity to
> understand the singularity then, but even then I had
> a hard time imagining an advanced society that was
> not moving progressing.
> At Dr. Tarter's lecture, that same question hit me:
> intelligence either devours itself, or goes to singularity,
> or establishes technological stability somehow.  I could
> not imagine how technological stability or equilibrium
> could ever come about.
> This evening's insight was on why it is I have such
> a hard time imagining advance tech equilibrium: on this
> planet, every society that is currently in or has ever
> reached technological equilibrium is primitive!
> Well, duh.  Obviously.  Has anyone a counterexample?  Has
> anyone a suggestion, or a mechanism for how an advanced
> society can establish pre-singularity technological equilibrium?
> spike
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