[extropy-chat] technological equilibrium

Mike Lorrey mlorrey at yahoo.com
Tue Jul 13 14:22:40 UTC 2004

--- "paul.bridger" <paul.bridger at paradise.net.nz> wrote:
> Spike wrote:
> > 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?
> Well, I was thinking about a kind of technological equilibrium
> imposed by an 
> increasing cost of energy (as we are seeing today). Progress would be
> too expensive, because simply staying still (surviving) would take
> everyone's time.
> But then...before we reached that state we'd start doing research to
> make energy cheaper.

We're always doing such research, though funding varies over time, and
you are forgetting completely the consumption end. Making consumption
more efficient for all practical purposes not only cheapens energy, it
extends supplies. One new technology that is promising in this is the
tungsten lattice radiator technology, that extracts quanta of energy
from waste heat.

Contrary to the claims of the luddite chicken littles, we produce more
GDP per unit of energy (inflation adjusted) than at any point in

Now, given projections of eventual scarcity, this necessitates progress
or willful regression. We need an energy source which is unlimited in
practical terms fusion from seawater is pretty good. Some form of zero
point extraction, perhaps using pseudo-singularities of some type,
would be the ultimate solution.

When such energy sources are attained, the primary limitation in a
planetary environment is the ability of the environment to deal with
the waste heat (the Puppeteer Problem). Skyhooks would be helpful in
this, but a culture may have to accept melting of polar ice caps.
Depends on how the atmospheric model settles out. With the end of use
of fossil fuels, CO2 levels will plummet, and given the CO2/thermal
curve, an ice age would be in the offing without a significant
expansion in waste heat production planet wide. Heavy settlement of
sub-polar areas would be necessary.

Mike Lorrey
Chairman, Free Town Land Development
"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom.
It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
                                         -William Pitt (1759-1806) 
Blog: http://www.xanga.com/home.aspx?user=Sadomikeyism

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