[ExI] Singularity vs. Surge scenarios

Bryan Bishop kanzure at gmail.com
Mon Jun 22 15:19:47 UTC 2009

On Mon, Jun 22, 2009 at 8:52 AM, Max More wrote:
> I've just sketched out a very basic scenario framework for discussing
> possible futures of interest to transhumanists and others. A large part of
> my reason for doing so is to open up the range of possibilities considered
> (which I think have often been narrowed recently) and to set up a framework
> to contrast my Surge scenario with that of the Singularity.

I sometimes wonder about this. It's hard to talk with certain people
about issues related to singularity because on the one hand there's
the technical gap to an understanding of what we mean when we say
singularity, and then the definition of singularity that is strictly
about artificial intelligence, and so on. This makes it somewhat hard
to talk about the related issues that are nearby, or that can happen
regardless of whether or not we all call it the same thing. So, maybe
it's useful to use "surge", or at least the broader framework to
discuss related topics.

> How fast will the future arrive?

"The future is already here, it's just not evenly distributed." Many
interesting technologies already exist and have already "arrived", but
how long until they are able to trickle down so that you find out
about them? I know that there are many technologies in many labs
around the world that I simply do not know about (because I am not
omnipotent). But that doesn't mean that the future isn't already here
.. it just has to be found, and built using the tools that are less
and less of us are proportionally aware of, or something.

I predict the future will be here in 20xx.

The software project that I have been working on (skdb), the backend
toolchain of the openmanufacturing and diybio groups, could come in
handy here for figuring out how many dependencies are not present for
the implementation of certain technologies. Tech diffusion can eaily
occur when tech is packaged into reusable lego packets, so there's
various scenarios that could be planned with that. I am reminded of
the old paper that analyzed the progress of the debian community,
where the very same was happening for free software as we wish it to
occur for hardware and technologies. Basically the authors predicted
that by 2006 there would be 100,000 packages. As of 2009, as of now,
there are only barely 30,000 packages. So something went wrong in
their prediction process. ;-)

- Bryan
1 512 203 0507

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