[ExI] Limiting factor to the Intelligence Singularity?

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Sat Dec 23 18:06:52 UTC 2023

On Sat, 23 Dec 2023 at 17:11, spike jones via extropy-chat
<extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
> I hafta think there are some negative feedback loops we don't really know
> about yet, or don't know well.  Of course a controls engineer will think of
> that possibility: the absence of negative feedback loops in any mechanical
> system leads to a singularity, or a resonance, or some kind of breakdown in
> the linearity of the system.
> Singularity theory requires the absence of negative feedback.  We still
> don't know if that model is right.
> spike
> _______________________________________________

My favourite AI is optimistic that obstacles can be overcome.
But it doesn't know about 'unknown' obstacles.  :)

 As technological progress accelerates at an ever-increasing rate,
could there be unexpected blocks to further progress?

Yes, as technological progress accelerates at an ever-increasing rate,
there could be unexpected blocks or obstacles that hinder further
progress. While the trajectory of progress is often envisioned as
exponential, it's important to recognize that various factors can
influence the pace and direction of advancement. Here are some
potential blocks to progress:

1. Technological Constraints: As technologies advance, they may
encounter fundamental physical or engineering limitations that impede
further breakthroughs. For example, in some fields, such as
semiconductor manufacturing or battery technology, researchers may
reach the limits of what current materials or processes can achieve,
requiring significant innovations or paradigm shifts to overcome these

2. Resource Limitations: Technological progress often requires
substantial resources, including funding, raw materials, energy, and
skilled labor. If these resources become scarce or inaccessible, it
could impede the development and deployment of new technologies.
Additionally, geopolitical factors, economic conditions, or
environmental challenges may affect the availability and distribution
of resources necessary for progress.

3. Regulatory and Legal Barriers: The introduction of new technologies
often prompts regulatory and legal considerations. Governments and
regulatory bodies may impose restrictions or regulations to address
concerns about safety, ethics, privacy, or other societal impacts.
While these measures are intended to ensure responsible development,
they can also create barriers, delays, or uncertainties that slow down

4. Ethical and Social Implications: As technological advancements
become more complex and impactful, ethical and social implications
become increasingly salient. Concerns about privacy, security,
equality, and societal disruptions may lead to calls for caution,
regulation, or even outright resistance to certain technologies.
Public opinion and ethical considerations can significantly influence
the trajectory of progress.

5. Unforeseen Challenges: Technological progress often involves
navigating unpredictable challenges and setbacks. New discoveries may
reveal unforeseen risks or limitations, requiring researchers to
revisit their approaches or develop new solutions. Additionally, the
complexity of certain problems, such as understanding the human brain
or achieving breakthroughs in fundamental physics, may present
unexpected hurdles that slow down progress.

6. Economic or Market Factors: The pace of progress can be influenced
by economic factors and market dynamics. Technological advancements
require investments, market demand, and viable business models to
support their development and deployment. If economic conditions
change, funding becomes scarce, or market demand shifts, it can impact
the speed and direction of progress in specific areas.

While these blocks can pose challenges, it's important to note that
they are not insurmountable. Often, overcoming these obstacles
requires collaboration, interdisciplinary approaches, innovative
solutions, and adaptive strategies. The ability to address and
navigate these blocks effectively can shape the future trajectory of

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