Re: To kick off your day..

From: Dani Eder (
Date: Thu Dec 11 2003 - 09:05:50 MST

My own prediction is that, barring a Singularity
or catastrophe, human population will peak around
8 billion in about a generation. My reasons for
this lower estimate are the spread of development
to more of the world and underestimates of the
impact of the AIDS epidemic on population.

> the global population would reach 244
> billion in 2150 and 134
> trillion in 2300."
> Here's hoping for a Singularity that isn't delayed
> by 300 years in a fertile
> society.

I can think of a couple of reasons that such an
outcome won't happen:

1) The rate of progress is some function of the
number brains (human at present), their education,
and the amount of time they spend working on new
stuff. All three components have been increasing
over the past few centuries, and there is no reason
to expect a huge retrogression in education or
fraction working on new stuff. As a proxy, the
latter factor can be measured as the number of
scientists & engineers in the world.
So in a future world with vastly increased
population, I would expect progress to be even
faster than our present rapid pace, and thus
a Singularity, if it is to occur, to occur sooner
rather than later.

2)US energy consumption per person is 11 KW.
At room temperature a blackbody can radiate 500W
per square meter. Therefore you need 22 square
meters per person to dump the waste heat. The
surface of the Earth is 511 trillion square
meters, thus the maximum population that can
be supported is 23 trillion. One would hope
that by 2300 AD the average development level
of the world would equal the US of today.

I'm pretty sure there are other constraints that
would prevent a population on Earth from getting
that high, but simply getting rid of the waste
heat sets an upper bound.


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