Re: What Makes An Idea Viral? (Seth Godin)

From: Brian Atkins (
Date: Wed Sep 28 2005 - 10:32:49 MDT

Ben Goertzel wrote:
>> No one "gets" an idea unless:
>> a. the first impression demands further investigation
>> b. they already understand the foundation ideas necessary to
>>get the new
>> c. they trust or respect the sender enough to invest the time
> Obviously, the Singularity and related ideas discussed here fail on all
> three counts.
> Kurzweil is one spokesman who may have the reputation to overcome point c,
> but I guess even he can't overcome points a and b.
> "Singularity" sounds insane to most people and hence fails on point a), and
> the failure of the general public on point b) is obvious.
> Oh, well.

I'm not so sure about all this now. I'm starting to lean toward the idea that
the Singularity will become essentially required reading for anyone in business,
technology, science, etc. It seems unavoidable as time progresses... there are
too many smart people pushing the idea now already to avoid it.

An example that I was surprised to see recently is that last Friday night John
Mauldin started covering the Singularity/TSIN in his free investing email
newsletter. He's got well over a million subscribers last I heard, and since he
sent that newsletter the book jumped up into the top 25 books at Amazon and has
pretty much stayed there. 5 years ago it was hard for me to imagine that a book
purely about the Singularity would be in the top 25 Amazon books, but now we're
here... where will it be in another 5 years?

If you want to temporarily sign up for that newsletter and see the back issue
you can go to - after giving them your email (or a fake
email) you will see TSIN is the top subject right now. He's going to keep
covering this in his next 1 or 2 newsletters as well because he thinks it's very

I think this is the beginning of spreading the meme throughout the mainstream
investment and business world's thinkers. It will still take years even though
ideas spread quickly nowadays, but by the end of the decade I expect it may be
accepted or at least known by most. It will also be interesting to see if
additional Singularity gurus pop up over the next few years in addition to
Kurzweil and other known personalities.

Brian Atkins
Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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