Re: JOIN: Joshua Fox

From: Russell Wallace (
Date: Tue Feb 07 2006 - 08:23:30 MST

On 2/7/06, Joshua Fox <> wrote:
> Russell Wallace wrote:
> > I don't think the Singularity is inevitable. In fact, I can think of
> three plausible scenarios in which it never happens, and there might be
> a fourth and fifth . . .
> What are those? The only ones I have seen in the literature are:
> - total catastrophe for human civilization
> - some unknown factor that puts limits on exponential progress for
> intelligence and technology.

I'm not concerned about the second (known lower bounds should suffice,
though not for a hard takeoff), but I would reckon the most likely variants
of the first as:

1. De facto world government forms, with the result that progress goes the
way of the Qeng Ho fleets. (The European Union is a disturbingly large step
on this route.)

2. Continuing population crash renders progress unsustainable. (Continued
progress from a technology base as complex as today's requires very large
populations to be economically feasible.)

3. Future political crisis leading to large scale war with nuclear or other
(e.g. biotech or nanotech) weapons of mass destruction results in a
fast-forward version of 2.

I don't know what will happen in the future, but I think there is at least a
significant risk that some such event will occur before we reach the
Singularity (which is why we need to hurry).

- Russell

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