Re: THEODORE MODIS critique of S.I.N.

From: Russell Wallace (
Date: Sat Mar 18 2006 - 14:16:36 MST

On 3/18/06, Philip Goetz <> wrote:
> I would have more sympathy with you if you pointed out something in
> the article that was actually wrong, or even debatable.

The author correctly points out that Kurzweil's reference to the knee of an
exponential graph has no objective validity, then goes on himself to use the
knee of said graphs in most of his quantitative arguments, rendering them
null and void.

He's right that it is reasonable to regard most particular advances as
logistic (S-shaped) rather than exponential curves, but:

Progress over all of history is not just a single logistic curve, but a
continuing series of them over shorter timescales. IIRC, Robin Hanson has
presented some analyses suggesting the next such curve will indeed take us
to the Singularity.

If you want a credible estimate where things will top out, the best way to
obtain such is to analyze the limits dictated by natural law and available
resources. When you do that, Kurzweil's predictions look plausible.

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