RE: Anti-singularity spam.

From: Bob Seidensticker (
Date: Wed May 03 2006 - 10:50:37 MDT

Well, let's see if I can evaluate the past. We saw explosive change in
airplanes in the early 1900s, from biplanes through jet airplanes.
Obviously, supersonic passenger planes would continue that exponential
progress, right? Nope. The SST was a bust, as was the Concorde. We fly
today at about the same speed at the dawn of the Jet Age, 50 years ago. Has
there been change in passenger aviation since the 50s? Of course. But the
exponential phase has closed.

Look at skyscrapers -- 4x increase in record skyscraper height in the 40
years leading up to the Empire State Building in 1931. Then no increase in
record height in the next 40 years.

Look at the printing press -- explosive growth in the second half of the
1400s (10M new printed books). Then the amount of change quieted for a few
centuries. Then, more explosive change in the early 1800s, when steam
increased printing speeds 100x, giving us the penny newspaper. And then
that, in turn, quieted down.

Railroads -- exponential growth with track miles doubling every decade for 6
decades. Not so anymore. Telephone. Electricity. Cars and trucks. They
all have their equivalent of a Moore's Law period, that lasts for a while,
and then it quiets down.

Yes, today we have explosive growth in some areas of technology. But we
don't in most of them. It's been like that for 200 years. That's why I say
that change has been (very roughly) constant since the Industrial


-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of M T
Sent: Wednesday, May 03, 2006 4:32 AM
Subject: RE: Anti-singularity spam.

Bob, you said:

> "Do you think that progress will stop just for this generation?"
> Certainly not. However, I don't think progress is exponential
> (Kurweil's Law of Accelerating Returns, for example) since it never
> has been. IMO, the rate of technological change in the West has been
> roughly constant since the Industrial Revolution.

So, you say that progress has never been exponential.
Dani Eder mentioned the GDP and manufacturing productivity as an indication.
Even Moore's law has been going strong (or close enough).
There are many irefutable examples in Kurzweil's TSIN about exponential
trends from the past to the present.
OK, so noone can predict the future.
But you are incapable of evaluating the past.

You also said:

> To respond to your earlier email, you said, "If only the general
> populace understood how close we were and the potential of these
> technologies. If only Bob. And you can define "close" as anything you
> like. Even a couple of centuries is close, though I see it as a
> couple of decades until the full bloom of the aforementioned
> technologies."
> If you define "close" as a couple of centuries, then I'm right with
> you.
> However, I'm pessimistic about seeing the full bloom of AGI, nanotech,
> and so on in just 20 years.

Again you are sidestepping my main point. Which is that you are assuming
things about the perceptions of the general population.
Specifically, you said that the majority of the population percieves
nanotech and renewable energy(pressumably other techs as well) as current
technologies and so they think we are making much more progress than we are.

Your definition of "the majority of the population"
must be really skewed.
Out of personal observation, the majority of the population leads a simple
life. Nanotech (in the sense of a MNfactory) is sci-fi for them, along with
AGI, moon bases and flying cars.
You are talking about a small part of the population that thrives on sci-fi
and enjoys future-hypes (your imediate social circle, maybe?).

IMO you haven't demonstrated any ability to logically evaluate data and you
haven't presented any sources to compensate.
You've written a book though


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