Re: Singularitarian demographics

From: Charles D Hixson (
Date: Tue Aug 08 2006 - 16:40:10 MDT

Ricardo Barreira wrote:
> On 8/7/06, Dani Eder <> wrote:
>> Perhaps greater exposure to the high speed of
>> development in computers has something to do with it.
>> In the early 1970's I helped build the world's slowest
>> computer (max speed of 2 Hz), as a teaching tool in
>> high school. It used electromechanical relays to
>> operate. Circa 1930 this would have been the fastest
>> available technology.
>> The 'real' computer we had in the computer lab was
>> an IBM 1620. I don't remember it's speed, but it
>> had 16K of ram in a console the size of a large
>> rolltop desk, and 10 MB hard drive the size of
>> a washing machine.
>> Since my current PC has 50,000x the memory and
>> 12,000x the storage in something like 1/1,000th
>> the volume, it's reasonable to me to extrapolate
>> similar large jumps in the future.
> First of all, I think it's not even a problem of people being able to
> understand the singularity. Right now, I would say the problem is more
> fundamental - people don't even hear about it. I'd say that even most
> computer programmers don't know about it!
> Second, even in the cases that people have heard about it and don't
> understand it, I don't think it's a matter of understanding the
> evolution on computer speed and capacity. I'd say it has more to do
> with the fact that many educated people have a very rough idea of how
> our brain works, and an even rougher idea of what things a computer
> can do and how it does those things. Those two things combined cause
> people not to understand how a computer could simulate/emulate a
> brain.
>> I don't know if the average computer user has
>> as visceral a feel for the improvements that
>> have been happening. To them the change in
>> screen size from 13" to 19" over 10 years might
>> seem like a doubling of screen real estate, and
>> Windows takes as ong to boot up as it did 10
>> years ago, so it doesn't feel like a big change.
> That's not true, Windows XP takes much less time to boot up than
> Windows 95... I think people who have been around for 10 years know
> pretty well that computers evolved both qualitatively and
> quantitatively.
On identical hardware? I'm sorry, but I don't think so. Mind you, I
don't really have any experience of MSWind XP, so I could be wrong, but
I *think* you're noticing faster CPUs and disk drives.

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