[NTLK] OT: A Future That is a Singularity - Evolution

Ryan newtontalk at me.com
Wed Mar 31 19:24:05 EDT 2010

I like the idea of a singularity in concept, not too sure about reality though.

What I want to mention is that, so many predictions about the future fail because it is literally impossible to account for all known and 'unkown' variables.  It's those variables, like a natural catastrophe as in an earthquake that destroys economies... sets off a whole host of other things... that causes predictions to fail.

And even if one believes in determinism, where everything has a purpose in so far as one thing causes another thing which causes another thing... we don't have the power to model this in its entirety and make predictions.  Example.  Let's rewind back just 2 hours before JFK was murdered.  Let's say we had a program that, we could plug in things where the program would spit out predictions.  In this case = JFK killed Friday, November 22, 1963.  What would happen in the universe?

It would ultimately have to take into account so many things down to the atom to be accurate, because there are so many variables at play, and all those things are really interconnected.  It's mind-boggling to think about these connections.  We just don't have the power, the tools, to model our world in its entirety.

Yet, we can still do a pretty good job with focused things, like what happens if we recess an economy in some part of the world.  Based on sound statistical data, that region would show increased crime rates, a drop in employment rates, increased inflation, and so forth.  While this is focused, it still doesn't answer/predict the much larger, more abstract, broad scale stuff.  Example: what will be the dominating computer platform amongst consumers in 2032?  As much as we try to answer it, we'll fail because it's too hard a question.  It depends on so many variables, like people's acceptance of new technology, innovation/ideas from other companies, the rate of technological change, etc.

That's why predictions from Kurzweil in 2005 about computers being invisible and integrated into our bodies by 2010 fail to become true.  He just based his prediction on the rate of technological evolution and nothing else.  There are far more variables at play that must be considered in this context, like people's ability to change with technological change: their acceptance, openness to adoption...

That's one example.

Thank you,


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