Acceleration Novel Thesis

The implications include the merger of biological and nonbiological intelligence, immortal software-based humans, and ultra-high levels of intelligence that expand outward in the universe at the speed of light.You will get trillion just by reading this essay and understanding what it says. (It’s true that authors will do just about anything to keep your attention, but I’m serious about this statement.

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Most technology forecasts ignore altogether this “historical exponential view” of technological progress.

That is why people tend to overestimate what can be achieved in the short term (because we tend to leave out necessary details), but underestimate what can be achieved in the long term (because the exponential growth is ignored).

From the mathematician’s perspective, a primary reason for this is that an exponential curve approximates a straight line when viewed for a brief duration.

So even though the rate of progress in the very recent past (e.g., this past year) is far greater than it was ten years ago (let alone a hundred or a thousand years ago), our memories are nonetheless dominated by our very recent experience.

Although exponential trends did exist a thousand years ago, they were at that very early stage where an exponential trend is so flat that it looks like no trend at all.

So their lack of expectations was largely fulfilled.

However, careful consideration of the pace of technology shows that the rate of progress is not constant, but it is human nature to adapt to the changing pace, so the intuitive view is that the pace will continue at the current rate.

Even for those of us who have been around long enough to experience how the pace increases over time, our unexamined intuition nonetheless provides the impression that progress changes at the rate that we have experienced recently.

Most long range forecasts of technical feasibility in future time periods dramatically underestimate the power of future technology because they are based on what I call the “intuitive linear” view of technological progress rather than the “historical exponential view.” To express this another way, it is not the case that we will experience a hundred years of progress in the twenty-first century; rather we will witness on the order of twenty thousand years of progress (at rate of progress, that is).

This disparity in outlook comes up frequently in a variety of contexts, for example, the discussion of the ethical issues that Bill Joy raised in his controversial WIRED cover story, Why The Future Doesn’t Need Us.


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