[FoRK] Annihilation from within...

Karl Anderson < kra at monkey.org > on > Wed Dec 6 14:27:35 PST 2006

Jeff Bone <jbone at place.org> writes:

> On Dec 6, 2006, at 12:31 PM, Luis Villa wrote:
>> More relevantly to the point I was trying to make with the picture,
>> despite people having talked about flying cars as being right around
>> the corner for decades*, it isn't happening any time soon.
> Means absolutely nothing.
> Law of accelerating returns.
> All perceptions of expected rates of change based on past experience
> are likely to be increasingly unreliable over the next few years.

Yeah, but you're not saying anything that couldn't have been said for
the last few decades.  Yet the flying car prediction sounds silly
today, why is that?

It is a very safe extrapolation to say that general technological
change will continue to increase exponentially, but when you try and
predict the change in a specific field, it's not so easy.

It's easy to find examples in hindsight.  Read Dick, Clarke, or many
of the other visionary sci-fi writers of the cold war.  They wrote
about things like private or commercial flights to the Moon in the
1990s, where communication back to Earth was done by televising the
image of a typed sheet of paper.  At the time, this was a very
reasonable extrapolation for the rates of technological change in
space, computing, and communication technology.

Now we have Kurzweil plotting graphs of technological change from the
stone age to 2001, and saying that this allows him to predict the rate
of change for computing and communication technology from 2001 to
2100.  He might be right, but this is not as safe an extrapolation as
the more general one.

Karl Anderson      kra at monkey.org      http://monkey.org/~kra/

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