X-Message-Number: 5279 Date: Mon, 27 Nov 1995 19:03:27 -0800 From: John K Clark <> Subject: SCI.CRYONICS The Singularity is just a horizon -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- In #5266 (Thomas Donaldson) On Sun, 26 Nov 1995 Wrote: >(as anyone with a hint of maths knows already) exponential >functions DO NOT HAVE SINGULARITIES. [...] Certainly >"exponential" can be very fast. But there will be no >Singularity. As someone with a hint of math, I know that what you say is true, if a bit pedantic. I didn't think the sophisticated readers of Cryonet needed the standard caveat that usually accompanies the first use of the word, but apparently you do. I was using the term in relation to human affairs, not as I would in a mathematical proof, but yes, strictly speaking you are correct. The rate of change will be very fast but not infinitely fast and it will not all happen at one exact point. Because of this, some prefer the term "horizon", a slightly fuzzy area (not a point) beyond which we can't see. Undoubtedly there will be huge differences in the world a minute, an hour, a day, a year, and a million years after the horizon (or singularity) but I haven't a clue about what those differences might be, neither does anybody else. In spite of this I still like the term "singularity" better than "horizon", it's in more common usage and it does a good job conveying the flavor of what will come. And one more thing, for the record, in general, when I use mathematical terms in discussing human beings it should not always be taken literally, for example, when I say that somebody's post is going off on a tangent, I do NOT mean that it is moving on a line that touches the curve of the previous argument at only one point. I just mean it has little to do with what we were talking about before. >for several hundred years now we have been advancing >exponentially. Exponential yes, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's fast. In the early stages the rate of change of an exponential process can be quite small, at least compared to what will come later. As for history, I don't think the study of that will help us much, because what is going to happen will be unprecedented and unique. >I personally will say that this notion of a Singularity >stinks of the Christian idea of the Second Coming, after >which the virtuous will all be translated to Heaven There's no point in me denying it, this topic has semi religious overtones that some find unpleasant. As a militant atheist I can sympathize, but I think we should follow an argument to where the logic leads us, and not just go where we want to go. The laws of nature are what they are, and they don't care if we like them or not. John K Clark -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- Version: 2.6.i iQCzAgUBMLp4zX03wfSpid95AQGOJgTuPsF4waQyUUuVIiGn33HauWTysdR5xN7T 1Aij2a6iShYY5G8ZcZzhVtw3wF8aR2auB4fcro8qP2FdO7YNPijuSsf6LF1bcfym kcBij6lsI2Kyu0uTHHEWvrgEzVlcCCOtJCo87oIPl5BYZl7B4spFDjJb/CNHbyMB tG1th+Q3md62ygDXgMDyt3EEDUUCwhsY/IdD/RTFL23+ssxFgBA= =qXUP -----END PGP SIGNATURE----- Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=5279