Re: poly: Modeling Economic Singularities

From: Robin Hanson <>
Date: Thu Apr 30 1998 - 11:56:08 PDT

Peter M. writes:
> Let T1 be the time when sales or commercial use of a nanotech product first
>reach 1 million objects at least 1 cm in diameter.
>Let T2 be the time when the total value of physical goods (measured using
>prices that prevailed at time T1) produced in the wealthiest countries is
>100 times what it was at T2.
> I estimate the probability that T2 - T1 will be less than 1 year at 5%,
>and the probability that it will be less than 10 years at 50%.
> I get the impression that you think they are at least an order of magnitude
>less probable, and given that apparently intelligent people such as Drexler
>seem to think they are more probable than I do, I find your confidence in
>your beliefs a bit odd.

World per capita wealth was roughly constant in history till about 1700, and
since then it has risen by roughly a factor of 30. (Population increased
by roughly a factor of 8.) You're talking a 50% chance of an even larger
jump in 10 years. Since there are other intelligent people who also find
this claim incredible, I want to seem some careful analysis in support
of this view. That fact that I haven't heard of any such analysis, even
though there's been a ton of other sorts of nanotech analyses, suggests to
me that it's mostly wishful thinking. But I'd love to be shown otherwise.

Robin Hanson
RWJF Health Policy Scholar, Sch. of Public Health 510-643-1884
140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 FAX: 510-643-8614
Received on Thu Apr 30 19:06:17 1998

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Tue Mar 07 2006 - 14:45:30 PST