Re: poly: Modeling Economic Singularities

From: Hal Finney <>
Date: Thu Apr 30 1998 - 13:57:44 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.

This may not be a reasonable measure. Some goods might just be beginning
to be available at T1, like active nanotech clothes or building materials.
These would have an extremely high price at that time. But ten years
later they may be relatively common.

Measuring by prices prevailing at time T1, there may appear to be a huge
increase in the value of goods. But if we measured by prices prevailing
at T2, the increase would be much more modest.

A common PC today has the computing power of a machine worth millions
of dollars back in the early years of computing, perhaps $10 million in
today's dollars. If 20 million PCs have been sold and we counted them as
worth $10 million apiece then that would be $200 trillion in computers,
but U.S. GNP in 1950 was somewhere around $2 trillion in today's dollars.

So by this reasoning the PC industry alone has produced 100 times more
value than the entire U.S. economy did in 1950. That is probably not
a reasonable conclusion.

Received on Thu Apr 30 21:10:38 1998

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