poly: Singulatarian in Spite of Myself?

From: Robin Hanson <rhanson@gmu.edu>
Date: Wed Mar 22 2000 - 14:50:38 PST

I've revised a short paper I wrote a year and a half ago, wherein
I basically predict a "singularity" in the next century.


                       COULD IT HAPPEN AGAIN?
           Long-Term Growth As A Sequence of Exponential Modes

                         by Robin Hanson
                 First Version 9/11/98, Revised 3/22/00

The long-term history of world economic growth can be modeled as sequence of
at least three distinct exponential growth modes: hunting, farming, and
industry. Farming substituted for hunting, making for a sharp transition.
The transition to industry was smoother, because industry complemented
farming. Each of the last two modes grew over one hundred times faster than
its predecessor.

Perhaps it is not crazy to wonder if we might see yet another transition to
a faster mode. If modes are comparable, in terms of how much the economy
grows when they dominate and how much faster new modes are, then within the
next century we should expect a dramatic transition to a new growth mode, a
mode where the economic doubling time is measured in weeks, not years.

Robin Hanson rhanson@gmu.edu http://hanson.gmu.edu
Asst. Prof. Economics, George Mason University
MSN 1D3, Carow Hall, Fairfax VA 22030
703-993-2326 FAX: 703-993-2323
Received on Wed Mar 22 14:56:32 2000

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