Re: Singularitarian demographics

From: Ricardo Barreira (
Date: Tue Aug 08 2006 - 02:26:44 MDT

On 8/7/06, Dani Eder <> wrote:
> Perhaps greater exposure to the high speed of
> development in computers has something to do with it.
> In the early 1970's I helped build the world's slowest
> computer (max speed of 2 Hz), as a teaching tool in
> high school. It used electromechanical relays to
> operate. Circa 1930 this would have been the fastest
> available technology.
> The 'real' computer we had in the computer lab was
> an IBM 1620. I don't remember it's speed, but it
> had 16K of ram in a console the size of a large
> rolltop desk, and 10 MB hard drive the size of
> a washing machine.
> Since my current PC has 50,000x the memory and
> 12,000x the storage in something like 1/1,000th
> the volume, it's reasonable to me to extrapolate
> similar large jumps in the future.

First of all, I think it's not even a problem of people being able to
understand the singularity. Right now, I would say the problem is more
fundamental - people don't even hear about it. I'd say that even most
computer programmers don't know about it!

Second, even in the cases that people have heard about it and don't
understand it, I don't think it's a matter of understanding the
evolution on computer speed and capacity. I'd say it has more to do
with the fact that many educated people have a very rough idea of how
our brain works, and an even rougher idea of what things a computer
can do and how it does those things. Those two things combined cause
people not to understand how a computer could simulate/emulate a

> I don't know if the average computer user has
> as visceral a feel for the improvements that
> have been happening. To them the change in
> screen size from 13" to 19" over 10 years might
> seem like a doubling of screen real estate, and
> Windows takes as ong to boot up as it did 10
> years ago, so it doesn't feel like a big change.

That's not true, Windows XP takes much less time to boot up than
Windows 95... I think people who have been around for 10 years know
pretty well that computers evolved both qualitatively and

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