The current economic crisis as failed singularity event

Posted on | October 12, 2008

There are lots of novels where the setting is the ordinary humans picking up the pieces after a sudden Singularity event (sometimes called a “Transcendence Event” or “Hard Take-Off”).

One of the premises of these novels is that some super-intelligence in the world is figuring something out, something that (to it) is so compelling that it must be followed to its conclusion. One of the premises of the better mean and nasty variants of this is that “consciousness” and “self introspection” as we humans do it need not be at all similar to what the cybernetic super-intelligence is doing, and we human beings may not understand what’s actually going on inside its systemic thought proceses: the rules under which it operates are more complex than we human beings can get our heads around.

One of the other premises is that, to the survivors, this event is disastrous. That much thinking, that much processing, that much signalling and messaging to do the algorithms the super-intelligence uses, requires huge amounts of resources. Electricity, infrastructure, maintenance. When the event is over, a significant portion of the world’s GDP vanishes into thin air.

Maybe this is what that looks like. The more I look at it, the more it looks to me like the current economic crisis is a failed singularity event. The niche in which this differently-conscious super-intelligence attempted to emerge was just not right (which is something even our DCSI could not predict), and so it collapsed, taking $62 trillion dollars with it.

The next time, we might not be so lucky.


One Response to “The current economic crisis as failed singularity event”

  1. Mark Atwood
    October 12th, 2008 @ 11:19 pm

    I have trouble taking the article seriously, because it starts with trying to snow the reader with the phrase “deriving the dependence structures of portfolio credit derivatives” and then sayings its all weird math stuff that we-ordinary-people will never understand.

    It’s stock anti-intellectualism. Read it a thousand times. It’s no different than when the scary science “too complicated for ordinary people” is advanced medicine, life extention tech, germ line reengineering, or nanotech.

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