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April 05, 2010

Technology Acceleration Forecasts - More than Changes for the Individual

8th European conference on Computing And Philosophy — ECAP 2010 will be looking at the Singularity and Technology Acceleration

* Claims about and evidence to acceleration
* The nature of an intelligence explosion and its possible outcomes
* The nature of the Technological Singularity and its outcome
* Safe and unsafe artificial general intelligence and preventative measures
* Technological forecasts of computing phenomena and their projected impact
* Critical analysis of past and future technological forecasts
* Beyond the ‘event horizon’ of the Technological Singularity
* The prospects of transhuman breakthroughs and likely timeframes

I will make some more technology forecasts for breakthroughs, timeframes, impacts and outcomes.

The Transhuman FAQ focuses mostly on the individual transhuman and posthuman

Transhuman is a relatively undefined intermediate between human and posthuman.

Posthuman are possible future beings whose basic capacities so radically exceed those of present humans as to be no longer unambiguously human by our current (year 2000) standards. Posthumans could be completely synthetic artificial intelligences, or they could be enhanced uploads [see “What is uploading?” ], or they could be the result of making many smaller but cumulatively profound augmentations to a biological human.



The main technologies mentioned in the Transhuman FAQ are artificial intelligence, superintelligence, virtual reality, molecular nanotechnology, cryonics, biotechnology, genetic engineering, stem cells and cloning. The main societal capabilities mentioned are large scale colonization of space and life extension. The 100 teraflop Blue Gene IBM supercomputer is also mentioned. The full utilization of a 100 teraflop supercomputer for the purposes of synthesizing intelligence is lagging the development of that supercomputer by five years or more.

There is a lag between when a technological capability comes into existence and when applications are developed based upon it and when developments are deployed.

I predict nuclear fusion propulsion for spaceplanes and rockets will be realized in 2020-2035. A nuclear powered spaceplane will be developed that has an ISP that exceeds 1500 and will enable access to low earth orbit for $100/kg or less.

Skylon is another possible space plane candidate for 2020-2030.

Superconductors or other new technology will enable shielding from the thermal effects of re-entry, which will enable re-usable spaceplanes to be low maintenance. Low maintenance is critical to low cost operations.

Low cost, safe, high volume access to space is critical for enabling space colonization.










Humanity has been increasing power generation at the pace of about 50% more power every 15 years since 1900. At this pace it would be about 2220 before humanity reached Kardashev level one (10*17 watts of power generated). The current international energy agency forecasts are for the rate of increase in power generation to slowdown.

Various breakthroughs with nuclear fusion (IEC Fusion, Dense Plasma Focus fusion, FRC fusion, magnetized target fusion) will lower the cost of energy and enable faster economic growth and increase the speed of the buildout of power generation. The pace of growth will at least triple and bring the achievement of kardashev level one from 210 years in the future to 70 years or less.

For superintelligence, I predict that better hardware will lead the way and be necessary for AGI. Hardware will massively exceed the computing capabilities of the brain and the sensing capabilities of the human first so that it will be easier to program human equivalent and greater than human intelligence.

Massively scale quantum computers
Massively scaled memristor systems (memristors have been found to be similar to the synapse)
there are 10 billion neurons and 100 trillion synapses in the human brain

I predict it will be necessary to exceed human neuron and synapse physical performance by 10 to one billion times and to exceed the sensory input levels as well before the first truly human equivalent artificial general intelligence is made. The lag will be 5-30 years after the basic level of human level hardware is available for AGI researchers to use for development.

I made some predictions and projections for 2010-2020.

Growing capabilities in narrow (relative to full MNT very constrained but powerful in their own right) atomically precise nanotechnology and more new types emerging
* DNA nanotechnology
* carbon nanotubes
* graphene
* self assembly

A slow takeoff scenario as a series of nanotechnology areas ramp up over the course of years.

A safe way to utilize the mTor pathway to improve health and extend lifespan (the way Rapamycin has been found to work on mice) will be developed.

Significant progress will be made against cancer and heart disease from 2010-2020. Tissue engineering and stem cells for replacing organs, rejuvenating immune systems, providing young/refreshed blood cells and other cells that are replaceable.

Combined the advances will enable 10-20 years of life extension will be enabled even before the major SENS project objectives are implemented.
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