Thanks for the thoughtful response!
Regarding not all technologies progressing exponentially—I agree they don’t all literally progress at an exponential rate, i.e. twice as much growth this year as last year, 2x that the following, etc., and that non-software tech does require more investment and generally moves slower (though software is becoming a large and essential component of most technologies these days). However I do think if you zoom out far enough—decades or even centuries for the sake of argument—more headway is made in each block of time than the previous. Some aspect of the law of accelerating returns applies to most technologies, though as you mention AI is the poster child for this and we seem to be at a steeper part of that curve. I also believe (hope) it’s likely that the application of AI to other fields will speed along their development.
I’m not sure we need computers to be conscious as a prerequisite for general AI, or that consciousness is an emergent property of a sufficiently complex system, i.e. it could just be raw computation without any real understanding of what it’s doing (Chinese room argument). But that is a deep rabbit hole to go down. I do tend to agree with you that 2035 sounds premature.
Great point on regulation; I intentionally failed to mention this because I didn’t want to explicitly focus on the Trump administration too much, even if in fact that along with SpaceX was the impetus for the post. It’s probable we will see much less regulation—potentially to a dangerous degree—in the US over the next several years, and this could actually help get these innovations to market faster. I do bring up that in some kind of worst case scenario, well-meaning companies, researchers, etc. could proceed despite regulation to the contrary. In a lot of instances there may even be a moral imperative to do so.
Lastly I’m glad you share part of my tempered, far-from-Kurzweilian optimism, despite our agreement that we are sliding towards, or have already arrived at, a plutocracy (at least tech is where much of the money is and will be going forward). And, of course, out of necessity I’m merely a dilettante in many of these subjects, just trying to articulate the bullish case for the future, if anything to remind myself in the wake of the news!