The Case for Optimism?
Factory of Mirrors

Well, this indeed sounds like techno-optimism… Although you moderate that with the argument that this technological force would be backed by mostly-well-meaning people. (so this isn’t the technology alone, people are the real force driving the change, good or bad…)

One point : not all technological changes you mention evolve at an exponential rate. AI — software — does change at an exponential rate. It costs nearly nothing for a new player to join the game. Non-software technologies evolve on a much slower rate : robotics, rockets, and even genomics…these require much more investment before anything can be done!

So not all changes happen at the same rate. I do believe we’ll have lots of weak-AI improvements in next decade, but no strong-AI (self-conscious computers) before at least 2035 (a date from Facebook AI researcher Yann LeCun, I personnally would believe we’d have to wait even more…)

And this is only looking at the technology once again, a lot in technology adoption depends on regulation. For example, self-driving cars, or rockets, can’t be launched easily if regulators don’t allow this.

I do share part of your optimism, but I think you greatly underestimate the ‘people’ factor, and that politics play an important role into this (even though I also cynically think one currently has greater “political” power with the way one spend his money, rather than which candidate you vote for…)

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