Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Will Our Robot Overlords Be Friendly? - Reason Magazine

Ronald Bailey writes about the Singularity: Will Our Robot Overlords Be Friendly? - Reason Magazine

Co-founder of Paypal, venture capitalist, and supporter of the Singularity Institute, Peter Thiel began his talk on the economics of the singularity by asking the audience to vote on which of seven scenarios they are most worried about. (See Reason's interview with Thiel here.) The totals below are my estimates from watching the audience as they raised their hands:

A. Singularity happens and robots kill us all, the Skynet scenario, (5 percent)
B. Biotech terrorism using something more virulent than smallpox and Ebola combined (30 percent)
C. Nanotech grey goo escapes and eats up all organic matter (5 percent)
D. Israel and Iran engage thermonuclear war that goes global (25 percent)
E. A one-world totalitarian state arises (10 percent)
F. Runaway global warming (5 percent)
G. The singularity takes too long to happen (30 percent)

"Too long"? How long is that?

...without rapid technological progress, economic growth in already developed countries like the U.S., Western Europe, and Japan is not going be enough to address looming needs. Without fast economic growth producing more wealth, Americans might be driven to saving 40 percent of their incomes and retiring at age 80.

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