Originally Posted by CycoMoto
Probability of a monkey wrench in the gears of technological growth is infinitely greater than the possibility of continued exponential progress.
We live in a physical world. There is a limit to how fast new stuff can be made and information converted to the foundation for newer stuff -- but that assumes continued growth. Not a likely scenario.
Kurzweil is an interesting guy, that's for sure. I've been following this line of reasoning for 20 years or so (since college) and I think there's a lot to it. I'm personally hoping I get to see a lot more advancement!
Re: monkey wrench changes being "infinitely greater" than continued expansion. First, there's no such thing as "infinitely greater", and second if the odds were so high then why hasn't that happened yet? Your statement should have been just as true 1, 10, 100 years ago as it is now, yet we've seen accelerated change year after year.
Re: physical limits. That's another interesting one too. I look at Moore's law a lot (number of transistors over size at same cost doubles every 18 months) and every time someone has predicted the "end of moore's law" some new technology has come along to keep the pace going pretty much just as expected.
But on the flip side, human life expectancy hasn't continued to increase, and in the last few years has actually started to decline a bit. So maybe there is a knee in the curve.
And there's always the counter argument for crazies -- our power to change the world keeps increasing, but once it hits the point where any single person has the power to wipe out all life on the planet, it's pretty much game over.
Regardless, the next few decades should be really, really interesting. My (safe) prediction: watch for biotech changing the way we live as much or more than information has in the last 20 years. We've already started building living organisms from scratch - how cool is that?!