Thirty Years To Go

Only 10863 days (approximately) until the Singularity.

I’ve calculated a modest estimate, given humans’ tendency to, in Ray Kurzweil’s words, overestimate the amount of change in the short-term, and underestimate the amount of change in the long-term.

(Remember, Arthur C Clarke had us living on the moon and manning explorations to Jupiter in the year, famously, 2001.)

I’ve calculated to the date December 31, 2045. Vinge, who popularised the term “Singularity,” predicts some time before 2030. A few years ago, some scientists published a study of different philosophers’ & scientists’ estimated dates for AI / the Singularity, and came up with a median value of the year 2040.

Kurzweil, who has the best record on predictions as far as I can tell, predicts somewhere around 2045. This is past Vinge’s and the median date’s predictions, but I went, conservatively, with him, giving it until the end of 2045.

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10863 days works out to be about 30 years. I’d be 78 then, not an unreasonable hope. The current Social Security Life Expectancy Calculator has, for an American non-smoking male born in 1968, a current life expectancy of 82-86 years old. Abaris online calculates a 75% chance I’ll live to be older than 82.

Kurzweil points out that each year to year-and-a-half, human lifespan is increasing, so the closer you get to an age like that, the faster the probable rate of you making it speeds up. So if 78 seems doable now, it should only get more and more doable each year you stay alive, above and beyond the simple linear probability.

All this is predicated, of course, on the hope that 1) I don’t keel over from a heart attack or get hit by a bus some time soon and 2) some Islamist or North Korean nutjob doesn’t nuke us back into the Stone Age or worse before then, either setting the clock of progress back or wiping out humanity all together. We’ll see.