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An "enum" for Python 3
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A look at the PyPy 2.0 release
Posted Dec 10, 2008 21:39 UTC (Wed) by ncm (subscriber, #165)
Posted Dec 10, 2008 22:55 UTC (Wed) by flewellyn (subscriber, #5047)
History has seen many singularities, but none yet worldwide unless you count internet, air travel, telegraph, railroad, agriculture, etc.
Interesting. Can you elaborate on that, please?
Posted Dec 11, 2008 2:51 UTC (Thu) by ncm (subscriber, #165)
Most of my examples above are not so great; probably the global singularities in our past are actually limited to adoption of agriculture and, earlier, language, and the near-extinction event ca. 50K B.P. (maybe a climate-affecting eruption).
As noted elsewhere, a Vinge singularity is just an event after which the world becomes incomprehensible to someone raised before it occurred.
Posted Dec 11, 2008 14:08 UTC (Thu) by lysse (guest, #3190)
Posted Dec 11, 2008 0:03 UTC (Thu) by nix (subscriber, #2304)
Interview: Vernor Vinge
Posted Dec 10, 2008 22:17 UTC (Wed) by brouhaha (guest, #1698)
It's very hard to predict the future with any degree of accuracy, and since the advance of technology is on an exponential curve (e.g. Moore's Law), it is clear that predicting the future is becoming more difficult. From that, it seems obvious (at least since Vinge pointed it out) that there is some point in the future beyond which it is impossible to make sensible predictions, and that point isn't very far away.
What that doesn't tell us is the nature of the singularity itself or the post-singularity world. Naturally we can speculate about it, and anyone that tells you that the singularity will be the result of a specific trend or technology (e.g. nanotechnology) is by definition only speculating.
Posted Dec 11, 2008 9:58 UTC (Thu) by k3ninho (subscriber, #50375)
Posted Dec 11, 2008 15:44 UTC (Thu) by felixfix (subscriber, #242)
Thus it is with social singularities. The social change is so profound that you cannot predict what will happen. No one could have predicted the changes the printing press made in Europe, with growing literacy and democratization of governments. No one could have predicted the changes wrought by electronics / computers / the internet. No one can predict what will happen when computers achieve human equivalent intelligence, and shortly thereafter superhuman intelligence in accord with Moore's law.
Think of it as a phase change. People whose weather experience is limited to temperatures of 30-40C normally and 20C once in a blue moon would imagine 0 to just be more so, possibly uncomfortable. Snow and ice would be utterly foreign to them, unimaginable and unpredictable.
Posted Dec 11, 2008 23:35 UTC (Thu) by nix (subscriber, #2304)
The singularities at the Big Bang and inside black holes are two examples
of singularities in current physical models. (They're not necessarily
*actually* singularities: that's just what the current models say.)
Posted Dec 11, 2008 0:01 UTC (Thu) by nix (subscriber, #2304)
(For a possibility on the nastier end of the predictable scale, see
Stross's _Accelerando_. I'm often amazed when people call that a
pro-Singularity book. If it's pro-Singularity then _1984_ is
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