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Posted Jun 19, 2008 11:17 UTC (Thu) by Hanno (guest, #41730)
In reply to: Kurzweil by corbet
Parent article: The Kernel Hacker's Bookshelf: Ultimate Physical Limits of Computation

You missed the book suggestion

I read it and found it interesting and tiring.

the exponential growth we are seeing now

...would only be "exponential" if it continued. Previously in history, humanity experienced a short period of exponential growth in steam, plastics, atomic power. Where is that exponential innovation now?

Painting this as a trend for two billion years is the result of cherrypicking datapoints.

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Posted Jun 21, 2008 0:25 UTC (Sat) by wahern (subscriber, #37304) [Link]

I haven't read the book, but it seems to me that the point is that certain advancements in
computation are universal, and previous industries can be considered as serial advancements in
(or facilitators of) general computational capabilities. So it doesn't matter that
advancements in steam engines were finite; rather that subsequent advancements made possible
by steam engines, no matter the material industry, had the effect of in kind furthering
[exponential] growth in computational capabilities in general.

Theoretical computational advancement can continually progress as long as materials science,
no matter how disjoint, continually provides sufficient capabilities for the realization of
the next rung on the theoretical ladder.

The overall argument is not particularly persuasive, I agree, but not obviously fallacious.

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