It is always important to think about what we can and can't use models and theory to do. I work part time at the Institute for Futures Studies in Stockholm. There we are using models to predict social change. When you have such ambitious goals it is important to be realistic. It's important not to exaggerate what we can hope to achieve.
This is why when I read on Olle Häggström's blog about the so called "Intelligence Explosion" I thought it might be useful to write something about futurology. The Intelligence Explosion is basically a set of arguments about why machines will one day be cleverer than us and what will happen once they are. You can read an intro here.
So I wrote a short rhetorical piece on Olle's blog about: Why "intelligence explosion" and many other futurist arguments are nonsense. Olle wrote a reply and forced me to clarify a few things and I think the result is quite nice discussion.
I still think that Intelligence Explosion is nonsense, although fun nonsense. We should be careful what we say about the future. As Paul Gascoigne (and apparently Tony Blair too) once said “I never predict anything, and I never will”.
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