By Gary Scott
cemetery on our farm has one headstone for a woman, whom
call Ida, who lived to be 115. Ida may have been the oldest
America for all I know, at least in the top ten…right
here at our
was born in 1794 and died in 1909. Modern medicine
did not keep her alive. No drugs, no bypasses, no heart-lung
been quite adaptive"a survivor.
when visiting this grave, a neighbor commented, "she
some changes in her lifetime." Wrong. Ida’s
115 years did not include anywhere as much change as we have
all seen in the last 60 years. Not even close! Change
has sped up in the last 50 years.
trends and adapting is a key to wealth, happiness and good
living. Yet as change increases, so too does
guess what? Change is not going to slow down. Ever
faster growth is a feature in the bell shaped curve that rules
the order of this universe in which we live.
I recommend that you read Miller’s entire
article on Singularity at
fast will change accelerate? James D. Miller, assistant
professor of Economics at Smith College a highly selective
private liberal arts college for women located in Massachusetts
gave us a clue
when he wrote about "The Singularity Is Near" a thesis
by Ray Kurzweil that states humanity is inexorably headed towards
the Singularity. His
singularity is a future period in which technological progress
becomes so rapid that it radically transforms humankind.
To picture the singularity imagine computers trillions of times
smarter than Newton, Einstein and Edison inventing new technologies
while continually enhancing their own abilities."
says the Singularity will occur around 2045 so if this is
correct and if we live to be 100, we’ll see
I have trouble reading all the news now.
points out that we as investors can use markets to spot the
emerging trends and singularity. He wrote:
"Markets will be the best means of determining if the
Singularity is in fact near. For example, Kurzweil writes that
by the late 2020s we'll have "full-immersion virtual-reality
environments incorporating all of the senses" resulting
in there being "no reason to
utilize real offices.
"Real estate will become virtual." Such
virtual reality would crash housing values in places such
San Francisco and Boston. With virtual reality eliminating
the need to live close to work, Americans would stop paying
a huge premium to live near big cities. And if this virtual
reality prediction comes true, housing prices won't suddenly
crash in the late 2020s but rather will start to decline when
many people begin to suspect that all the important real estate
will soon be virtual."
not sound good for the real estate market but fortunately
Miller also shows where to invest if we decide to bail out
of our property deals before computers make land obsolete. He
identifies three technologies that will bring about the singularity:
computers, genetics and nanotechnology.
"Moore's Law, formulated in 1965, states that "the
number of transistors on a chip doubles about every two years." This
doubling exponentially increases computer speeds while exponentially
decreasing (quality adjusted) computer costs. For the next
15 to 20 years current technology will continue Moore's Law.
After this period other technologies such as nanotube circuitry,
optical computing, quantum computing and three-dimensional
chip architecture can be employed to further augment computing
power. There are so many possible means of expanding computing
power that only a few have to be proved practical for the exponential
growth in computer power to continue until 2045.
ability to scan the brain is growing in a Moore's law-like
exponential manner. Kurzweil argues that by the late
2020s we be able to reverse engineer the brain and use its
secrets to better design computers. The human brain performs
some tasks far better than today's computers but others far
worse. If we can combine the best of the brain and machine
we will have created thinking devices vastly superior to both
today's biological and electronic calculating devices.
has created biological processes that form structures at
nanometer level. Understanding our biological selves, Kurzweil
argues, will also allow humanity to harness nanotechnology.
refers to the building of extremely small machines. Kurzweil
predicts that nanotechnology will improve
artificial intelligence by allowing the construction of smaller,
cheaper, more powerful computers. Furthermore Kurzweil predicts
that nanobots, by the 2020s will travel throughout the human
body, exploring the brain from the inside.
"Nanotechnology, if Kurzweil's predictions come true,
will also insure that most people living today will reach the
2045 singularity. Kurzweil thinks that within 10 to 20 years
biotechnologists will learn how to greatly slow down aging
and eliminate most diseases. In the 2030s, Kurzweil writes,
nanotechnology will "finish the job",
allowing for the redesign of the human body into an almost
good. Miller not only suggest that if we live
to be 100 we’ll see almost unimaginable change, he also
suggests that the change means we will live that long.