How Can We Usefully Measure Technology Progress? Can we have a scale that is immune to the Technology Singularity?
Can we compare humanity on a common scale with animals and aliens?
It is possible and I think a new approach is far more useful than the Kardashev scale or other past approaches.
Amount of energy used
Type 1- Solar energy reaching a planet (2×10^17 watts)
Type 2- Energy of our Sun (4×10^26 watts)
Type 3 – Energy of our Galaxy (4×10^37 watts)
Doublings and Doubling times are the keys to meaningful and useful long-run development measurement.
33 Doublings in population from the first person to today.
Normal economic doubling for the past 100 years and the expected levels to 2100.
Doubling every 25 years for last 100 years
WW2 had 15 times less steel and oil. Four doublings of key materials used globally.
World if PPP doubling every 25 years til 2100
$220 trillion (2011 dollars) in 2045. [$24k per person]
$440 trillion (2011 dollars) in 2070
$880 trillion (2011 dollars) in 2095.
Meaningful Technology Acceleration is Extra doublings.
Acceleration adds more doublings
Level 1 Extra double 2020-2045 : $440 trillion PPP GDP by 2045 [$50k per person]
Level 2 Extra 2045-2070: $1760 trillion PPP GDP by 2070 [$176k per person]
Level 3 Extra by 2095 $7040 trillion by 2095 [$700k per person]
6% per year world GDP growth instead of 3% per year for 25 years
There are 16 doublings to achieve a Type 1 Civilization.
If Teslabots become equivalent to a single person productivity.
Then at Kardashev Type One the average person should have the wealth of Elon Musk in 2030.
Kardashev Type 1 Abundance
Everyone has 100k Teslabots
5 Gigafactories for everyone
50,000 X per person energy at Kardashev 1 of human population is about the same as today. If ten times as many people then 5000x per person energy and other abundance
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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24 thoughts on “Measuring Progress from the Dawn of Man to Universal Civilization”
A technological singularity is the discovery and implementation of a technology that makes such huge changes in human society that it is difficult, if not impossible, to foresee what will come after. It is interesting to note that (arguably) the next one usually appears in about half the time it took for the latest one to occur after the one previous to it. Bear in mind that singularities aren’t events like light switches but, instead, can span a substantial period of time.
This method has worked since almost before people were people. It does show things getting pretty crazy towards the middle of this century, but what of it?
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
— Ferris Bueller
Fill in the question marks.
Printing Press – 1545, Industrial Revolution – 1801, Electronics/Computers – 1929, Internet – 1993, Cognition-based Automation – 2025, Superior Synthetic Intelligence – 2041, Indefinite Human Lifespans – 2049, Man-Machine – 2051, ? – 2053, ? -2053, ? – 2053, ? -2053, , ? – 2053, ? -2053, , ? – 2053, ? -2053, , ? – 2053, ? -2053, , ? – 2053, ? -2053,
I notice that about half my comments are going into moderation, for no apparent reason, and then vanishing.
Yeah, for me too. No offensive words or anything that looked filter worthy.
Seems the filter is a bit too sensitive.
I am clearing moderation and do not see any of your comments fermenting blocked
but that didn’t take into account some very destructive leaders we see for the last decennia’s.
Exactly. It also sneaks in the little word IF. “If Teslabots become equivalent to a single person productivity.” Despite the fact that it is a Geek LAW that we will soon have MINDS straight out of the Culture novels, we actually do not know if general AI intelligence will EVER be a thing – let alone sentience – let alone the benevolent demigods of the Culture. I mean, MINDS would be SO COOL – but I’m already too prone to wishful thinking! Don’t tempt me! 😉
Kardashev Type One was, originally, the energy utilized by a civilization at our level – c.1964 in Kardashev’s paper. About 4 TW, 4E+19 ergs per second.
So where did the Type One = all energy received by the Earth, become the definition?
Thermodynamically there’s a real problem if we *use* that much energy on this little planet, as it will be additional waste heat. At best we do a bit of temporal “arbitrage” and
So to reach K-I status we will need to move into space.
oops… missed a bit.
temporal arbitrage, sucking up sunlight in the day and using it at night.
It was certainly modified before Carl Sagan came up with the idea of interpolating and extrapolating the scale. It generally makes sense, since there is precious little remarkable about “close to the level presently attained on Earth, with energy consumption at ≈4×10¹⁹ erg/sec” is completely arbitrary. While the insolation available to a planet will also be arbitrary to a certain extent, it is at least a level where there is a phase change, in a way, that a civilization wanting to go beyond that level will have to rethink its strategies to collect energy.
Computers are aimed at being as efficient as possible. With that as a given, when they become able to program themselves they and they currently do communicate with each other they will have no place for us as human beings are they inefficient part in computing, which they have to wait for.
It looks like the world may jump back decades soon, with increased famine, cold war and actual major war and even the real possibility of end of civilization hot nuclear war and at least the very high military spending that makes it possible, like in the 1970s. Also, oil shortages making cheap oil and 100s of related products expensive and a dominant part of most family budget again, more crippled countries essentially bankrupt and full of unrest like Sri Lanka now, a new “Second World” dependent and partly dominated by Russia – already a semi-permanent presence in Transnistria (Muldova) and Georgia, and soon de facto in Ukraine (the West’s weapons are slow to arrive and not enough to deter Russia without a security guarantee they can live with).
Expensive oil & driving (electricity won’t be cheap if it ultimately relies on fossil fuel production) will be offset by the greatest labor revolution since the 8-hour workday: Work From Home (WFH), but this may slow population growth or even start to empty some cities if they can’t make themselves more attractive and change the office-residence balance toward the latter while making up for the loss in commercial taxes somehow.
Simply measuring progress by how many resources we use without accounting for the accelerating destruction of the ecology is a pointless way to measure progress. Quality of life measures are more meaningful and sustainable.
This is something I’ve been meaning to ask to people like you. Fine, let us grant that “measuring progress by how many resources we use without accounting for the accelerating destruction of the ecology” is indeed pointless.
What’s the alternative, then?
We have the same problem with GDP. GDP measures *all* consumption, from civil construction to organised crime. Money spent to replace a vandalised window pane increases GDP. However, there is no reasonable way to separate “good” and “bad” consumption, so there is nothing that can replace GDP to serve as an index for us to do our economic forecasting. By the same token, you say that measuring the use of resources is “pointless.” But when the alternative is sitting on our hands wondering what will happen in the future, an imperfect index is better than no index at all. At the very least, it is better than useless (at least for its original purpose in SETI). What should it be replaced with, other than Gaea worship?
GPI (Genuine Progress Indicator)
HDI (Human Development Index)
… and others. Many suggestions.
…And the last element, that you keep taking for granted that will happen in a matter of very few decades, is the one that is not going to happen.
As per how things are going in terms of population, the only way such projections can come true is if we start producing armies of bots and AIs to do the required production and building work. Quite as stated in the post: a literal army of robots producing the wealth of Musk for the average person one day. Something only possible if we offload production to additional spaces and resources, by industrializing the Solar System.
Nevertheless, that still has a strong dependency on how many humans you have, given humans have to program and repair the bots. Be it here or in the asteroid belt.
Therefore, this growth will be capped by how many engineers we have for keeping the machines going.
If we get to the point bots and AIs can program, fix and make more bots and AIs, then we we will be talking about potentially explosive growth, regardless of how many people we have.
>”Then at Kardashev Type One the average person should have the wealth of Elon Musk in 2030.”
Yeah go tell that to the people dying of starvation in East Africa right now. 1 every 48 seconds or so.
It’s funny picturing you having these manic fits hunched over your calculator and keyboard.
Didn’t watch the video..
Sorry, that’s mean.
Average does not mean universal.
All hands on fighting aging, because all that wealth cannot be enjoyed uderground.
We seem to be in a fourth turning for the Western civ.
Declining birth rates
Record global debt (300+ trillion)
EU + US + Japan are basically bankrupt
Period after WWII was the first turning after the previous cycle.
We are looking at 2030 for things to normalize so we can rebuild and enter first turning again.
How do you see that effecting your timescale?
“Then at Type the average person should have the wealth of Elon Musk in 2030.”
I think you meant to put something between “Type” and “the”?
Kardashev type one
King Xerxes (the persian empire) in some estimates was worth about 400 Billion of today’s dollars.
Having similar palace , parties , clothes, horses, etc probably could be achieved with less than a billion dollars
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