Tech­nolog­i­cal Forecasting

TagLast edit: 26 Sep 2020 0:05 UTC by Swimmer963

Technological forecasting means making predictions about future technological advances.

One approach is extrapolating from past data. Moore’s Law, which says that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit doubles every two years, is the classic example. Bela Nagy’s performance curve database, perhaps the most systematic attempt at such extrapolation, has found similar trends in many technologies. Ray Kurzweil is a well-known advocate of exponential technological growth models. On the other hand, an exponential curve is indistinguishable from the early stages of a logistic curve that eventually approaches a ceiling.

Another approach is expert elicitation, such as in the survey taken at the Global Catastrophic Risk Conference, and a survey of artificial general intelligence researchers on AGI timelines.

One could create probabilistic models more complicated than a simple trend extrapolation. Anders Sandberg has done calculations on timelines for whole brain emulation, based on an analysis of prerequisite technologies. The Uncertain Future is a web application (developed by the Machine Intelligence Research Institute and currently in beta) that works with probability distributions provided by the user to calculate the probability of a disruption to “business as usual”, which could come in the form of either a global disaster or the invention of artificial general intelligence.

An important danger in predicting the future is that one might tell complex stories with many details, any of which could fail and invalidate the prediction. Models like that used in The Uncertain Future attempt to avoid this problem by considering outcomes that could come about in multiple ways, and assigning some probability to many different scenarios.

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See also

How to write good AI fore­cast­ing ques­tions + Ques­tion Database (Fore­cast­ing in­fras­truc­ture, part 3)

3 Sep 2019 14:50 UTC
29 points
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Long-Term Tech­nolog­i­cal Forecasting

lukeprog11 Jan 2012 4:13 UTC
34 points
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Gen­eral-pur­pose fore­cast­ing and the as­so­ci­ated community

VipulNaik26 Jun 2014 2:49 UTC
6 points
0 comments8 min readLW link

Fu­tur­ism’s Track Record

lukeprog29 Jan 2014 20:27 UTC
18 points
17 comments1 min readLW link

Fu­tures stud­ies: the field and the as­so­ci­ated community

VipulNaik2 Jul 2014 23:47 UTC
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2 comments5 min readLW link

Launch­ing the Fore­cast­ing AI Progress Tournament

Tamay7 Dec 2020 14:08 UTC
18 points
0 comments1 min readLW link

Birds, Brains, Planes, and AI: Against Ap­peals to the Com­plex­ity/​Mys­te­ri­ous­ness/​Effi­ciency of the Brain

Daniel Kokotajlo18 Jan 2021 12:08 UTC
166 points
74 comments14 min readLW link

A prior for tech­nolog­i­cal discontinuities

NunoSempere13 Oct 2020 16:51 UTC
50 points
17 comments6 min readLW link
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