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Singularity Update: Has the Singularity been Delayed?

Critics of technological progress, in general, and the Singularity, specifically, have been quick to point out a study that the genome sequencing program has led to little actual medical treatments and cures.

You can read these criticisms here. And a little gloating here on the Discover blog.

A great rebuttal has been posted at Physics and Cake.

Even the critics point out the the speed and power of gene sequencing is no less than amazing.

In terms of reductions in cost and increases in speed, genomic sequencing has accomplished in a decade what took computing has been lurching towards for over half a century.

But, that’s the point. Data collection comes first. The next step–to apply this data to medical cures and treatments–has only started. These medical innovations are just entering the product pipeline and other, more time-consuming processes (medical testing and trials, for instance) will guide development at this point, processes that are governed by bureaucracy and red tape. The FDA, by the way, isn’t expected to have an exponential growth rate.

Another thing to consider: When you consider exponential growth, you expect to see sudden and constant growth. But, that pattern emerges in the long-term. A decade, though it sounds like a long time on the human lifespan scale, is a mere blip compared to the length of human technological progress.

To sum it up, no predictions can be made on when a technological Singularity will arrive, but the power and speed of technology that will generate this transformation is increasing right on schedule.

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