Based on audience response to the ideas presented at today's Singularity Summit, here are some general observations:
- Humans are, by nature, conservative. In an auditorium filled with people attending an event focused on techno-change -- and in a university set in the middle of Silicon Valley, no less -- still the largest applause was reserved for those with the most reactionary views.
- We fear change. That's normal and even healthy. In fact, it's a survival mechanism, hard-wired in through thousands of generations of natural selection. When taken to excess, obviously, it can be paralyzing. Moreover, those who challenge the human tendency toward caution are those who most often make the greatest discoveries (or die trying).
- Progress -- technological and social -- continues to occur and eventually is accepted by nearly everyone. I call this phenomenon "Unconscious Confirmation." It's like the wonderful quote from John Lennon, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." Seemingly unacceptable change is what happens while we're busy doing other things.
- Truly disruptive global change on a rapid timescale is something we have never experienced. We are thus unprepared for it, and it could even be argued that we are incapable of adequately preparing. I hope that's not true.