Egan’s argument against the Singularity

In his novella “Riding the Crocodile”, which forms the background for his next novel, Incandescence (May 2008), Greg Egan puts forth one very interesting — and plausible — argument against the Singularity:

Historians had always understood that in the long run, technological progress was a horizontal asymptote: once people had more or less everything they wanted that was physically possible, every incremental change would take exponentially longer to achieve, with diminishing returns and ever less reason to bother. The Amalgam would probably spend an eon inching its way closer to the flatline, but this was proof that shifts of circumstance alone could still trigger a modest renaissance or two, without the need for any radical scientific discovery or even a genuinely new technology.

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