- According to philosopher Nick Bostrom, interpreted Peter Thiel
- Recurrent Collapse
The ancients saw all of history as a neverending alternation between prosperity and ruin. Only recently have people dared to hope that we might permanently escape misfortune, and it’s still possible to wonder whether the stability we take for granted will last.
Conventional wisdom seems to assume instead that the whole world will converge toward a plateau of development similar to the life of the richest countries today. In this scenario, the future will look a lot like the present.
Given the interconnected geography of the contemporary world and the unprecedented destructive power of modern weaponry, it’s hard not to ask whether a large-scale social disaster could be contained were it to occur. This is what fuels our fears of the third possible scenario: a collapse so devastating that we won’t survive it.
The last of the four possibilities is the hardest one to imagine: accelerating takeoff toward a much better future. The end result of such a breakthrough could take a number of forms, but any one of them would be so different from the present as to defy description.
Whether we achieve the Singularity on a cosmic scale is perhaps less important than whether we seize the unique opportunities we have to do new things in our own working lives. Everything important to us—the universe, the planet, the country, your company, your life, and this very moment—is singular. Our task today is to find singular ways to create the new things that will make the future not just different, but better—to go from 0 to 1. The essential first step is to think for yourself. Only by seeing our world anew, as fresh and strange as it was to the ancients who saw it first, can we both re-create it and preserve it for the future. future.