Google Earth

While reading Robin Hanson’s Dreams of Autarky, I came across this strangely prescient passage.

Visions of a local singularity, in contrast, imagine that sudden technological advances in one small group essentially allow that group to suddenly grow big enough to take over everything. A small country or large corporation would suddenly and unexpectedly make dramatic advances in some area, advances which would substantially improve their ability to make more advances in this area. If this process continued many times, and if it happened quickly and at-first-quietly enough, such a group might grow strong enough to essentially take over everything before anyone else could stop them.

In other news,

There are almost three billion mobile phones worldwide, and Schmidt expects a billion more in the next four years. If the phones use Google software to sell advertising, Schmidt thinks that over time it is “mathematically possible for Google to become a one-hundred-billion-dollar corporation.” Two vital markets are television, which is “easily attainable,” and mobile phones, which are “more personable” and more “targetable” than most advertising. To achieve this goal, Google would need to claim ten per cent of all global advertising, which now amounts to just under a trillion dollars.

Oh, they’ll get ten percent alright. Ten percent of Earth!