Nicolas de Condorcet and the First Intelligence Explosion Hypothesis

  • Mahendra Prasad University of California, Berkeley


The intelligence explosion hypothesis (for example, a technological singularity) is roughly the hypothesis that accelerating knowledge or technological growth radically changes humanity. While 20th-century figures are commonly credited as the first discoverers of the hypothesis, I assert that Nicolas de Condorcet, the 18th-century mathematician, is the earliest to (1) mathematically model an intelligence explosion, and (2) present an accelerating historical worldview, and (3) make intelligence explosion predictions that were restated centuries later. Condorcet provides insights on how ontology and social choice can help resolve value alignment.