The “Super Bread Dough” Thought Experiment
Imagine a kind of bread dough, which grows very quickly because it is made from dough containing ’super yeast’. Imagine you are in a locked room from which the only escape is through a window, high up, near the ceiling, but you are not tall enough to reach it. Then, a very small lump of this super bread dough is placed into the room and it starts rising until the room is completely full and you are suffocated. Your only chance of escape is to stand on top of the bread dough while it rises, but you can only reach the window when the dough has risen half way up the room.
Supposing the bread dough doubles in size every second and it takes 5 minutes for the dough to rise and totally fill the room, how much time do you have to escape after you can reach the window?
Of the entire process time (300 seconds), you have only 1 second to escape!
You can only escape from the moment the super bread take up half the room. Only from that moment you could check the conditions of your escape and then act. Unfortunately, given the exponential dynamics of the process, after the next second the super bread will have already occupied the entire room. In fact, the time to get ready for and escape does not depend on how long it takes the whole process.
The human brain was evolved to abstract the hierarchical environment of our planet perfectly, but its resources for intuiting events related to exponential dynamic processes are very poor. Our intuition about the future is that it’s linear, not exponential. If you ever wondered, why do I have a brain? It’s really to predict the future, so we could predict the consequences of our actions and inactions. That proved to be useful for survival and became hardwired in our brains. Those predictors of the future are linear, and they work very well for the kinds of situations we encountered when our brains evolved 150,000 years ago .
Our old stranger
For about 150,000 years, we were so delighted with the feeling and power our brain gave us that we assumed that it was the purpose of evolution itself. Today, we know that the human brain is an imperfect machine that has been enhanced to fulfill the mission of adapting to the predominantly hierarchical reality of this planet. Far from this reality, its limited power to encode, store, and process information is increasingly evident.
Revisiting the “Super Bread Dough” thought experiment
Now, consider the following:
(1) Technology that grows exponentially is represented by the bread dough.
(2) Human beings improve themselves and also grow using technology but unfortunately it can kill them.
(3) We cannot escape from that room without technology; however, we have a very short time to do this.
What if there are two or more windows instead of only one? Is it possible to escape in such a short time? Maybe, nowadays, there is insufficient data for a meaningful answer.
How can we be prepared for the last second?
If you are a Singularian DEV, it may be important to help answering this important question. Get involved.
 Adapted from Ray Kurzweil’s 2012 Authors@Google talk.
 Thanks to Isaac Asimov for “The last Question” short novel.
Get involvedWe are preparing a TED-ed case for the “Super Bread Dough” Thought Experiment. We are needing of writers and artists to do so. If you have any of these skills and are interested in helping please contact email@example.com.