The Maes–Garreau law is the statement that "most favorable predictions about future technology will fall within the Maes–Garreau point", defined as "the latest possible date a prediction can come true and still remain in the lifetime of the person making it". Specifically, it relates to predictions of a technological singularity or other radical future technologies.
It has been referred to as a "law of human nature", although Kelly's evidence is anecdotal.
In 1993, Maes listed a number of her colleagues at MIT that had publicly predicted mind uploading (the replication of a human brain on a computer), and noted that the innovations were generally slated to occur approximately 70 years after the birth of the predictor. As quoted by her colleague Rodney Brooks:
Attempts to verify Maes-Garreau
The Machine Intelligence Research Institute released a paper detailing a much larger set of AI predictions of 95 predictions extracted from a database of 257 AI predictions, which finds a broad array of estimates before and after a predictor's estimated longevity. MIRI states a far stronger rule as being "Maes-Garreau": "the predictor expects AI to be developed at the exact end of their life."
- Kevin Kelly: The Maes–Garreau Point March 14, 2007
- Michael Marshall, Five laws of human nature, New Scientist, 17 December 2009 http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18301-five-laws-of-human-nature.html
- Armstrong, Stuart, and Kaj Sotala. 2012. "How We're Predicting AI — or Failing to." In Beyond AI: Artificial Dreams ed. Jan Romportl, Pavel Ircing, Eva Zackova, Michal Polak, Radek Schuster, 52–75. Pilsen: University of West Bohemia.