Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Boring Era?

Here's an interesting article on technological progress in recent years, and how we may overstate just how fast we are progressing.

My alternate Title:

Why Scientists Have Outperformed Politicians (and how those with power have better learned to hang onto it)

I would argue that the internet is every bit as transformative as the telephone and electricity, although that like most of our high tech gadgets were born in the 80's, and all they've done since is get smaller, faster and cheaper.

I would also argue that his criticisms have the implicit assumption that there is always somewhere to improve to, and thus could amount to seeing our rapid progress since the scientific revolution as some sort of fault. Maybe the bicycle really is the physically optimal structure from human propelled locomotion. Something has to be. And so it may be with nation-states, although it seems likely there is a more optimal structure for societies with over 400 million citizens in them than the one we use, since it was devised in a society with 1/100 that population. The big question is whether there is a transitional form if you will, from where we are to there. There may not be, at least not one without a lot of spilt blood.

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