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June 03, 2008

Accelerating Technological change versus constant everyday life

Michael Anissimov introduces 22 (so far) questions to help detail larger views of future technology concepts like the technological singularity.

This website believes that technological change can be seen to be accelerating in many segments and by many metrics. However, there are important segments that are slower changing or constant. This is why day to day life has been is still similar to someone living in 1950 and not totally dissimilar to someone in 1920.

The chinese economy has the fast growing private part and the nearly constant government and slower growing rural parts. For the developed countries it is the slower changing infrastructure and relatively constant usage and functionality of certain major things - cars, houses/buildings, water and energy infrastructure. And the way entertainment media very rarely dies but shift aside when new media arrives. Radio does not kill newspapers but both co-exist. TV gets added and movie theatres keep going along with Broadway plays and live theatre. The Internet gets added. More channels and choices are created. It is easy to opt out of what is new and keep doing what one did before. For product and service adoption, people often want a new version of the familiar.

Because people can point to what economist Robin Hanson refers to as past Singularities (the shifts to higher growth in the Industrial Revolution) 1730 and 1900 in relatively recent history they can perceive that more relative change occurred crossing those boundaries. Also, many countries are still completing or have not started the shift from agriculture to industrialization.



The key changes that people determine as being shocking are where the transportation that they use every day is radically improved in speed and capability.

Walking ==> horse ==> bike / rail ==> car / plane ==? [spaceship]

If daily work lives are clearly transformed.
Hunter gathering ==> Farming ==> factory ==> white collar ==> _______.

In your face change is to the major daily processes of most people in a society and this requires a lot of accumulated technological change to accomplish and succeed.

Substantial human enhancement has the potential to be a daily in your face thing.

Something clearly moving from "science fiction" to the being possible is not sufficient. There has to be widespread adoption so that it is encountered everyday. How much change do you encounter every day ? Cloning is now possible and 12 years ago it was only science fiction, but you do meet cloned people and animals or products of such technology everyday ?

A lot more people living in new frontiers on or under the oceans or in space would be a substantial change to the everyday lives of those who make the move.

Extreme life extension would be a change to everyday lives but not until it mnay of the aged to be rejuvenated. Meeting people who were physically aged but are now physically young every day would be a change. Meeting someone who had lived far longer than previous generations takes a long time to happen (the people have to age). Meeting a lot of people over 200 would take the time to enable them to live that long plus the time it takes for them to become those ages.

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