Re: Question from Wired magazine
Thu, 24 Jun 1999 21:29:35 -0700

Robin Hanson, <>, writes:
> One perspective that I would like to see elaborated, however, is the idea
> that world *is* in fact rather different, but doesn't look radically
> different exactly because most people don't *want* it to look much
> different. This contrasts with the goal of SF authors/readers to portray a
> shockingly different future, and explains why the real future looks more
> familiar than the old SF future.

This is an unusual perspective and not intuitively obvious. Are there examples of innovations which have been shoehorned into an inherently unnatural form for the sake of familiarity? Maybe things like the mouse-and-windows computer interface? Although you could argue that the old command lines were more familiar to typewriter users...

> That is, the world economy doubles every fifteen years, so it is now about
> four times larger than in 1969. Such growth just doesn't happen by making
> three more copies of the same old economy; it happens by reinventing most
> everything to be more efficient, etc. And we have in truth seen great
> change all over the place, if you look beneath the surface.

According to the figures I found at, U.S. GDP has doubled from 1969-1995. Much of this four-fold growth must have occured outside the U.S. and so would not be visible to readers in that country (or presumably in other industrialized countries assuming they had similar growth rates). Probably in third world countries the changes since 1969 are more obvious.