Re: Question from Wired magazine

Robin Hanson (
Fri, 25 Jun 1999 11:13:28 -0700

Hal Finney wrote:
>> the 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...

The human element is such a large part of most technological systems that I'm not sure what the "natural" human-ignoring form of a system would be. My mind boggles.

>> the world economy ... is now about four times larger than in 1969.
>... U.S. GDP has doubled from 1969-1995. ... Probably in third world
>countries the changes since 1969 are more obvious.

Yes! The period of a century ago which we recall as being one of fast technological change was a period when the US was growing faster than the rest of the world.

Robin Hanson   
RWJF Health Policy Scholar             FAX: 510-643-8614 
140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 510-643-1884 after 8/99: Assist. Prof. Economics, George Mason Univ.