Is Change slowing down?

John Clark (
Sat, 26 Sep 1998 11:56:24 -0400

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I don't agree with Robin, I think the singularity will happen, however if I was arguing Robin's case I know what I'd say, change is slowing down. Even in technologically advanced parts of the world the change in daily life between 1899 and 1949 was greater than between 1949 and 1999. The people of 1949 saw the introduction of a telephone and electricity into nearly every home, running water too. They got to worry about being blown up by a nuclear bomb, a privilege their parents did not have. If they got depressed they could be entertained by a color movie with sound, or they could stay home and listen to the radio or watch television (I have a working antique set from that year). They could fly in an airplane or travel thousands of miles in their personal automobile, and when they got sick they could be treated with antibiotics or X rays. The Internet is great but I don't think it could compete with all of that.

Computers didn't effect the average person much in 1949 but many of the basic principles of their operation had already been discovered by Turing, Von Neumann, Shannon and others, and even the transistor that made the machines practical was invented in 1948. In Physics nothing found in the second half of this century was as important as Quantum Physics, General Relativity or Nuclear Fission which was found in the first half. Our knowledge is enormously greater only in biology, and even here our endeavors to transfer laboratory results into cures for our ills has been disappointing.

I think all this is the truth, my hope is that it's not the whole truth. Feel free to attack this argument, I may even do it myself.

John K Clark

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