There are not clear measures of Civilization transformation.
I believe that there can be measures and units devised to measure civilization transformation.
I think getting up to ten points for each aspect
scale of impact
speed of impact.
First the breadth of the transformation is needed.
This would look at the either the number of people and/or the percentage of the world population at the time that are effected.
However this needs to be looking at the magnitude (power of ten).
The scale would use the percentages for historical impacts like the switch from horses to bikes and bikes to cars.
It would also use future population projections for the expected impact of something that starts in ten years and is measured at after 20 more years.
Points People Percent of Total 10 7.2 billion 100% 9 720 million 10% 8 72 million 1% 7 7.2 million 0.1% 6 720,000 0.01% 5 72,000 0.001% 4 7,200 0.0001% 3 720 0.00001% 2 72 0.000001% 1 7 0.0000001%
The scale of impact is something that needs to be defined and analyzed for each category of transformation.
For cars and planes it would need to look at the number of trips or share of total trips. It would also need to look at the expansion in travel and impact on the time needed for particular trips.
One particularly important aspect of the change in the speed or effectiveness of travel is how many miles can be moved in an hour. This is closely related to the size of city that can be supported.
Another scale of impact could look at the economic rise of China (or other nations).
China’s economy has expanded by about 30 times from 1978 for total GDP after accounting for inflation.
This has impacted its population (1.0 billion in 1980- 1.36 billion now, about 20% of the world population)
Points Description Multiples 12 120 times 11 Something else 60 times 10 China Rise (1978-2012) 30 times 9 15 times 8 7.5 times 7 4 times 6 2 times
Inflation adjusted dollars could also be used. This would allow for comparison of the rise of countries with the impact of a new industry (like mobile communications)
The choice of scaling could be used to try to compare the historical rise of nations or the impact of the industrial revolution.
The speed or pace of impact would need to look at what would be some kind of average of baseline pace of impact compared to a breakout situation.
Average or baseline GDP growth rate would be the World GDP growth rate for that time.
Expected time to double would be a typical time comparison against a faster doubling time.
There would need to be multiple units.
China economic rise could be converted to multiples of the world average. Or something beyond China’s rise could be say a technological singularity in units of China’s rise. If the technological transformation boosted the worlds economy by 120 times over 20 years for the entire world.
China’s rise would be a 9.2 on breadth, 10 on economic impact and half as fast as the singularity tech transformation.
9.2 X 10 X 0.5 = 46
10.0 X 12 X 1.0 = 120
Yes multiplying logs does not make sense but just trying to get to single numbers. We are trying to make something up that combines breadth of impact and depths of impact of very different things and as a method that works across many things.
If one single number is not desired, then radar charts could be used for some visual comparison
So this hypothetical singularity was three magnitudes more impactful beyond a China’s economic rise.
Constant monetary units would allow more comparisons on whatever scale is produced.
This is mainly to get a handle on relative scale of huge changes and compare them to things that have been experienced.
This would allow some kind of scaling analysis of internet impact or smartphones.
For technology impacts it needs to be the differential between the before and after conditions. The before state is not a blank slate.
Before smartphones is replacing feature phones. But cellphones and smartphones could be lumped together for a change from landline phones.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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