Escaping Technology Stagnation and Reaching True Technology Acceleration

Peter Thiel makes the case that the world has had relatively stagnated technology over the past 50 years. We have 15 times more oil and steel production than existed in 1940. We make more steel and oil in a month than was used by the Allies and Axis during a year in World War 2. There was even more growth from 1870 to 1940. Will production be scaled by 15 times by 2100? That would match the move from 1940 to 2020.

The major technology for cars, electricity, subways, steel, high rises, phones, vaccines, antibiotics existed at proven scale by 1920. The major additions were computers and the internet. Planes existed and many were used in WW1 but the jet engine was a significant improvement.

People could travel 25-30 miles a day by horse or bicycle but traveling 50-150 miles per day in one of the 2-6 million cars in the 1920s was difficult. The reason is that the roads were mostly dirt and poorly connected. The interstate highway system had to be built over the 1950s to enable better car travel. Cars and planes have not had real improvements in travel times since the 1970s in the western world. The inflation-adjusted costs per mile have been stagnant. We have been able to travel 400-900 miles in a day via cars and trains since the 1960s in developed countries. Mass air travel has been able to move people over 3000-5000 miles in a day since the 1970s. The distance that can be traveled in one hour has gotten worse in many cases over more recent decades because of traffic jams. The actual time to make air travel has gotten worse because of 2-3 hours needed for the check-in and security processes and the time needed to get to and from airports.

Can we increase the daily range of ground travel by three to six times?

There is high-speed rail in China, Japan and Europe. This allows three times the daily range compared to express conventional trains.

The 1980s and onwards was spreading advanced technology and infrastructure to Asia.

Electric cars and self-driving are clearly deploying at scale and will reduce the cost per mile by four times. Self-driving and networked cars and trucks will be able to eliminate traffic jams and increase safe and efficient driving speeds to 120-150 miles per hour. Daily driving distance will increase to over 3000 miles. There will be no need for rest breaks and passengers and drivers will be able to rest or work during the trip. The effective speed will increase by 2-6 times. The six-times increase is over 25 mph in heavy traffic.

Energy costs could decrease to 1 cent per kilowatt-hour with advanced solar, advanced grid, batteries and some nuclear or other base load power.

Low-cost space travel, low-cost reusable rockets for travel anywhere on earth in one hour or less will transform the world.

Mass-produced satellites and virtual reality will enable internet, beamed power and hyper-accurate millimeter precise GPS everywhere. This will enable robots, sensing and monitoring everywhere.

Elon Musk is proving out next-level faster factory improvements. Redesigning the robotic process with gigapresses. Working on materials and new electrical systems to speed up production. China has city-scale masses of hundreds of coordinated factories and companies.

World GDP was $2 trillion in the 1920s (1990 dollars), $3 trillion in 1940, $7 trillion 1960, $19 trillion 1980 and $41 trillion in 2000. It is about $90 trillion now. Matching the 1940-2020 world GDP move would require $2700 trillion GDP (1990 dollars) by 2100. We have remained successful growing global wealth. This accelerated from 1940-2020 compared to 1860 to 1940. There was a 30X move from 1940-2020 compared to a 15X move from 1860-1940. 1860-1940 created and proved and had initial scaling of the foundational industrial, transportation and energy systems that remained relatively stagnant.

Fast trucks and cars and one-hour global air travel all at four times lower cost could be leveraged for a 10X-20X in the global economy by 2100. Layered onto this could be radical breakthroughs in aging reversal, antiaging, medical cures and molecular nanotechnology. We already can potentially match the industrial golden age and breaking stagnation. The big technological breakthroughs beyond that will be true technological acceleration.

SOURCES= Wikipedia
Written By Brian Wang,

139 thoughts on “Escaping Technology Stagnation and Reaching True Technology Acceleration”

  1. you were not outsmarted, you were robbed by other white boys: Bill Gates, Jeff Bezzos; Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey…

  2. Maybe. I'm betting employers want to go right back to the old in-person (easy-to-monitor) way of doing things – EXCEPT with a lot less business flying (zooming is cheaper).

    And schools appear to have been so dead set on (eventually) returning to their 'in school' (student control) model that they didn't bother to apply known distance learning approaches, just tried to replicate live classroom teaching over Zoom.

    In both cases, the key is maintaining ownership of 'their' human resources.

  3. Interesting discussion: always wanted to know about the cost/ benefit, team dynamics, and 'soft' success of remote research personnel camp configurations. Bulk privacy-less 'submarine' rack accomodation with group work spaces and only individual hot desks for those who need (i.e. very clumpy and communal with individuality on a need-to-have basis) -or- the opposite-ish extreme of a huge sprawling encampment/ network of single/pair accommodation primarily separated from their work, which would also be single-ish and separated. Probably captial intensive to be above the regolith, but below? Mmm. The Lunar Burrow with its Runs and passages and its network of personal/ communal/ other connections/ accesses – hidden below the surface. Watership Down of the Moon. Give a Man a Musk-branded Boring Device and He can dig out his Life. I wonder how the community dynamics of 'above ground' Antarctica is working out – I think their 'court' system has convicted a manslaughter and a bunch of domestic violence crimes, but otherwise functional with outbreaks of shared community.

  4. Sadly the only country that will do big things on a national level at the moment is China, for structural reasons mostly.

    Now, if a US president at the start of their term did a big primetime event, where they rolled out a bunch of people with spinal problems (both born and by accident), and said to the american public that he is starting a dual prong X-prize to get them walking again by the end of the decade, one prong being the biomedical research to fix the nerves, and the other prong being a brain-computer interface coupled to an all day exoskeleton. Pull out all the stops to make it like JFK talking about Apollo.

    If they did that, there would a sudden feeding frenzy in brain research, BCI, stem cell nerve therapy, soft/hard exoskeletons, and battery research. Make the X-Prize huge and winner takes all. That will light a fire under all sorts of research arenas.

  5. Phage therapy in the west is also stifled as well.

    To be fair, there has been a fair amount of work on modern Cessna's compared to the original, but like the 737MAX debacle, it's a lot of sophistry to keep the type certificates the same, as recertification costs a boatload now.

  6. "…The bar is simply to high today, gut thinkers had their time in the sun and it's never coming back…"
    Ah. To be seen. Methinks the cycle returneth: Bedroom hackers. Basement CRISPR scientists. Cryptocurrency empires out of your Study. Reddit Gamestop millionaires back from economics 101 Class. 3D machining of all things tech with plans and shop drawings widely spread. As implementation and execution of chemistry, physics, and biology (especially micro) can be modeled, analysed, and planned/conceived with little more than an undergrad education, networked processors, and the DarkNet; so can individuals, cultish groups, and the otherwise unremarkable: affect, create, and disrupt. —and possibly spin off a business doing it.
    The impenetrable ivory tower of the government facility, high tech lab, and world class university department is not so exclusive and unassailable as one might think.

  7. You may have an affinity for his theory, but it should be obvious it's similar to Bellmore's theory in structure. He uses a few general points with some claim to validity as window dressing to showcase his favorite hobbyhorse, red-tape vs Bellmore's elites.

    Society and its institutions does have valid interests in stability. Who would not act to ensure their own survival and continued prosperity, even though many are inept at making proper choices that are capable of achieving said goals. All things "red-tape" can obviously add a certain amount of inertia to any activity.

    There wasn't more technological progress back in the day because there were more people blowing themselves up. The pool of would be inventors was a lot bigger because technology was a lot more primitive and thus approachable to a common tinkerer. The kinds of innovations the average person could come up with in 2021 simply isn't going to progress the leading edge of technological development or be very useful. What could 90% of the human race do to innovate and contribute to semiconductors or quantum computer dev given the educational and resource requirements for entry level in those fields, I would say zero to none. The bar is simply to high today, gut thinkers had their time in the sun and it's never coming back. It's more meaningful and maybe easier to go from near zero to 10% up the civilization development curve than to go from 70 to 80%.


  8. Oh I get his _ostensible_ point alright. It's like Seymour Cray's much-earlier point when criticized for plowing Cray Computer Corporation's capital into GaAs for the Cray-3: "To make a unique contribution, you must be willing to be different." No one else was willing to climb out of the path dependencies of the industry to open up that new territory with greater potential than silicon.

    But Thiel got his start with the capture of positive network externalities via PayPal and went on to finance Facebook in an environment where Sandhill Road was doing virtually nothing _but_ looking for network effects to capture.

    I did read the book and was looking for any indication that he was interested in distinguishing the rentier culture of SV that he was immersed in from the kind of contribution Cray was talking about.

    Surprise me.

    PS Your "eye-roll worthy" comment isn't an argument and is, itself eye-roll worthy.

  9. Everyone has preferences and motivations, but not everyone has facts on their side to demonstrate that their ideas are correct. In this case the thesis was that we are in a tech stagnation phase, but it soon will ve over. I pointed out that the selected metrics excluded from the analysis wide areas of progress, furthermore consumption/production metrics usually do not show hi tech improvements: you might use much less asbestos than the 70s because you found new materials, you might expand alluminium ore mining only 10 folds because now you have recycling infrastructure that account for most of the production, and so on…

  10. You obviously don't understand his point. "Competition is for losers" means entrepreneurs should do new innovative things instead of creating clones of existing products. Your views on economics are also eye-roll worthy.

  11. They don't like things the way they are, but they don't believe in the future either. I noticed a lot of libs really believe that the world will end from global warming in a few decades.

  12. You are right.

    Of course, the asians seem to keep their political power in majority asian countries. The strategy in western countries is to sell a sort of racism that claims that white people are uniquely evil and responsible for all ills of the world.

    Now, selling that but with an asian flavor in Japan is probably really difficult. In China and India that would probably be impossible.

  13. We fear doing great things now. My problem with some Internet billionaires is that they don’t support the culture of futurism. We’re I Bill Gates, I would have propped up Fry’s ,, this site, Radio Shack, Starlog, Cinefex, Toys R Us. Where Musk builds spacecraft, I would build space toys. There is a culture of stagnation. I remember when even TV shows had toy tie in’s

  14. Start with satellite broadband, data centers in LEO, orbital repair/salvage docks, space hotels, spacefabs (photonics,biotech, etc), self-assembled powersats and then finally a self-replicating off-world industrial/mining infrastructure with stupendous economies of scale building Tasmania sized powersats, etc. in Rhode Island sized factories in zero-g.

    Jeff Bezos had visited 3D-printed rocket company Relativity Space:

  15. One thing I've forgotten to mention in this discussion is modern batteries. There is so much, from torches to ebikes, to EVs, that were somewhere between far less useful to completely impracticable, given the batteries of only a few decades ago.

    Push batteries up another factor of 2 or 4 and even more becomes feasible. I think RoboJeeves is about doable today, assuming he can plug himself in to recharge whenever he feels a bit down. Including into the 48V socket in the Tesla Model 6 that he takes to do the shopping. Then he need only walk around the shop for 20 minutes before he's back in the car again.

    Though doing shopping without needing to actually walk around the shop is a technology that's proceeding fairly rapidly even without robotics. All Jeeves need do is answer the door when the grocery delivery turns up.

  16. I prefer UBC (Universal Basic Capital) to UBI as the latter just signals brains to chill it. Starlink/Project Kuiper/Oneweb will provide the world access to FANG. In any case, global poverty is on the way down under the current system (free trade, property rights, etc.). We now just have to double down on increasing the factors of production:

    • Land/Sea/Space Resources (aquaculture, shale/natural H2, seabed/asteroid mining),
    • Labor Pool (boost fertility rates with drugs, IVF automation, artificial wombs, anti-aging therapies, IQ with neurochips/AI linked brainnets/smart drugs),
    • Production Capital (sea-based fast reactors (Pu/H2 economy), laser drilling/power transmission, industrial 3D printing/intelligent robots, arrays of micro/nano-chemical plants, gigascale self replicating factories/solar power plants/data centers in sea/space, quantum cloud computing, virtual worlds/sims/teleportation, high speed planes/trains/cars, etc.).

    Neuralink/AI/simulations/brain-nets FTW.

  17. The personal robot servants in the movie "I Robot" looked pretty good. That would take care of the automatic shopping and food prep. I would mind them making the bed and cleaning the house as well. I actually think this is inevitable. The biggest technology obstacle in my mind is portable energy. Wouldn't want RoboJeeves to stall out in the grocery store aisle.

  18. I can't think of many things myself* but I am reminded of all those people in the past decades and centuries who were unable to imagine any improvements to their own time other than mere perfection of what they already had.

    Adam Smith, wrote the original book on how people worked to improve the entire technological and development of society: when trying to project how good things could get in the future all he could come up with was that the entire world might be as developed as the richest parts of 1770s England.

    *I can come up with some ideas. Personal robot servants. Much larger living spaces. Automatic shopping and food prep. Basically: what did Louis XIV have that I don't (bastard!). Can a technological solution be found that gives me the same experience?

  19. If you see a river of money flowing in the distance, it is only natural to try to get closer to it, in the hope you can scoop some out for yourself.

  20. Now this argument I can get behind.

    Though I'd call it safety-yellow tape, rather than red-tape myself.

    To add to the restricting effects of old fashioned red-tape, environmentalist green-tape, racially based black-tape, and whatever colour we are going to allocate to the new trend of bizzare s3xuality based restrictions on speech and actions: pink-tape?

  21. The asian AND white boys are both on the outs when it comes to legal and political advantage in our society. They are still ahead because of other advantages, but there is no evidence that they do well in politics.

    I mean as a group. As individuals there are more successful politicians with white skin than any other type, but this may well represent the political situation of decades ago when their careers were established.

  22. The Question is "Where can you get the highest return on you capital over the longest run." The answer is "Where human capital is least utilized."

    Is it? That's not an obviously true answer. In fact a lot of people come to the conclusion that this isn't the answer at all.

    An alternative answer is "Where the human capital has the most skills and has a culture that works well with high technology and complex organisations."

  23. Yeah, Heinlein suggested that his lunar colony which was a society that consisted almost entirely of men with a few women would therefore develop highly feminist laws where a woman would naturally be given great respect and deference.

    Which tells me he has never spent any time in say… a mining camp. Or a boys school. Or any other example I can think of.

  24. People work whenever there are jobs. Very few nations have ever tried UBI. Considering that some cultures are many thousands of years old a jump to western culture is a decade or two is too much to be expected but it has occurred. Forget slow. Plant the seeds, its cheap, and watch it grow.

    The Question is "Where can you get the highest return on you capital over the longest run." The answer is "Where human capital is least utilized." And where would that be? Poor countries. A poor person is an underutilized resource waiting to be used.

  25. Heilein suggested that body odour on the moon would be punished by being cycled out through the airlock without a suit on. Space settlements as an unregulated paradise for private companies doesn't sound too welcoming either. Wouldn't have to be though – any spacegoing enterprise that didn't automate everything, and leave all the meatbags planetside, would soon be priced out of the market.

  26. Why does it seem that most everybody on this website is racking their brains for ways to make Jeff Bezos richer ?

  27. I disagree.

    1) America has had periods before (the Gilded Age being a prime example) where an elite class had it just as good, relative to everyone else, as elites do today. Doesn't seem to me like the 1890s and 1900s lacked in the tech improvement department.

    2) Technological improvements occur for a number of reasons, some of which have nothing to do with how socioeconomically imbalanced a society is. Again, during the Gilded Age, we got airplanes, radios, electric power and automobiles.

    3) One thing socioeconomic imbalance DOES often lead to is social unrest and upheaval–any number of deposed monarchs and unemployed CEOS will unhappily attest to that. But even in these eras, we see impressive technological progress; out of Great Depression-era research come jet engines, nuclear arms, modern computers and visits to space.

    4) Your explanation fits with a strain of dogma I like to call "us vs. them". Basically, whenever bad stuff happens, it's because "them" (in this case, ruling elites) did something to arrest society's progress. I'm always pretty wary of this sort of worldview, because it tends to be an overly simplistic reading of history. Sometimes stuff happens for pretty much one reason and one reason only. But mostly, stuff–especially, big complicated stuff–happens for lots of reasons, big and small, some of which are intertwined.

  28. I can't help but note that when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. However for some reason in this context it doesn't seem that funny.

  29. If all you had was Janov, you would have what is now considered dozens of separate squares. The nature of scientific revolutions, none as important as the Primal Revolution for humans, is just that way. The discovery of repression, the ability to manipulate it, the hypothesis that repression IS mental illness, these things explain so much that those who don't check it out have no possible way of imagining.

  30. there's also the ridiculously outdated monday to friday 9 to 5 thing. Disproportionate numbers of people, cargo, consumer activity, and production overlapping and trying to bottleneck it through transportartion, services, and arbitrary 'open' hours – mostly in the few hours at each side of that window.

  31. That was Moon before Mars, instead of Mars Direct/First/Only. For 40 solid years!!!! Before my side won that, people would object. Now, they knew it all along! Secretly, I knew that Mars would be forgotten when we started thinking Moon again, but I feigned interest in Mars eventually. Otherwise, my true reasoning, based on O'Neill, would be rejected outright, see current blog for examples of this. But, things are changing in my favor. I suspect a rich guy may soon be talking about O'Neill more, when he steps down from day to day running Amazon.

  32. The power to tax or zone is the power to destroy. You can generalize your experience to explain a lot of homelessness. Some in SF, libs I suppose, (libertarians not in this dispute, we already understand) want to remove single family zoning, which would help landlords I suppose, but offend the HA types who have *got their own*. Henry George has a libertarian friendly plan.

  33. Feel free to tell the audience something YOU know that is important, esp if few other agree with it, YET.

  34. It is a hypothesis from Israel, I believe. Absurd on its face, compared to Primal Science, which has 7 million years to work with. These guys were only going back to the recent past. However, the total lack of any actual brain growth explanation other than Primal is striking. Most are generally that increased brain size makes for easier life, so it *wins* the evo race. But evo works by eliminating the *weak* (in whatever context, not a moral judgement, just happens to work or not) more than rewarding the strong. If the weak are not removed, they reproduce too and nothing changes. You need something to kill off the slightly smaller less active brained people strongly, for the rapid changes humans' brains have. 1,000 times faster than mammal #2, the horses hoof, I've heard. How about stressing everybody with ritual birth and childhood trauma until they almost all die off? The few remaining will have "lost" the rituals, for a moment, so start the process over. Only those who can outlast the others in the local System make it. BTW, not reproducing because of neurosis is observed by Goodall in chimps. Hint! Not reproducing = death in the long run. So, PS leads to fast brain growth, few people, everybody "different" is eliminated, species quickly go extinct, until we get language/infinite power, were the weak are now politicians instead of dead. We now kill off the healthy, and the weak minded are in charge, sycophants to the System. Sound familiar?

  35. Shame about the pandemic crushing communal transportation, higher density housing, and urban vacancy rate – looks like we are spreading out for the long-term.

  36. Not convinced. Untold fortunes have been spent over generations with very little evidence of 'work ethic' traction, long-term self-motivation, skill-in-more-than-a-day entrepreneurialism, reduced narcotic use/ violence/ tribal values, etc., in most poorer parts of the world. Even very motivated and socialized countries such as in the north have tried basic income programs, that they ended up discontinuing. The 'ramp up' to modern values is just too steep for many, with much cultural baggage, and unsympathetic community members. You have to accept the idea that most people are 'Not Basically Good' – and that it is Most Likely that if they come from a system of 'Basic Good', that the veneer of civilization will build up upon them in work and life with a chance of getting 'Good' (i.e. its how and where you were raised). The New and Innovative Key is to have an entire system for them to try at their own pace, such as Paul Romer Charter Cities – little urban ecosystems of G7 wealth and regulation and prosperity in which the locals can 'try'; organized and built physically within but legally separate from its host country (like an embassy). Ideally, locals would live outside and slowly take on westernized job skills, assignments, and ethic; eventually accepting the system and either living there (preferred) or managing the commute – possibly spreading the personal success.

  37. Perhaps. But what worthwhile thing ever came out of people thoroughly neutral, without passionate direction, without preference, without pre-conceived notion, without building new extensions on existing personal frameworks, and so forth. Concerns with bias only matter with publishing academic researchers, professionals dealing with litigation and regulation, unelected officials, etc. Techno-entertainment Blog – not so much.

  38. Not cancellation, just the application of naive economic theory.

    "If you want more of something, subsidize it; if you want less of something, tax it."


  39. "…something that didn't apply back when tech was advancing rapidly…"
    Easy. For better or worse: The widespread distraction of hyper-litigation, protections on health and enviroment, zealous privacy controls, etc. All the modern manifestations of risk-aversion. Pre-WW2, adventurous and innovative people were blowing up themselves, each other, the environment, and doing it cheaply, with minimal consequence, and at the possibility of major wealth and glory on success. Each generation, cultural epoch, and change in political direction creates some kind of 'consequence grocery list' that makes it into regulation and eventually public consciousness. All those high-viz jackets, warning packaging, workplace safety protocols, municipal regulations, 'safety' associations/ bodies/ committees, animal experimentation rules, and Terms of Service come at a huge cost of time, money, and basic research/experimentation — Red tape stifles, suppresses, and eventually just sucks the life out of would-be dreamers/ thinkers/ doers. In the way some movies 'suggest' a Great Purge to get out all our Frustrations on brief and rare occasions — maybe we all need: Research – 'Do anything you Want Day' or Research Screw-Up Amnesty or MadScientistLand or a dedicated ConsequenceFree-Island/ Valley/ 1000 sq.mile gated wasteland. We were teenagers then – now we're all grown Up (and getting older)

  40. Jean, I guarantee you that any minute or second that you use to read up on Rossi and his e-cat will seem like a fantastic waste of time afterwards.

  41. I have found that consulting a local experienced Architect (or technologist, if there is a licensing procedure for using them) will often help with the 'administrative' part of the design (seeking building permit, site development permissions, etc) which can then provide that 'negotiation' and 'bargaining position' to erect structures that are unorthodox — even if one doesn't use their full design services. If the neighborhood requires certain setbacks, frontages, and building footprint sizes, one strategy is to build in phases; starting with creating the final foundation layout, but only erecting those areas immediately required — which may include a separate garage/ carport. Whether 'partial/ early occupancy' can be given for some of the building (such as a fully enclosed and serviced garage, high basement, or rear/ central portion) would be negotiated, with the understanding that the full building would soon follow. Easier if the neighborhood allows mixed residential/ commercial within the same site.

  42. Drive is probably more important than smarts. The white genius' kids are having a lot of gap years, while the Asian ones work their butts off.

  43. 'Space travel? There's no there there.' Exactly.
    I think even people in the developed world will start to notice if they don't clean their energy up, though. It's called 'global weirding'.

  44. The subject is robot trucks. Yes he mentions cars too, but the 3000 miles per day is a robot truck with nobody on board. So nobody needs to sleep on board, it's just a computer.

    The 4 hours per day is when a 10 year old paints a white line across a road and the truck has to stop because the rules say you can't drive across an unbroken white line.

  45. That's a remarkably risky theory to throw around on a planet where the big game animals were NOT killed off in Africa.

  46. Your theory explains too much.
    Any theory that says that the elites value stability and so suppress change has to explain that either

    1. Society wasn't run by wealthy elites back 100 years ago. Really?
    2. For some reason those old time elites were cool with radical change that could cost them their positions.

    No good to look around and see what might be suppressing advancing tech. It has to be something that didn't apply back when tech was advancing rapidly.

  47. Unlike most commentators, I do not believe that a space rush would allow people to be more free from a political point of view. But perhaps it would allow companies to be largely unregulated for a while? I.e., unfettered growth until the "environmentalists" discover that the moons surface and asteroids must be "preserved"?

    Perhaps this is the real killer application of space colonization?

  48. I actually see great innovation in wind power and solar power, but that is because these fields have "political cover", i.e. the greenies do not want to stymie these sectors. For now.

    Once the are "satied" on the current demands, they will move the goal post and demand that every aspect of material production will have to be pushed towards another goal. Gigatons of CO2 is bad today, and tomorrow megtons and a little later kilotons.

    I cannot imagine greenies without a cause. They cannot simply live and let live…

  49. Well, Peter Thiel has a point.

    Nuclear was on a trajectory to becoming dirt cheap and the west was quick to build it out. But then it was regulated to death. Same with medicines, also regulated to to a grind.

    But there is also the cultural aspect. Why did no car manufacturer – american or otherwise – make giga presses for reducing the cost in car production? Same thing with (the yet unrealized) combined power and data bus wiring that Tesla has patented? Both could have been started decades ago by any large manufacturer, but wasn't.

    Nasa is of course an abject failure when it comes to rocket technology. If they would have wanted, they could have developed the nuclear salt water engine [1] and we would already have reached Mars. Not to mention just in orbit refuling. Don't tell me that in orbit refueling required materials or computer chips that were not available in the 80'ths..


  50. Scientific advances not valuable? The purpose of Humanity is to do science. We want A.I. to automate those jobs so that we have nothing better to do but science and mathematics!

  51. I've lost a seemingly irreplaceable Sri Lankan mathematician friend to an auto-accident. And, I see bumper stickers of "I lost my love to a drunk driver" So, I'm not going to say that self driving cars are not valuable. But, then, again, I'm kind of concerned about people loosing their driving skills. People already can't drive a stick; I saw some fools trying to drive a stick shift a month or two ago. They stalled it; and embarrassingly got it into gear shortly afterward. It was hurky jerky motion, but they got it in gear!

    We need A.I. to help us do whatever we need to do. But, not to replace us actually doing things. I mean if A.I. replaces us actually walking around, the legs shrivel up. If it replaces us thinking, our brains shrivel up.

  52. they have gotten faster. The Bugatti's are faster than the Mclaren's, which were faster than the Ferrari F40's, which was faster than the Corevette's, and son .

    Recently, a Czinger was engineered by A.I., and 3d printed. It goes about 270 mph. I'd expect them to go faster.

  53. The French Train a Grande Vitesse does 200 mph ( has been up to 350 ), and of course sleepers are available. Trains also have an accident rate about a hundred times better than cars, don't get into traffic jams, use much less land and energy than road traffic, and pollute less than cars even when diesel powered, and the cars are EVs – assuming the electricity generation profile of most of the world. Claims that they're too expensive don't count the cost of everyone having to buy a car to use the roads – an intelligent, battery powered car at that, if they want to get less chance of winding up in a crash, or breathing everyone's collective fumes. Suburban rail also usually involves a bit of walking or cycling to get to the station, which is not a bad thing for those who want to incorporate a little exercise into their day.

  54. I think that happens – but then a new generation of ambitious would-be-elites comes along, sees that all the conventional paths to great wealth are skewed against them – so they dive into over-looked alternatives.

    No room for more big-box stores? Build a massive e-commerce empire.
    No room for new car makers? Build in a niche they didn't bother with – EVs – and expand that before they catch on.
    Government space launch contracts all sucked up by the Big Players? Undercut them with reusable rockets and an iterative, experimentalist approach to design.
    Internet monopolists have taken over all the cities? Build a satellite internet to cover 'everywhere else'.
    Cable TV networks locked up all the city contracts? Bypass them over the internet.
    Banks have the economy all sewn up? Cryptocurrency.

    It may not look like a lot of progress to consumers – it's still 'just' stores, just cars, just rockets, just internet, just TV, etc. But there's still big disruption behind the scenes.

    Recently the 'social media' giants have been acting as if they've cemented control. Maybe they have, since they somehow got away with obvious anti-trust violations, including apparent conspiracy to suppress businesses they felt threatened their control. It will be interesting to see what happens next.

  55. Self-driving and networked cars and trucks will be able to eliminate traffic jams and increase safe and efficient driving speeds to 120-150 miles per hour. Daily driving distance will increase to over 3000 miles. 

    I think there was an extra zero on there. 3000 miles a day at 150 mph is 20 hours of driving a day. I've heard of sleeper cars but that's nuts.

    Is the last 4 hours just so it can recharge and get serviced? The rest of the time, you just live on the car?

  56. If us white boys are so much smarter, how come we are the ones who get outsmarted in the political struggles?

  57. As far as I can see from a google search, quarterly reports for US public companies were mandatory as long ago as 1934.
    I don't think we can blame them for companies being more long sighted in the 1950s.

  58. Yes, the modern 2021 car has far more complex electronics in compared to even 2011.
    But if you get in and drive it, what do you actually experience that is better?

    The fuel consumption is a bit lower. Woop de do.

  59. I just moved out of my 210 sq. metre house into a 65 sq. metre apartment. The only thing I miss is having a workshop. (OK, if I count the workshop too then it's more like 300 sq. m)

  60. I've mentioned before the stunning levels of change that people personally experienced at the beginning of the 20th century.
    Wyatt Earp not only saw movies being made about himself, he was a technical advisor. 
    Jackie Fisher started his career in the British navy as a 12-year-old midshipman on a wooden sailing ship-of-the-line with muzzle loading cannon, when he retired as First Sea Lord he was running a navy with Aircraft carriers and submarines coordinated with a world wide electronics and wireless network.
    It was perfectly possible for one person to see the Battle of Little Bighorn, and nuclear tests.

    If we look at the technology involved, change hasn't slowed at all, maybe even accelerated. But if we look at the experience that humans have, it has certainly slowed down.

    To a large extent, this is because society has demanded this. So much of the improvements that technology gives us these days is invisible to actual person using the tech. 

    There is far less pollution from a modern car (literally orders of magnitude less), and maintenance is cut by a factor of 5 or so. But to the person driving it they can only detect improved handling and subtle changes in torque delivery (the sort of thing that is easily forgotten over time.)

    Modern water based house paints are hugely less polluting, and easier to apply, but the person who sees a house never sees that improvement.

  61. I'm not sure that your Mensa article proves anything about fair skinned males. Seems like lots of people in China (with higher average I.Q.) are not taking the test. Similarly, the ethnic group with the highest average I.Q. are the Ashkenazi Jews. Seems you have a problem with women and dark-skinned people who you believe are canceling (word of the week) poor fair-skinned males (commonly known as snow flakes). Progress is not slowing in spite of your flawed argument.

  62. And the stability they value is control of the political order – corporate tax breaks, union busting, and what have you. In some cases, that involves suppressing disruptive technology (for example, Space X).

  63. If Thiel were serious about unleashing innovation, he'd advocate replacing:

    • Taxes on economic activity with a single tax on liquid value of net assets.
    • The welfare state with a citizen's dividend paid by the revenue from that tax.

    However, it's fairly apparent that he's bought into centralized capture of positive network externalities as evidenced by "competition is for losers".

  64. I just wanted a coach house to live in and store my tools while I built a stone house for long term living. But zoning wouldn't permit it.

  65. More can be done by helping the poorer section of the world to have access to our current technology. Two things that would be very helpful: UBI for the poorest and internet access. Of course, some will scream murder about spending money but sometimes you have to spend money to make money. Thing of money being a drug. You give some away to get people hooked. Once hooked, they are more incline to do what it takes to make more.

  66. I do believe the two wealthiest humans on earth (Bezos and Musk) have their eye on doing manufacturing not offshore but out in space.

  67. If the U.S. doesn’t get back into serious R&D at the national level, we could lose the future to China. I have a feeling that the future is going to arrive their in the coming decade, and perhaps not in the U.S. and Europe at all.

    It just seems like a lot of people in the U.S. and Europe are actually ok with the stagnation. They may not want the future that gets discussed here. They simply like things as they are.

  68. can't imagine One would rattle around a larger House. My dreams would always seek greater space and rooms for workshops, collections, libraries, retreats, displays, desks, work surfaces.. there could never be too many rooms… unless of course, building footprint on site reduced useful land and property and opportunity for activities on the Outside. As a City boy – outside space always seemed a communal thing; a gratuitous thing – maximizing the Inside and optimizing what could be kept and used; storing the unfittable and paring that which could not be In the Now. I guess I need that southwest Cabin, off-the-grid, on 50 acres of partially treed expanse.

  69. Such is the Question of the Always:
    Is it people's job to Fit into Society (as in choose from those jobs deemed modern, profitable, and manageable) or for Society to Adapt to People's Choices (Less visual/thoughtful Creative and hands-on Doer // More technical content Drone and report factory Adherent -//- Less Mason/ More pre-fab brick site-install and assembly-line Technologist).
    Do people know enough to know what they want to/ can do -and- contribute meaningfully. Duty to Yourself or your Economy? Better a smart sheep or dumb wolf? A dull cog in a Beautiful Machine -or- a small, bright Gem in an unstructured strip-mall parking lot of mediocrity and complacency (of course technology should move us toward a Beautiful Machine world anyway).

  70. Ah. One of the Golden Chalices of AI. To create a completely autonomous lab researcher. One who will be given a research 'focus' and be responsible for literature review, experiment design (based on accepted precedent methods), formulate hypothesis and test such, and provide rudimentary discussion and conclusion — this is attaining a high level of access in pharmacology (Big Money, Big Data) with limited but accelerating success. -Poor post-Docs and RAs – this was the easy way forward from your Doc (now pick either academia or project leadership).

  71. Human Nature and….
    The career-performance 'bell curve'. A time when one has reached the mental and productive peak of their vocation. One's intensity, energy levels, creativity, focus, and achievement can no longer reliably increase (or even stay stable); and one notices that one's juniors/ younger colleagues are meeting and exceeding one's 'rigorous conceptual' and productivity levels. Does one go into management and change daily work to delegation and peer review; into client/ department liaison (even sales?); into a special cubicle where one's years of declined productivity are met by politeness with rarer challenges (and bonuses) awaiting retirement release?
    This is the impetus for those who wish to see their wealth and influence and success carry on well into and beyond their 50s+ (or whatever the over-the-hill for a certain field is) without the 'real work' productivity to match. These are the complacent who do not manage well and who try to control and suppress dissent, creativity, and criticism. Of course there are good managers. But most seek to 'have it all'; are accustom to a certain level of comfort and lifestyle and now more free time. And hey — the beckoning of a retirement where one may have many decades to financially support (who still has a defined pension?) requires a bit of ruthlessness and stability. Its not evil per se, but desperation and 'face' and self-preservation.
    I was once asked what would be the best use of AI: replace management. Doers only

  72. How many of human species will be enabled to all of this?
    Transformation of society for enabling possibilities instead of increasing restrictions on higher areal density of people living together. When to start that, before technological/biological superiority or after that for only some of 'us'?

  73. What "human drivers" can afford fast truck delivery then?
    That social impact often seems to be neglected instead of avoided, then being foundation for progress _ equality of chances and steady possibilities for social upgrading for 'all', as far as possible?

  74. "combinatorial explosion" is slowed down by content management for people that can afford research efforts/work and data harvesting devices (satellites, IoT network support and hq database merchandising, highly educated filtering support)? Average people can access governmental or academic (non-commercial) resolution/granulated data or connect for open-source database efforts or let AI harvest hidden (behind diversity of data sources and massive information throughput) combinatorial (update dictionary for this word?) conclusions.

    ((Does copy&paste on this editor block typing for several seconds?))

  75. Take a look at the graph Exhibit 1 below. With our social spending today we would find it literally impossible to match what we were doing in the 60's. Our tax breaks also do not encourage R&D spending at private companies the way they should. We also have quarterly accounting at our publicly owned companies, which do not encourage research and instead reward short term profits. In 1955 we were ground testing nuclear thermal rockets, and today cannot get SLS into orbit. People back then would be horrified that we had to depend on Russia to get to the ISS. The issue may be structural, if it is indeed an issue at all (I believe it is).

  76. Not enough (on world wide comparison) can pay for people on scientific research tasks additionally to living costs in times with decreasing resources and increasing cost for production (GDP growth for to keep capitalism functional on educated high income or wealth levels), growing food, mining resources, providing fresh water, supporting health care, enabling mobility and also with attendance/services (that lower income levels can't access that much, because of increasing living cost through "knowledge research/jobs" does not allow that free decision for all of this)?

    So where's the new concept with cheap electricity supply (if reduced costs are given back to society), improved networks for communication/education/data analyzing on less exploitation right restrictions for increasing effects of collective/swarm intelligence or new concepts of ownership or upcycling/recycling progress, avoiding loss of lives, energy and wealth on conflict/weapons/ideology/fundamentalism.

    Just mentioning not in contrast to scientific progress, but being long term support and necessity for societies progress.

  77. This is a search problem. Computers do pretty well at that, at least with the ubiquity of information provided with an internet where any computer can link to a myriad others. The trick will be to allow a computer to "search" the real world, unearthing, curating, and presenting a digest to an interested party. The internet thrives on structured data, schemas. The real world has a combinatorial explosion of structure and schema. AI will be needed to manage the complexity of the problem.

  78. What happens is that a society where some class of elites have taken control reaches a level of prosperity such that they begin to value stability, (With its guarantee of their continuing to be on top.) over progress. (With better conditions on average, but maybe somebody else will supplant them.)

    Basically the rulers get fat and happy, and become risk intolerant, even if everybody else pays the price in foregone gains.

  79. Yeah, when I decided to have a house of my own, I bought some property off my parents, and… much to my horror, discovered that local zoning prohibited me from building a house as small as the one I'd grown up in, I was forced to build one three times that size, or not build at all. I really rattled around in that house, even after I married.

    There are many things I would have done, if I'd been permitted to have a smaller house. But the local government wouldn't have gotten property taxes on THOSE uses of the money.

  80. You may be interested in "Beyond Belief" by Janov, to understand all mysticism, including religion.

  81. Just read an idea that the human brain exploded in size when we killed off the big animals and had to go after more difficult small game. Or, the need to repress the Pain of childhood trauma is the cause. Failure to successfully repress the stuff means likely death in the wild. Almost certainly decreased reproductive success.

    "Our fixation on materialistic . . ." is the addiction to the thoughts that aid in *jamming* or repressing the Pain. It is a true addiction. Ideas are powerful painkillers. Think of beliefs as ideas.

  82. Well, I think there is a lot of confirmation bias here. You define technology stagnation with metrics that completely neglect whole areas of outstanding progress: for example you measure the lower-than-expected increase in physical mobility but you forget to mention that now everyone can meet 'virtually' in real time with people on the other side of the planet… it is like defining a decline in trades because the production of sails for freight ships continuously declined in the last 200 years…

  83. More likely are cities continuing to give over street space to micro-mobility vehicles and pedestrian malls. Manhattan is only 14 miles X 3 miles (at the widest point). That can be traversed by practically anything with an electric motor. The problem is street space and possibly parking at the end stop (rented e-bikes take care of the latter for e-bikes).
    Autonomous vehicles will need to get more compact if they are to avoid traffic, and the counter-trend of direct-to-consumer truck delivery is becoming a major problem that won't be solved simply by more trucks (barges carrying 100s of autonomous or micro-delivery vehicles, disbursed in swarms at piers could help).

  84. For that pico technology what can you tell us is between the electron orbits and the atomic nuclei. There doesn't seem to be anything that picotechnology could be made of.

  85. The best measure we have is labor productivity. Although it won't completely capture "change" (like the change social media brought on us), we are concerned here with progress, not change, as Peter says.

    Labor productivity is lagging in the last 50 years.

    And even change is not that big, when you think about it. Consider a person who was born in the Victorian age and lived to witness the Apollo landings. People who were born during the Apollo era lived to witness Facebook.

  86. Our tech is a function of our need for *thoughts* that will distract us from our inner Pain. We become addicted to the buzz of all this stuff. Connecting to and resolving the Pain, usu childhood or birth trauma, results in awareness of the real.

  87. In certain areas you hit a boundary and large improvements are not possible. You can improve cars, roads or trains use self driving, but still you can't just drive 120 miles per hour on ordinary road with lots of turns,.. And everyone just can't have his personal chopper. I dunno, perhaps using electric 1 person drones for fast transport will be viable in the future, but now it is not.

    And if there would be an option to use 1 person drones to speed up the transport, you need superb batteries and still you would consume more power than when using electric car with wheels. So in order to justify saving time for extra energy consumption you would need a lot of cheap, clean electricity and unfortunatelly we still don't have fusion.

  88. IMO the biggest issue right now for people who want to tune into is that the story has evolved and the thinking about the science and technology has advanced so far that it's like some kind of specialized scientific field on its own that people cannot easily jump into. That's a shame, because it has been a fascinating journey. And while it has been slow, it has always gotten better.

  89. It's a long drawn out story. I've followed it for 8 years. I questioned everything, and over time I ran out of reasons to be skeptical. Rossi won a $10 million judgment in a very public lawsuit with people trying to say that a year long test of one of his earlier iterations was a scam. If it's a scam then at this point is has to involve scores if not hundreds of people. And there are lots of research papers on LENR/"Cold Fusion" cited at that have nothing to do with Rossi. Most unfortunately, the site, which was a giant index of papers, was taken down last year. There are definitely full-woo posts and comments on as well. The one thing that is undeniable is that the boundaries of physics as understood 50 years ago are being shattered. Oh, and I forgot, there are these guys, who are about as qualified and well-funded as any small group on the planet. They =definitely= are breaking the paradigms.

    I'm finding it a lot more interesting to watch Rossi with the expectation of success and willingness to watch it blow up than than to try to poke holes in it. Yes, he's secretive, however, he's gotten burned before (but still made off with the $10M) and he's not acting any differently than some Silicon Valley startup in stealth mode. Hopefully his first release will be more impactful than the Segway.

  90. I have found with time, that it is good to dream, but not beyond what you know is there already or that is certain that is coming. Without some reign, your dreams can lead to folly or bitter disappointment. My personal philosophy is now dream and look at the stars, but stay with the feet firmly planted on the ground.

    The history of the past decades is littered with the carcasses of futuristic dreams, which have been ultimately betrayed by reality.

    In most cases, the future actually surprises us by surpassing our expectations, but in many others, it underwhelms. It's almost never what we expect, though, except on the very few occasions where we can see some trends.

  91. Good, where can I buy a few?

    The fact they are keeping the name of their manufacturer and other parts of the process under secrecy it's not a good sign, tho'.

    When you have a bright shining light, you put it where everyone can see it.

  92. True, and that's an example of real improvement, but mundane and ever so gradual, as to make us not excited about things actually getting better.

    Like the gradually boiled frog scenario, but where we are getting increasingly better things but don't notice them, because it's gradual.

  93. The big realization of the future, is that people are more valuable and needed as drivers of prosperity and knowledge as time passes, not less.

    Including manual jobs are seeing a crunch of workers, becoming restricted because there simply aren't enough skilled or interested people out there.

    We found out that the more we know, the more we realize we don't know. Same for productive economic activities, the more there are, the more the variety of skills required.

    We were afraid we would become superfluous in the future, but it's actually the contrary what's happening.

  94. The real issue is, what would make a difference in daily life? We got cars, telephones, airplanes, radio, TV, computers, the Internet, cheap goods from foreign manufacturing, cell phones, a gawd-awful profusion of media, social networks…what else would make a difference? Particularly in the developed countries ("The future is already here, it's just poorly distributed" – W. Gibson). Much better health care would be nice, however, that's clearly a political problem, not a technology problem, because some countries already have better health care. Automated cars would be nice, because we could stay physically connected with other people and get to the beach more easily, and those are on the horizon. Wearable computers, so what? VR / AR? More media distraction and even less need to travel Much cleaner, cheaper energy sources – most people in the developed countries would not notice. AI & robotics, mostly job displacement. 3D holographic displays? More distraction. Space travel? There's no there there. Life extension…well…where do I sign up?

  95. "..accelerated children-birth-vats.."
    hmm. whatever happened to human-cloning tech? Gone underground since SK researcher was branded.

  96. urggk. "…late 1900s…"??. Be calm my barely-middle-age ego. These kids know not of what they speak – the millenium was only 2 decades ago.

  97. Word. My PhD advisor has a huge bucket list of research that he cannot possibly undertake nor find enough candidates to follow up on. There is just way too much going on in the world and not enough hours in the day or grants in the pipeline to do it all. Orphaned 'breakthrough' papers and dis-continued lines litter the stem academic landscape. Where are those accelerated children-birth-vats to bring forth the researcher hordes we need????

  98. Gravity detectors are cool. I love them and write about them but they do not lower your cost of living or change global economics. I want to visually look at the exoplanets at 10 kilometer resolution or less. All great. But not everyone 10 times richer and energy 10 times lower cost, transportation 10 times faster. Horse range 25 miles per day. Car on interstate highways 500-800 miles per day.

  99. Overnight or 24 hour shipments with self driving electric trucks can be single mode. Do not have pick it up by truck, take it to warehouse and onto a plane, and then warehouse and then truck. Truck, warehouse (to get same destination), truck. Although the last miles might not be human but fully automated small ground transport. small ground electric FSD, small warehouse, big FSD truck, big warehouse, big FSD truck, small warehouse, small ground FSD

  100. Also, a lot more 'branches' of inquiry, expanding perhaps more rapidly than the available researchers and bring-to-marketeers could each take on — sort of a diluting of the innovation flow. Also, diluted research advancement possibly meaning more people scattered 'doing their own thing' as opposed to the concentrated braininess in the late 1900s XEROX PARC, IBM, and such (i believe in the physical proximity 'network' effect)

  101. Relative technological stagnation. Going on metrics like practical hourly and daily travel in different modes. Going on inflation adjusted cost per mile and cost per kwh. Progress is being made but not at the fundamental level of speed of movement and cost of movement. I am saying that with safe, reusable rocket travel then you can travel from New York to Tokyo in 0.5 hours + 2 hours for in and out of departure port vs 14.5 hours + 5 hours to get in and out of the airport. Plus self driving trucks drop trucking costs from 12 cents per ton-mile to 3 cents per ton mile. Not having human drivers and required rest stops after 8 hours of daily driving, 23 hours of driving per day. 2000 miles per day without faster highway speeds and 3500 miles per day with higher safe speeds. Instead of shipping a package overnight for $100-200 per package using planes, can shift overnight for $2-5 per package via fast truck. All commerce becomes faster. GDP can be considered transactions per yearX size of transactions. Faster and cheaper means the system can have 2X3 times the number of transactions with lower added fees for the movement of goods. Service productivity can increase as well

  102. so more stuff and less invention? quantity over quality? ho-hum.
    Some may argue that it has been the increased regulation that has stifled 'raw innovation' as many ingredients and processes into grand, new initiatives are more restrictive (either safety or political or cost).
    Easy Answer: Many sectors have Centres of Excellence – a focus for researchers and labs that are not as publishing-driven as Universities, not as near-term driven as strict for-profit companies, not as poorly-managed as government institutions. Though, it's mostly about do-gooder initiatives such as energy efficiency, CO reduction, chemical safety/ recyclability.

  103. It's a money thing.
    Though, I don't believe the world is zero-sum per se, consumer purchasing power, as defined as what people want to spend money on daily, appears to direct the flow of money, which is quickly followed by the flow of capital investment, which is quickly followed by incentive-driven technical personnel, which is supported by increased tapping-in of related-sector research and development. Consumer electronics, gadgetty cars (to use the technical term); essential, and more recently optional, drugs and medical procedures; increasingly sophisticated entertainment content and delivery systems, food and beverage upgrades, etc.; –which necessarily– diverts research and development; and its underlying science, away from:
    (1) purer and less-goal driven endeavours such as energy, astronomy, non-pharma biology, non-consumer physics/ engineering, non-consumer earth sciences, etc., and
    (2) boring but widespread tech such as agriculture, most building materials and systems, civil and hydro and infrastructure stuff, non-tech factory tech (packaging), etc.
    Also, I think we need a new metric for real technological progress, maybe: # of STEM PhDs? # of patents? $ value of research personel in STEM labs? etc
    POINT: Consumers are not as break-through craving as Others.

  104. -nothing will be able to kill, destroy human. No known disease, virus, bullet, nuke, you will be able to survive jumping into volcano or even into Star. Walk at the bottom of the deepest oceans without any equipment. Live in vacuum of space for long periods of time. Most if not all of our organs with be replaced with super strong (using ultra advanced nano,pico technology and exotic materials which we didn't even invented yet) artificial ones, we will have Superman like strenght, stamina, powers.
    – be able to do some form of shapeshifting,
    – some kind of built in invisibility cloak(we will be able to trick at least less advanced species),
    -teleportation of goods on at least planetary distances
    -we will have ability to fly in vacuum of space using some exotic built in in our bodies propulsion system. Hard to predict distances, but we will be able at least to reach our Moon in reasonable time, so short trips like this may be common
    – who knows, if we discover some new exotic physics and new laws of physics(which we will) we may be even be able to teleport and reach any place in Galaxy/Universe instantly

  105. Good point.

    Very likely we wouldn't have mRNA vaccines for several years yet, without the threat of Covid-19.

    Regulation has slowed down biotech to a halt in many areas, despite of already having the knowledge to solve many real world problems.

    It's only until a public emergency hits, that regulators concede even a little bit.

  106. This decade will be most insane decade ever, a lot of tech will be developed which more and more people will be calling 'magic'.
    Word magic will become popular and will be used very often by people in comments below tech/science vids on YouTube (as long as it'll exist)and various tech articles.
    We could have AGI and also ASI(hard takeoff) this decade, and if we have ASI we basically have Singularity. Soon after AGI/ASI Singularity we can crack tech and have capabilities like:
    -Warp drive
    -aging reversal therapy will be available, cheaply for everyone
    -mind uploading will be trivial
    – terraforming planets in nearby Solar Systems quickly and easily
    -nano and picotech
    – wealth per capita for everyone will be counted in billions to trillions of dollars (1990), one of many reasons for that will be colonization of exoplanets and other space bodies, therefore huge amounts of raw materials/wealth we can create using them, accessible easily for everyone
    -everyone will have some kind of advanced spaceship (able to reach exoplanets)
    -you will be able to live without eating and drinking
    -ultra realistic VR
    -we will choose some nice Earth like planet nearby just for the purpose of making it giant zoo, bringing back to life tons of extinct species, including dinosaurs
    -we will be debating if we should help and uplift technologically species with our level of intelligence that we'll find in galaxy, who may be stuck in pre industrial revolution level of tech

  107. Yes, cars may have not gained in speed, but they have gained in complexity – tens and even hundreds chips and sensors, brought to live by hundreds millions lines of code. Maybe that made them more safe (I would like to read an analysis of this), but it was just an incremental change that not made them more productive, especially when you consider the muscle and brain time that went into it.

    Autonomous vehicles would be on entirely different level, of course. Also long range EVs, when batteries allow it – its a minor win for cars on the outside, but at least a noticeable metric that will greatly help with making ICE vehicles obsolete.

  108. I agree that we have a chance for a great future, because many techs are coming to fruition. Particularly I think that AI, if used for something more practical than deepfakes and dumb smart tech, could fuel the next big future, like computers, flight and others did in the past. You can add to this quantum computing (for its applicability in chemistry), cloud computing, robotics, fast networks (these three go particularly well with AI), biotech (thanks for the godsend mRNA tech)…

    Looking at the past, we can see that transportation, energy and communications have driven the world forward. I'm not big fan of solar and wind (although solar roof is clever, because somewhat liberates energy production) and we have to wait for fusion some more years, but improvements in batteries will make EVs, drones and other robotics and gadgets more useful. Things like fast satellite internet, and mixed reality will help liberate people from the cities. I could go on like this for some time…

    One thing troubling me is that governments stopped spending on big things. Many techs got spilled over the private sector from state's spending on the military tech or from mega projects like "Apollo". And even if Today governments spend on such things, they do it in a dumb way, like F35 or Space Launch System, whose progressiveness is questionable, while at the same time they neglect even the basic infrastructure…

  109. The later changes were in areas that weren't extensively regulated yet, electronics and data processing. Biotech? Honestly, it hasn't advanced nearly as much as you might have hoped, on the application end. 

    WWII accelerated the use of antibiotics, and Covid 19 may have done the same for mRNA vaccines, but a lot of things in biotech that were found in the lab have largely stayed in the lab, due to oppressive regulation.

    I'm particularly bothered by the suppression of progress in the fight against sarcopenia, due to the concerns of sports enthusiasts to keep their games free of "doping". The human benefits foregone have been enormous.

    Take a look some time at a modern Cessna plane, compared to the higher end "experimental" planes built by hobbyists. It's clear that regulation has stalled progress in every field where it has become the norm.

  110. Idiotic 3rd grade extrapolations are not the answer. They have been happening to not much avail. The roadblock we are facing right now is conceptual. Newtonian physics has set us on a path of a materialistic science. It the has brought our technology to a certain level. Once so much can be achieved with this limited mind set. Continue surpassing it keeps getting harder. Our next stage of evolution will come from moving in a different direction, that of awareness development. Our fixation on materialistic knowledge and technology has become a barrier and boundary setter to moving to the next stage, just like Catholicism and religion in general have previously become a barrier to a more expanded understanding of the world after serving its purpose.

  111. technology stagnation? rediculous. Today's cars and airplanes are far more advanced thanthey were a decade ago. So are the computers. Things are advancing . . . under the hood.

    We've got gravitational detectors and higgs boson particle accelerators. The astronomical teleescopes are advancing and will continue to advance.

    I could go on and on about the advancements that have been made.

  112. Agreed. The changes in the first half of the 20th century were in big, loud, visible things.

    The changes later were mostly in small, nearly imperceptible ones. Microprocessor tech, biotech, software, AI, all these dwell in the realm of the very small.

    There has been growth in energy and production as well, no doubt, but those have been incremental ones, the kind that don't excite the imagination.

    Travel hasn't got much faster since the middle of the century, but much more people now use airplanes and fast trains (or did before the pandemic) and own cars across the world. That's also progress, just mundane.

    This outcome still is progress, but it's also kind of a bummer for those expecting substantive changes in terms of prosperity or things we could feel and see with our very eyes, and not just through instruments.

    Space travel for mass consumption would be a substantive, big, loud and visible new thing; one hour travel abroad would also be it. Living untethered, with Internet and electricity anywhere would be another.

    So yes, there's a chance for other roaring 20s in this century.

  113. Peter talks about the last 50, not the last 100 years. And he is right.

    EDIT: I see that Brian corrected the article.

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