By Guest Author Frank H. Levinson
In the previous two segments, we looked at what a Singularity was and as part of evidence for the possibility of a technology singularity, we studied the frequency of five scientific revolutions. Let us now analyze the impact of these revolutions.
It is perhaps hard for us to realize that the impact of each of these last five revolutions, measured by their pervasive effects which underpin modern life, is as important as the domestication of agriculture or creation of geometry millennia ago. But the modern ones have a much greater social impact because they arise, become widely available and approach near ubiquitous use in vastly shorter adoption times.
Graphically this looks like –
The impact of the agricultural revolution diffused over 2000+ years. This is because all humans were nomadic before this and as each group of nomadic humans learned to farm, they would settle down and begin to create more complex societies that included governments, religions, and the roots of business.
Subsequent revolutions could occur more quickly because then people were organized into larger groups, and communications between different groups could be done by traveling to where they were in the past! Ideas could be reliably shared and published.
But our first graph, with its long view, clouds the amazingly fast action of the last 100 years, so let’s drop the data bump for the agricultural revolution and replot just the last 2500 years –
What you see is that time between revolutions keeps shrinking AND the rapidity for widespread diffusion of the impact for each revolution to reach the whole world also is accelerating. The combination of these two facts means that the overall impact on our social/political/economic fabric for these revolutions is much greater than even 50 years ago.
This graph is one way to view humanity’s overall movement towards the Singularity.
Today, we have multiple revolutions occurring in a single human lifetime coupled with our ability to instantaneously share information around the world. The impact of these new revolutions happens on a timescale where government, religions, and even economic systems cannot evolve fast enough to manage or control this pace of innovation.
In the next installment, we will try to catalog the modern intersubjective realities (ISRs) that have co-evolved with the ever faster scientific revolutions and push to see how these have historically interacted and why things may be breaking down today.
This segment is a part in the series : Man and Superman