Technology allows us to optimize around very narrow criteria. If we turn that optimization ability towards changing society. We can end up emphasizing one potential future, based around a narrow set of values over other potential futures with other values. Conceivably abandoning many long standing values regardless of how useful they are. This is analogous to the transit systems of many large cities, in particular the Bay Area, where all the lines stay together for awhile and it doesn't matter what value you emphasize, but introduce technology and suddenly optimizing one value over another results in radically different results.
Last week I compared life to a video game. A video game where the number of players continues to increase, meaning that our collective knowledge of how best to play the game should also be increasing, except that at the same time the version of game we’re playing is also changing. As an aside I also mentioned that it’s becoming harder to know if we’re winning. This week I’d like to take that thought and expand upon it. What does it mean to be winning the video game? Or, to go a step further why are we even playing the game?
If humans gradually figure out how best to live, then we should give a lot of weight to what has already been figured out over the years. But what if we end up with more humans? Do the behaviors of a billion current people count more than a million historical people? At first glance the answer is an obvious yes, but what if we add in the complication that current conditions are rapidly changing? Is it possible that behavior can't keep up? In this episode we examine the question and compare years of experience vs. human experienced years.
It's the beginning of the year and time to do the annual revisiting of my predictions. Not much has changed in 2018, so I spend much of the episode examining some of the current trends. In particular I think the rise of populism in Europe and America is going to make things interesting for the foreseeable future.