Thursday, April 02, 2015

Super Intelligence and Super Production

If you think the world has sped up a hell of a lot in your life time, you are not wrong.

In fact, almost everything that has ever happened has occurred in the last 50 years.

The graph below, is from Nick Bostrom's book, Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies, and shows world Gross Domestic Product from 8000 BC until today.

Even when we edit the graph to reflect the last 200 years of history, the real story is that almost everything has occurred in my lifetime.


Gaddy Bergmann said...

Most of the business may have happened recently, sure, but not most of the stuff in general. There were still important things happening way back when (and now) that may not have calculable monetary value.

PBurns said...

Most of the human stuff happened very recently because most of the humans happened very recently.

See this graph >>

It took 12,000 years, to 1830, to get to the first billion people on earth.

The second billion was 1930.

The third billion was 1960, the fourth billion 1975, the fifth billion was around 1987, the sixth billion around 1999, and today we are at about 7.2 billion.

Quite literally, for the first 10,000 years, every day was Groundhog Day.

Gaddy Bergmann said...

I see your point: more people, more people-related activities. I get that. But I don't think it's reasonable to say that, just because there are more people now, that means most of the stuff is happening now. We mustn't confuse quantity for quality.

If you define "people" as anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens, including those with gene introgression from Neanderthals and Denisovans), then some massively important things happened a long time ago. The first time people left Africa was about 50,000 years ago. Likewise, the first migration into Australia was 35,000 years ago, and into the Americas was 14,000 years ago. The advent of agriculture (for better or worse) was 10,000 years ago. There were not many people around then, but those are very significant events, so I wouldn't call them just "Groundhog's Day" over and over again.

PBurns said...

Unless being used a modifier for a word like "important," most means in the greatest quantity, amount, or measure. I would agree with you that the most important thing in history probably occurred a very long time ago -- the discovery of how to make and transport fire. After that, the ability to make any metal is pretty massive. That said, the third, fourth, and fifth game changer are pretty modern: vaccines, antibiotics, and chlorinated water. Those are really very new -- about 100 years old or less for the most part.