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Occupy? Tea Party? Pipeline!

Attention Boston progressives! Join us for this incredible opportunity to chat with the inimitable Theda Skocpol & join a NATIONAL conversation on the future of the progressive movement!

Tuesday, Feb 21 @ 6pm. Cambridge. Be there and make

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Cultural Effects of Exponential Growth

The very dangerous reality that human kind has the potential to create technological potential that our societies will be divided on regarding how we should and shouldn’t use it, was enough to scare me of the hyper-individuality that I’d witness in the 20th century, and inspire all of the writing in Integrationalism.

Ray Kurzweil talks above about exponential growth versus linear growth. Its actually very basic mathematics to the formally educated… The mathematical fact that something can be multiplied by itself instead of by some constant coefficient. Traditionally we’ve thought of growth as linear. we start with something (e.g. ‘1’), and build onto it by some constant (e.g. ‘2’) and so the series goes 1, 2, 4, 8,…n —> But our technological growth over the centuries (as long as we’ve managed to retain and control knowledge of existing technologies) has been exponential where (e.g. 2×2=4 and 4×4=16 and 16×16=256). While the growth is small in the beginning, at a point the body of things (technological knowledge in this case) starts to affect change at a vast sweeping rate. 256×256=65536 and 4294967296 and so on.

Most of my sociologist and psychologist friend as me how could I be a technological determinist over being a social constructivist….and while I have a more fundamental argument that I will share in some later article, I’d sometimes like to use the exponents (exponential growth example) to show that technological progression outpaces social progression; further, making it unlikely that social sentiments influence our potential over the scientific outliers who better represent counterculture in their efforts design solutions to problems. It’s a bit elitist, eh?

Having addressed the lack of human kind spearheading changes in society, I think its valuable to consider what are the cultural effects of exponential growth in some of the emerging technologies and their ability to product information technologies? This is one of the questions that I’ll be conducting thought experiments and trying to gather empirical data on i the near future. I’ve said before that

“Sciences…Technologies of sorts, only start to become
valuable when they create Information Technologies, this is when we
start to understand things that are not intuitive.”

The picture in this post is from William Sims Bainbridge’s innovation model and shows the logical method by which technological solutions, where they be biological, computer based, IT based, or other, will engage us. When I consider the model and Kurzweil’s exponential growth, I’m a beyond worried about losing the brain potential of the nearly 7 billion people that will surely believe that nanotechnologies and the like are a direct result of magic. We should not take lightly that during our (what will seem like a) rapid explosion of technological ability we might lose the formerly humaistic connections formed during the present integration period of globalization. Will we use nanotechnologies as an information technology to continually update everyone on everything, generating a society of calculation instead of superstition?Regardless of if it is desirable or not, living in the know is theoretically inevitable. The valuable question is; how many of us will be there?

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