Tag Archives: Black Swan

Rate of innovation, too high? Displacing our humanity?

If technology is moving so fast that the past and present are not predictors of future trends, that is a serious problem.

Continuity starts to fade.

Have you ever wondered why people put so much effort into saving a historic building or preserving some artifact? When I was a young technologist I would have razed it all if it meant progress could move faster, but today I am a bit wiser. In the last few years, I have been moving a lot, and have been disrupting my own personal continuity. New friends, new buildings, new places to eat, new everything. Even my family seems…. more distant, not because of distances, but in May my parents started pursuing a divorce. So, for me, nothing is the same, except a few core friends; some of which moved out here. My happiness went way up when they got here, and a small savory piece of continuity was restored for me.

So, what I have realized is that Continuity is what makes us human. And as a result we have rich pasts and experiences to draw from. We have all of recorded history to define and differentiate us. ( of only about 10,000 years ) What will humans know of us 10,000 years from now? What will be preserved? What will be our Iliad? Our Bible? A dark age in Continuity is a dark age in the human spirit. We need continuity to be more than animals.

With out Continuity we may exist in a state of perfect societal flow, and may even transcend into this singularity thing, but really what breaks down? Philosophy will fail? Reason spanning seasons will fail, and a prolonged desire to plan will fail. If you disagree with this, then why is it that the north is more productive than anywhere else in the world. Why is it that winter climates seem to evoke the need to be productive? Why do the Sweeds make the coolest lights? Necessity breads innovation.

Jared Diamond who has written Guns, Germs, and Steal, and Collapse seems to evoke the notion that having to plan for winter each year played a large role in human and human cultural development.

If technology moves so fast that planing and thinking about the future are fruitless, we are in chaos. We might even be without what we call humanity. We will be confined to the present, making decisions on instinct and gut checks rather than thoughtful discourse. We will be in a stress survival mode, which will remove us from higher thought. The poor are often challenged in this way, and study after study shows that the poor spend more money on the same activities. They spend more on food ( percentage wise ), more on transportation, etc… We should strive for the sort of wealth that allows us the pleasure to think and share.

If this erks you, it should. If you disagree, then you might need to check out the Long Now Foundation, which hopes to create a sense of continuity for us into the future.


I am beginning to think that John Nash’s work ( a beautiful mind ) is more meaningful economically at a society level, than at a company a,b,c level. I think as a society we should no longer seek maximums. “Maximums are the root of too much evil, as they lack the room to account for exceptions.” “A maximized system cannot leave room for the Black Swan, and are fragile by nature, asking to be toppled.” John Nash’s work suggests that in a competitive system one will find a more efficient use of resources going for 2nd best rather than the best. So, in the argument of sustainability, continuity, and stability; maximums undermine our ability’s by overvaluing now when compared to the past and future.

As a society we need to to create an economics that has room for “grace”.