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  1. #31
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    I can understand why someone might try to make the argument Reason is making, but I think it's based upon a false premise, that technological advancement must be visible or follow the predictions from the 1950s. If technological advancement followed the predictions from the 1950s, we'd all have flying cars and be wearing silver unitards (as Robopop pointed out). Not fulfilling those predictions doesn't mean that technological advancement has slowed down, though. It just means we've gone in a different direction. We've sequenced the human genome and we're growing organs for transplantation because those are far more useful than flying cars and silver unitards.
    Good point with the organs. Our biotech has become so advanced that I can scarcely believe. I feel we are on the precipice of sweeping changed due to those.

    But your last line also foresaw something I was going to say. We don't have flying cars because that would be a stupid idea, not because we can't do it.

    So, I mean, Reason can stand by his point, but I don't see that Reason has a reason for believing it.
    Last edited by Magic Poriferan; 01-29-2012 at 03:45 PM.
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  2. #32
    Senior Member Robopop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    I can understand why someone might try to make the argument Reason is making, but I think it's based upon a false premise, that technological advancement must be visible or follow the predictions from the 1950s. If technological advancement followed the predictions from the 1950s, we'd all have flying cars and be wearing silver unitards (as Robopop pointed out). Not fulfilling those predictions doesn't mean that technological advancement has slowed down, though. It just means we've gone in a different direction. We've sequenced the human genome and we're growing organs for transplantation because those are far more useful than flying cars and silver unitards.

    P.S. In the case of artificial intelligence, people underestimated how difficult it would be to create and how much processing power would be required.
    That is a good point, alot of people think linearly about future trends and they literally miss all these vast innovations in areas like biotechnology and information technology, they still have some flimsy 1950s sci fi expectation about the future. Alot of people don't realize that alot of trends are expotential or even cyclincal in nature(the process of information technology is expotential for instance, some economists and historians think economic and cultural trends are cyclincal).
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  3. #33
    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    I wonder if @reason is relatively young. I don't see how anybody who witnessed the transition to the internet/information age could claim nothing significant happened. Most of us agree everything changed in very strange ways.

  4. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Orangey View Post
    I kind of agree. This is the type of horseshit that tends to come from luddite academics with postmodern intellectual sensibilities (i.e., shit sensibilities.) They're all usually old, fat 60s fanatics to boot.

    Also, it just seems generally shortsighted/arrogant/narrow to suggest that we're some sort of "end of cultural history." Not to mention extremely melodramatic.
    And narcissistic. Every baby boomer with an old pair of bell-bottoms tucked in the attic needs to quit pretending they are direct arbiters for The Beatles, our sexual revolution, and the end of the Vietnam War. It wasn't all Woodstocky peace-love-transcendent utopia. Some of it was Altamont Free Concert.

    We need to stop pretending that somehow each generation is creatively and morally imploding. We're always evolving. Some ways better, some ways debatable. It makes me wonder if devolution isn't one of those pretend concepts like 'objective', 'normal', or 'perfect'.
    "The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things." - Rainer Maria Rilke

  5. #35
    Senior Member reason's Avatar
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    My last comment was sarcastic. I did not claim that advances in technology during the last thirty years had not made a significant difference to peoples' well-being. I suggested that the last thirty years or so had not kept pace with the thirty year period before that. This is not a particularly controversial proposition among economists--the controversy is more about how to explain it, e.g. Tyler Cowen's The Great Stagnation.

    As a free-market fundamentalist and Tea Party sympathiser, I shouldn't be surprised. I've been complaining for years how big government (e.g. ever more burdensome regulation, monopolisation of education, growth retarding IP laws, couterproductive welfare schemes, and greater federal control of everyday life) would damper prosperity, innovation, and human well-being. I'd be surprised if the last thirty years had kept pace with the thirty before, and they certainly haven't kept pace with the thirty years before that.
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

  6. #36
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reason View Post
    My last comment was sarcastic. I did not claim that advances in technology during the last thirty years had not made a significant difference to peoples' well-being. I suggested that the last thirty years or so had not kept pace with the thirty year period before that. This is not a particularly controversial proposition among economists--the controversy is more about how to explain it, e.g. Tyler Cowen's The Great Stagnation.

    As a free-market fundamentalist and Tea Party sympathiser, I shouldn't be surprised. I've been complaining for years how big government (e.g. ever more burdensome regulation, monopolisation of education, growth retarding IP laws, couterproductive welfare schemes, and greater federal control of everyday life) would damper prosperity, innovation, and human well-being. I'd be surprised if the last thirty years had kept pace with the thirty before, and they certainly haven't kept pace with the thirty years before that.
    So basically, if it doesn't lead to an increase in GDP, it doesn't count? Sorry, but I reject the premise that if something cannot be exploited for profit that it has no value. There are some things that the "free market" will never value properly.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  7. #37
    Feline Member kelric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    Culture is more than just art. Culture is also technology, and in that sense our culture is moving faster than ever.
    Quote Originally Posted by Qlip View Post
    I don't see how anybody who witnessed the transition to the internet/information age could claim nothing significant happened. Most of us agree everything changed in very strange ways.
    This. If you're looking at music, movies, and fashion (all things that I know staggeringly little about, granted), you might be able to make the observation that there hasn't been as clear a distinction between the early 90's and 2012 as from the 50's, 70's, etc. Maybe.

    But if you're looking at culture as a whole? Staggering differences. The internet is really just the most obvious example. Video games, for example, as a cultural item existed prior to the early 90's, but their impact upon the culture was pretty nonexistent outside of niche groups. Not so, now. The idea that you can communicate basically instantly with people from all corners of the world with minimal effort or cost -- also huge. When I was in college, I basically lost track of a friend who spent two years in Greece. Letters only, with 3-week transit times. Now? We live thousands of miles apart and play computer games together once a week (with live voice-chat). The mere presence of cell phones, much less their ubiquity, has had a tremendous affect on our culture in terms of communication, relationships with our parents, etc.

    One might say that this is technology, and not culture... but the two aren't separable, really, anymore. Technology has a much larger impact upon our culture than it did in the 80's, even. That in itself is probably at least as "different" than any of the changes from the 70's to the 50's, etc.
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  8. #38
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kelric View Post
    This. If you're looking at music, movies, and fashion (all things that I know staggeringly little about, granted), you might be able to make the observation that there hasn't been as clear a distinction between the early 90's and 2012 as from the 50's, 70's, etc. Maybe.

    But if you're looking at culture as a whole? Staggering differences. The internet is really just the most obvious example. Video games, for example, as a cultural item existed prior to the early 90's, but their impact upon the culture was pretty nonexistent outside of niche groups. Not so, now. The idea that you can communicate basically instantly with people from all corners of the world with minimal effort or cost -- also huge. When I was in college, I basically lost track of a friend who spent two years in Greece. Letters only, with 3-week transit times. Now? We live thousands of miles apart and play computer games together once a week (with live voice-chat). The mere presence of cell phones, much less their ubiquity, has had a tremendous affect on our culture in terms of communication, relationships with our parents, etc.

    One might say that this is technology, and not culture... but the two aren't separable, really, anymore. Technology has a much larger impact upon our culture than it did in the 80's, even. That in itself is probably at least as "different" than any of the changes from the 70's to the 50's, etc.
    The definition for culture that I prefer is: knowledge passed from one generation to another. Using that definition, other species also have cultures (ie. killer whales teaching their offspring to kill great white sharks by flipping them upside down), though they're evolving at a much slower pace than human culture.

    You can't assign an economic value to the ability to communicate with almost anyone in the world instantly. That's just one example of why I have a problem with Reason's position.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  9. #39
    Senior Member reason's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    So basically, if it doesn't lead to an increase in GDP, it doesn't count? Sorry, but I reject the premise that if something cannot be exploited for profit that it has no value. There are some things that the "free market" will never value properly.
    Erm, no. That isn't what I said.
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

  10. #40
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reason View Post
    Erm, no. That isn't what I said. Not even close.
    The article you linked tried to use economic calculations to measure technological advancement. I extrapolated your position from that. Why don't you come out and clearly state your position rather than trying to snipe from the sidelines?
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

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