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  1. #11
    will make your day Carebear's Avatar
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    Great post, Splittet. It has to be said though, that the decreasing number of innovations and patents doesn't have to mean there is less innovation going on, but rather that the simple inventions have "all" been made, so the complexity of current innovation has to go up. This means that larger number of people have to work for a longer time on each innovation, but it wouldn't be fair to say this means there is less innovation than before. Though the back scratcher, the shoehorn and the can opener are indeed great innovations, they can't really be compared with the latest Japanese robots, QuadCore prosessors or the cure for previously lethal diseases.
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  2. #12
    will make your day Carebear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    Since then we had many inventions/innovations, but the big ones that stand out in my mind are: nuclear power, the transistor, and the internet.

    Of those, nuclear power's novel effects on society has been largely negative. The non-novel effects are to provide electricity, which is good.
    You're forgetting the understanding of isotopes and it's use in diagnostic medicine as a by product of the research into nuclear power. That one has really had a positive, novel effect on society.
    I have arms for a fucking reaosn, so come hold me. Then we'll fuvk! Whoooooh! - GZA

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carebear View Post
    You're forgetting the understanding of isotopes and it's use in diagnostic medicine as a by product of the research into nuclear power. That one has really had a positive, novel effect on society.
    True that is another one, but its not really a novel effect, just an improvement on what we was already being done. I suppose the distinction is arbitrary, but compared to germ theory, how many diseases would radioisotopes affect.

    As for patents, things like the George Foreman grill has a patent. Also, the countless number of Ron Co. inventions. You know, of "set it and forget it" fame. So too do things like logos (to protect brands). These are the back scratchers and shoehorns of today.

    I don't think anyone can dispute that the technology of today surpasses those that came earlier. But I think the claim is that the delta in technology (which is what innovation is about) is slowing down.

    True, we are making more complicated devices than ever before, but we are basing those devices on innovations past, and productivity gains that should have come from innovations past.

    Imagine not having an automobile to go to work, having to do night-work by candle light or oil lamp. Imagine not even knowing(or having strong doubts) that germs exist when finding cures.

    Still, I did leave off another major set of needs/wants that could be aided by mass-custom-manufacturing (leisure time). Imagine being able to simply design anything, and not have to worry about the ability to manufacture it. The way I idealize it, is to have a general purpose "synthesizer" in everybody's home (or internet cafe). You can do an internet search for something you want to do in an automated way, find a machine/device that does that, and order that one be made for you. At this point, the design gets downloaded and synthesized.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
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  4. #14
    Senior Member aeon's Avatar
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    These stats are per capita. Consider the explosive nature of population in the last 200 years, and then since 1960. It isn't that innovation is ending - it is a function of population growth.


    cheers,
    Ian

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by aeon View Post
    These stats are per capita. Consider the explosive nature of population in the last 200 years, and then since 1960. It isn't that innovation is ending - it is a function of population growth.


    cheers,
    Ian
    The title was a bit of a dramatization. I don't think we are going to end innovation per say.

    But why are the per capita numbers going down? While the population has been increasing, why has the innovation rate also not gone up?

    Theories offered include (but not limited to):
    1) Innovation itself has become harder.
    2) We are about ready to experience another boom.
    3) Some nondescript unpopular theory that matches well with the dates.
    4) There isn't as much need/desire for it.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  6. #16
    will make your day Carebear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    The title was a bit of a dramatization. I don't think we are going to end innovation per say.

    But why are the per capita numbers going down? While the population has been increasing, why has the innovation rate also not gone up?

    Theories offered include (but not limited to):
    1) Innovation itself has become harder.
    2) We are about ready to experience another boom.
    3) Some nondescript unpopular theory that matches well with the dates.
    4) There isn't as much need/desire for it.
    5) The population boom has occurred in poor, uneducated parts of the world, and have therefore not contributed with significant innovation, but with an immense number of people, making the ratio go down.
    Fixed!

    Nr. 5 does not explain the fall in US patents, but it does explain the other graph. In fact it seems the total number of technical breakthroughs has gone considerably up since the peak in that graph (around mid 19th century). 20 x the 1.2-1.4 billion people living at that time is less than half of the 8 x 6+ billion current population.
    I have arms for a fucking reaosn, so come hold me. Then we'll fuvk! Whoooooh! - GZA

  7. #17
    will make your day Carebear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    True that is another one, but its not really a novel effect, just an improvement on what we was already being done. I suppose the distinction is arbitrary, but compared to germ theory, how many diseases would radioisotopes affect.
    Arbitrary distinction indeed, as it was very novel if you zoom in from the bird's eye perspective, but I see what you mean. They are used in 2% or something of western diagnostic medicine, and compared to germ theory the breakthrough is rather small (but then again you're comparing it to the titan of medical breathroughs).

    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    As for patents, things like the George Foreman grill has a patent. Also, the countless number of Ron Co. inventions. You know, of "set it and forget it" fame. So too do things like logos (to protect brands). These are the back scratchers and shoehorns of today.
    Ah, yes I see what you mean.

    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    I don't think anyone can dispute that the technology of today surpasses those that came earlier. But I think the claim is that the delta in technology (which is what innovation is about) is slowing down.
    Sounds likely, but if the proposed explanations have any merit, it's not very alarming.

    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    Still, I did leave off another major set of needs/wants that could be aided by mass-custom-manufacturing (leisure time). Imagine being able to simply design anything, and not have to worry about the ability to manufacture it. The way I idealize it, is to have a general purpose "synthesizer" in everybody's home (or internet cafe). You can do an internet search for something you want to do in an automated way, find a machine/device that does that, and order that one be made for you. At this point, the design gets downloaded and synthesized.
    I fear it wouldn't really change much though. It'd just mean that instead of the actual products being expensive the "recipes" would be, and they'd come so heavily restricted and copyright protected it'd be much the same as buying the product in the first place. Ah, hm, but idealized... yes, in an idealized world that's how it'd work. (Except you forgot to mention that the synthesizer would also be playable, so while it worked on synthesizing a new product you could pass time by playing "tubular bells", "axel f", "popcorn" and other synthesizer hits from the 70's and 80's. )
    I have arms for a fucking reaosn, so come hold me. Then we'll fuvk! Whoooooh! - GZA

  8. #18
    Senior Member LostInNerSpace's Avatar
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    Something does not seem right with these charts. It may be that the patent office has issued fewer patents, but there may well be confounding factors at play. I don't really know patent law, but it's possible that many technical break throughs rely on existing patented technology and therefore cannot themselves be patented.

    The internet has increased access to information and speed up the R&D life cycles exponentially. I would be suspicous of exactly how they are measuring the number of new innovations.

  9. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carebear View Post
    I fear it wouldn't really change much though. It'd just mean that instead of the actual products being expensive the "recipes" would be, and they'd come so heavily restricted and copyright protected it'd be much the same as buying the product in the first place. Ah, hm, but idealized... yes, in an idealized world that's how it'd work. (Except you forgot to mention that the synthesizer would also be playable, so while it worked on synthesizing a new product you could pass time by playing "tubular bells", "axel f", "popcorn" and other synthesizer hits from the 70's and 80's. )
    Its hard to imagine that popular things wouldn't get hacked or cracked and widely distributed, however (and following the .mp3 trend, of eventually being cheap enough that far fewer people steal than buy). Seems like there would be more of a move to service economy, globally (like in the U.S. presently). The models may lean towards selling things at a low price and charging a lot for support (and/or requiring a high priced license for support).

    Quote Originally Posted by LostInNerSpace View Post
    Something does not seem right with these charts. It may be that the patent office has issued fewer patents, but there may well be confounding factors at play. I don't really know patent law, but it's possible that many technical break throughs rely on existing patented technology and therefore cannot themselves be patented.

    The internet has increased access to information and speed up the R&D life cycles exponentially. I would be suspicous of exactly how they are measuring the number of new innovations.
    Again, the statement is about the rate pf improvement in the technologies (which is what innovation is) not on the quality/power of the technologies themselves.

    Also, it is a per capita number.

    I believe the second graph is just based on number of patents.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  10. #20
    Senior Member htb's Avatar
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    Arise, thread; arise!

    Imagine undulation, Ygolo, along an incline. Think in wider, more dynamic terms.

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