The Technological Time Frame - Deepstash

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The Unimaginable Future of Technology

The Technological Time Frame

The philosophical futurologist's perspective is that the rate of change for our technology has outpaced anything we could predict in the future.

In the past, the Greeks understood the very basics of chemistry, yet it took 5,000 years after that to develop the basic models of chemistry we now understand. In contrast, with our modern advancements, it took only 70 years from the invention of man-made flight to send humans to the moon and back.

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Hangzhou in 12th century CE China
Hangzhou in 12th century CE China
  • During the late Song Dynasty, with the innovation of printing and manufacturing, the Song came closer to initiating an industrial revolution than any other premodern state.
  • The Song empire became the richest on Earth through trade and industry. The capital, Hangzhou, was the wealthiest and most populous city in the world.
  • Song-era China became the first country to print paper money. It was easier to carry in large amounts than metal coins. Hangzhou served as the center of money-printing.
Living during the Song era in Hangzhou
  • The average Chinese person had increased growth in their income level as the economy expanded.
  • The economy grew due to new technological and agricultural advances and efficient trade routes.
  • The era saw an increase in international trade, as Chinese merchants expanded their trade networks up to East Africa. Using paper money helped motivate people to deal with larger transactions than before.
  • During a visit in the 13th century CE, Italian explorer Marco Polo described Hangzhou as the most magnificent city in the world.
Innovations in Hangzhou
  • Hangzhou has been an important city since the 7th century CE, when its Grand Canal was built to connect the urban centre to Beijing. It is the world's longest artificial river.
  • Woodblock printing developed in Buddhist monasteries to reproduce spiritual texts. During the Song era, it was widely adopted for non-religious purposes and supercharged intellectual life in the Song dynasty.
  • Hangzhou was a place of great creativity. In the 11th century CE, polymath Shen Kuo (1031 - 1095 CE) invented the magnetic compass, drew the world's first topographical map, and recorded the process of sedimentation.
  • Other technological breakthroughs includes the compass, the first mechanical clocks, and the invention of forensic science.
  • The economic and technological advancements of the Song era translated into improving living conditions for the average person.

We cannot understand ourselves if we do not understand others. Getting to know others requires avoiding the twin dangers of overestimating either how much we have in common or how much divides us.

To travel around the world’s philosophies is an opportunity to challenge beliefs we take for granted. By gaining greater knowledge of how others think, we can become less certain of the...
To travel around the world’s philosophies is an opportunity to challenge beliefs we take for granted. By gaining greater knowledge of how others think, we can become less certain of the knowledge we think we have, which is always the first step to greater understanding.
We should not be afraid to ground ourselves in our own traditions, but we should not be bound by them.
We should not be afraid to ground ourselves in our own traditions, but we should not be bound by them.
The status shift
Busyness proselytizers suggest that Thorstein Veblen’s fin de siècle theory of “conspicuous consumption,” whereby the moneyed class establishes its status through ostentatious spending, has reversed itself: that prestige now derives from public displays of personal industriousness, not empty extravagance. 
We take on more
New convenience technologies have never resulted in more leisure time.
When we reach each new Utopia we're neither closer nor further from a true life of leisure. Rather than offload work, we choose equilibrium, absorbing our gains so as to take on more.
Working less

If we ever want to reach a workless society — or at least one where we work less — it won’t do to rely on dispassionate historical or technological forces to bring it about. 

Instead, we’ll have to get it for ourselves.