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The Unimaginable Future of Technology

Misconceptions About the Future of Technology

Futurology skeptics who believe advancement is coming to an end do not consider the progress we are not yet able to understand.

DaVinci and Galileo may have contributed hugely to technological advancement in their times, but even they could not comprehend the future of today. Computing power could radically be improved through the invention of a quantum computer, and power generation could still face improvement.

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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.
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.
Human nature is more than biology
Human nature is more than biology

The level of happiness is part of our genetic makeup - we have a set level and cannot rise above or fall below it.

Some scientists envision the day that we can manipulate our happiness ge...

Quantifying happiness

Happiness has always been difficult to quantify because it is subjective, depending on if you have a short- or a long-term outlook on life. Recently, researchers have started to distinguish between two types of happiness: 

  • Hedonic happiness that provides a mental high;
  • Eudaimonic happiness, a sense of well-being which involves a life well-lived.
The staples of happiness

People will always be happy when they see their children prosper when they feel loved, secure, and well-fed.

But, this formula for happiness is so obvious that most people dismiss it. They would rather look for a secret ingredient. The answer is that there is no secret.

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 reverse...
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.