Growing Pains

When I was in high school Alvin Toffler published a book entitled Future Shock. In it he described a condition that resulted from too much change too fast. The fact is, the amount of and acceleration in the rate of change has continued to grow in the fifty years since Toffler did his study. Future shock has become more and more acute.

Ray Kurzweil studied the rate of change in his book The Singularity is Near. It turns out that no matter which dimension of technological change you measure they all are growing at an exponential rate. If you plot an exponential curve you discover that it goes up at an ever increasing rate until it reaches the point where it spikes to infinity.

Unless something constrains it from continuing to grow at that rate. Like for instance the laws of physics. Or, in the case of social and economic change, the ability of human beings to adapt to change. For millennia the fundamental rate of change that people had to deal with was measured in centuries for the most part.

And the number of things that were changing was few at any one time. You had one or two innovators per generation. Today we have thousands of innovators in any given field of endeavor. Add to that instant access to all that technical knowledge on the internet and we’re in for a hell of a roller coaster ride.

We went from an industrial based economy, to a service based economy, and most recently to an information based economy. We have enough resources that everyone in the world could live like royalty but instead we are at the mercy of the one percent that have concentrated control of 99 percent of the wealth. Things look grim.

Except for one saving fact. This minority can only get away with what we let them get away with. We have to take an active role in electing representatives and senators that will put our interests first. We have to work together to become the change that we want to see.

Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.