Thursday, February 1, 2007

The Prospect for Change in the Coming Century

The 20th century started with no automobile or air travel to speak of, or without at theory of atoms. Teddy Roosevelt had not yet started pushing the modern conservation movement and building out our national park system. The 20th century ended with supercomputers communicating over the internet, genetic engineering, nuclear power, space shuttles flights, studies of planets in other solar systems, and extensive studies of the changes to Earth’s climate that we were causing.

Will that be the greatest century of change in the history of humanity? Is the path that civilization is on represented by what is called an “S curve” that looks like the curve below?

Remarkable as this century of change is, all indications are that the coming century will introduce even greater changes. And more surprisingly, this amount of change could take place in just the first 50 or 60 years of the 21st century. In other words, the rate of change is actually accelerating, and the path of civilization will look more like the exponential curve here.

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