Malthus & Technology

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doc's picture
doc
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 30 2008
Posts: 3
Malthus & Technology

You should not speak about the clash between population growth and resource constraints without reference to Malthus. You should also talk about the numerous occasions when the Malthusian argument has been applied and been proven hopeless wrong. You should then explain why "this time it is different". However, it is not different this time. Malthus is always wrong because (like you) he provided no explicit place for human creativity and technological innovation. All those additional people consuming resources also reflect extra people generating knowledge and using their imagination.
I think that the graphs in Ray Kurzweil's book (The Singularity is Near) are illuminating. You will see there how whenever unmanageable limits to growth/development appear, something new seems to emerge. It might encourage you to have a lecture devoted to technology -- it is also an exponential curve. Your 4th box!! (For example, I am currently working on a powerful technology related to mastery of human awareness and creativity.)
I look forward to your next two lectures.
Best wishes
Doc

rickets's picture
rickets
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 8 2009
Posts: 238
Positive thinking and data?

I have started reading Kurzweil's book "The Singularity is Near).

I find his data and optimism pretty compelling.  The idea that innovation and solutions are growing exponentially, and that resourse depletion, food, energy issues....etc, will be solved with breakthroughs that are not 30 years away, but rather 5 or 10.  He has some very interesting thoughts on how progress is almost always underestimated and why.  I am learning a ton from him - whether I agree or not with all he says.

Anyway, I am not that far through this book, but I imagine many in this community are like me - - -and would love a compelling read filled with optimism rather than doom and gloom.  Anyone read this and anyone have any thoughts?

Johnny Oxygen's picture
Johnny Oxygen
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 9 2009
Posts: 1443
Re: Malthus & Technology

Hi Rickets

I haven't read the book but this idea of technology advancing and saving the day was a topic here not too long ago. I think the argument against it was that the new technology would take resources to develop that wouldn't be available as things get worse. And that the technologies that would 'save-the-day' are really much further away then they promise.

I dunno. It would be nice but I don't see it happening.

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