Our Future – Chapter 30

 

Perhaps we could integrate the wisdoms of history into our present culture with the hope for a stable and prosperous future. With that in mind, let’s consider the Digital Age we are presently in. Computers mark the start of the Digital Age. In 1954, IBM announced it was no longer planning to use vacuum tubes in its computers and introduced its first computer that had 2000 transistors. The transistor is the primary building block of all microchips, including your CPU, and is what creates the binary 0's and 1's (bits) which your computer uses to function. The transistor is the basic building block of computers. In 1965 a gentleman by the name of Gordon Moore, the co-founder of Intel, wrote a paper that predicted the doubling every year of the number of transistors in computers.  In 1975 he revised that prediction to doubling every 2 years. From that time until the present, as seen below, his prediction was remarkably accurate.  This exponential growth in the number of transistors in computers is referred to as Moore’s Law.

Chart 1

This chart expresses the growth in logarithmic or exponential format. For a better visual understanding of the above chart, let’s break that chart down into 3 simplified pieces shown on regular numerical graphs.

 

Below is the growth of the transistor count in computers from 1969 to 1990:

 

Graph 1

Note the growth seen in in Graph 1 is not visible in Graph 2. Those values are too small to be seen in a regular graph. By 2005, computers had 184 million transistors.

 

Below is the growth of the transistor count in computers from 1969 to 2017 in three year increments:

 

Graph 3

Note the growth seen in Graphs 1 and 2 are so small they are not visible in Graph 3. By 2017, computers had 19 billion transistors.

 

So let’s look now at a simplified version of the exponential Chart 1 shown above generated with the same transistor data as the 3 graphs above:

Chart 2

The graph above shows the exponential growth of the computer transistor count over time in a nearly straight line on a logarithmic scale.

 

 

What about the rate of evolutionary change of life on planet earth? What about the rate of social change since the advent of civilization? 

 

The Universe is 13.5 billion years old. 

The Earth was formed 4.5 billion years ago.

Biochemical Life appeared on Earth 3.8 billion years ago. 

Multicellular organisms appeared 1.5 billion years ago.

Fish appeared 500 million years ago.

Reptiles appeared 320 million years ago.

Mammals appeared 200 million years ago.

The first primates appeared 85 million years ago.

The great apes, Hominidae, appeared 15 million years ago.

Austalopithecus, the southern ape, appeared 4 million years ago.

Homo habilis, handy man, appeared 2.5 million years ago.

Homo erectus was in it’s prime 1 million years ago.

Homo sapiens appeared 300,000 years ago.

Homo sapiens migrated out of Africa to dominate the world 70,000 years ago.

Agriculture started 10,000 years ago (8000 BC)

Civilization began 5000 years ago (3000 BC)

The Scientific Revolution happened in 1500 AD

The Industrial Revolution happened in 1800 AD

The population explosion started spiking in 1920 AD

The Digital Revolution took off as shown above in 1970 AD

Fantasyland arrives in 2000 AD

The Present – 2018 AD

 

Let’s look at the rate of the evolutionary change of life on this planet since the beginning of life 3.8 billion years ago through the social changes we’ve undergone since the advent of agriculture and civilization including the changes we are currently undergoing today.  The rate of change can be measured using a baseline unit of 1 = 3.8 billion / 3.8 billion.  Each rate of change between the above listed changes can be determined by the basic unit, 3.8 billion/the time between the 2 changes.

 

1. Baseline unit:
     3.8 billion/3.8 billion = 1

2. So the rate of change between the emergence of life and multicellular organisms is:
     3.8 billion – 1.5 billion = 2.3 billion; 3.8 billion/2.3 billion = 1.66

3. The rate of change between multicellular organisms and fish is:
     1.5 billion – 500 million = 1 billion; 3.8 billion/1 billion = 3.8

4. The rate of change between fish and reptiles is:
     500 million – 320 million = 180 million; 380 billion/180 million = 21

5. The rate of change between reptiles and mammals is:
     320 million – 200 million = 120 million; 380 billion/120 million = 31

6. The rate of change between mammals and the first primates is:
     200 million – 85 million = 115 million; 3.8 billion/115 million = 33

 

7. The rate of change between the first primates and Hominidae the great apes is:
     85 million – 15 million = 70 million; 3.8 billion/70 million = 54

 

8. The rate of change between the great apes and Australopithecus is:
     15 million – 4.3 million – 10.7 million; 3.8 billon/10.7 million = 355

 

9. The rate of change between Australopithecus and Homo habilis is:
     4.3 million – 2.5 million = 1.8 million; 3.8 billion/1.8 million = 2111

 

10. The rate of change between Homo habilis and Homo erectus is:
        2.5 millon – 1 million – 1.5 million: 3.8 billion/1.5 million = 2533

 

11. The rate of change between Homo erectus and Homo sapiens is:
        1,000,000 – 300,000 = 700,000; 380 billion/700,000 = 5428

 

12. The rate of change between Homo sapiens and Homo sapiens leaving Africa to dominate the world is:
        300,000 – 70,000 = 230,000; 3.8 billion/230,000 = 16,500

 

13. The rate of change from out of Africa to Agriculture is:
        70,000 – 8000 = 62,000; 3.8 billion/62,000 = 61,000

 

14. The rate of change from Agriculture to Civilization is:
       8000 - 3000 = 5000; 3.8 billion/5,000 = 760,000

 

15. The rate of change from civilization to the Scientific Revolution is:
       3000 BC + 1500 AD = 4500; 3.8 billion/4500 = 844,000

 

16. The rate of change from the Scientific Revolution to the Industrial Revolution is:
       1800 – 1500 = 300; 3.8 billion/300 = 12,670,00

 

17. The rate of change from the Industrial Revolution to the Population Explosion is:
       1920 - 1800 = 120; 3.8 billion/120 = 32,000,000

 

18. The rate of change from the Population Explosion to the Digital Revolution is:
       1970 – 1920 = 50; 3.8 billion/50 = 76,000,000

 

19. The rate of change from the Digital Revolution to Fantasyland is:
       2000 – 1970 = 30; 3.8 billion/30 = 126,000,000

 

20. The rate of change from Fantasyland to the Present, given the present is a critical period in which to decide the 
        future of our society: 2018-2000 = 18: 3.9 billion/18 = 210,000,000

 

So let’s look at graphs reflecting these rates of change over time. The graph below shows rates of change from the beginning of life on Earth to the appearance of Homo habilis. The numbers 1-20 above represent each period shown below.

Graph 4

Note that the rate of change at the time to Homo habilis was 2111 times the baseline unit.

 

 

The graph below shows rates of change from the beginning of life on Earth to the end of the Paleolithic Tribe and the beginning of Civilization. The numbers 1-20 stated above represent each period shown below.

Graph 5

 

Note the rate of change seen in Graph 5 is not visible in Graph 6. By the time of Civilization 5000 years ago, the rate of evolutionary change reflected in civilization and society was 760,000 times faster than the evolutionary baseline.

 

The graph below shows rates of change from the beginning of life on Earth to the Present. The numbers stated above represent each period shown below.

 Graph 6

Note the rate of change seen in Graphs 5 and 6 are so small they are not visible in Graph 6. At the present time, the rate of evolutionary and societal change is 210,000,000 times faster than the biological and societal evolutionary baseline.

 

 

Now let’s look at an exponential graph showing the rate of evolutionary and societal change over time using the same above data:

Chart 3

Here we can see the exponential increase in the rate of change in evolution and society over time in a near linear progression on a logarithmic scale.

 

 

Doesn’t this graph look quite similar to Chart 2 generated for transistor counts in computers over time shown below?

Chart 2

What does this logarithmic similarity between evolutionary and societal change over the last 3.8 billion years and the computer transistor count in the last 50 years mean? At this point in time this similarity may mean that we are in the early stage of huge societal changes as a result of the digital revolution, and that it may be in our best interest to become less polarized and more rational in order to best choose our destiny as a society. We should heed Ben Franklin’s question: “We’ve given you a Republic, can you keep it?” Yes, and to do so we need to be politically active, synthisophic and neureal.

 

That said, the convergence of the human/societal evolution and the transistor count/digital revolution may at some point in the not too distant future reach the point of singularity, when computers and artificial intelligence equal that of the human brain, after which computers will then surpass human intelligence. As stated earlier in Thesis 3 Chapter 15, note that computers can process and correlate billions of bits of information per second, whereas the human brain at the consciousness level is very limited in that capacity. Also note that the human brain can integrate many pieces of related information and create new and original ideas, not just correlates.  Looking at Bloom’s taxonomy, computers can remember, understand, apply, analyze (correlate) and even evaluate information.  But at the top of Bloom’s taxonomy, only the human brain can create new and original ideas integrating many pieces information from a wide variety of historic sources and come up with something completely new and of possible societal value. Restated, computers cannot and will not be able to synthisophize, integrate the wisdoms of history into present culture. Only we the people can do that. So let’s do it!

By 1990, computers had 1.2 million transistors.

 

 

Below is the growth of the transistor count in computers from 1969 to 2005 in three year increments:

Graph 2