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Why Don't People Realize Change?


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#1
Squillimy

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I know I'm not the only person that realizes this: The fact that people don't acknowledge our ever changing world.

 

Why don't people understand or comprehend the change that's to come that us futurists already realize the oncoming of? I talk to my friends and family about new technology coming out and they often look at me crazy and view it as science fiction when in fact it is quite the opposite. I feel like even with our new age of rapid growth in science and knowledge, the world continues to be oblivious of what's really going on. Human knowledge is literally spurring out of control as we raise more questions than we answer, solving problems and making technologies that don't even fully make sense to us! It is not a bad thing, infact we live in a VERY interesting time!!!

 

But back to the point, It just doesn't make sense to me. You guys know what I'm talking about; exponential growth in artificial intelligence, solar/ renewable energy, genetics and neuro-brain science, etc. etc... It seems as though people realize these things coming into fruition, yet view them as science fiction and don't really realize how soon they will become reality. I show my friends videos of things like brain controlled technology, curing blindness and amputees, and even anti-matter. yet they can't even comprehend it. I feel as though we should have classes in public education to make people aware of the ever-growing change of technology and how atleast SOME of the basics of it  work, so that we aren't slaves to technology. Because to be honest; as ridiculous as it may sound, science could become a religion far into the future. Consisting of people who have no understanding of its workings. 


What becomes of man when the things that man can create are greater than man itself?


#2
Malgidus

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I see two problems, usually. One is the reason I'm sure you've heard before: our brains haven't had time to evolve to the new paradigm of progress. Our brains are wired to understand the current, very local (your circle of about Dunbar's number of friends, colleagues, and family) world. We do well at building a world view of the current world, for example, learning a skill, and using that to make or do something useful, perhaps make predictions. But when the skill changes dramatically or becomes osbolete, we often need to completely relearn something. Our brains are very terrible at comprehending change in short periods of time, especially when that change is exponential. The other is cultural. People seem to care more about the colour of the tile in their kitchen or how their coworker stole 45 minutes off the clock, etc. Few people want to actually sit down and listen to ramblings on the future because they're "comfortable" in the real world. Really, they're probably terrified of change. Some of these people will even go out of their way to maintain the status quo, and this gets problematic when these people have real political or social power.


My mind has been torn into Oblivion, is there a way to tear that too? Reach into the Oblivion, and through Zen, tear the Universe anew.

Tradesman by day, [game] programmer by night. Philosopher all day long. @Malgidus |Forest Bear Studios


#3
StanleyAlexander

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It's just exponential growth, and how hard it is to fully appreciate its implications.  People hear about Moore's law, and make the tacit assumption that it will plateau at some point.  Or they correlate the digital revolution with the industrial revolution, and think "the industrial revolution isn't happening anymore, therefore the digital revolution will have an end."

 

There are many humans out there who don't even think about change--these are the folks Maldigus mentioned, who are terrified of change and will likely fight to preserve the status quo.  There are also humans who recognize and appreciate the fact that the world is changing, but view history as a kind of punctuated equilibrium: a few generations of stability separated by an "enlightenment" or "paradigm shift" here and there.  These people also (for the most part) fail to grasp the true nature of unchecked exponential growth and its implications for our future.

 

To fully appreciate just how different the future is going to be, one must realize that Moore's law is just an example of an exponential curve going back not just to the industrial revolution, not even just to the beginning of technology or the appearance of the human race--the exponential train we're on goes all the way back to the beginning of the universe (maybe even further, but let's not get ahead of ourselves).  This--this exponential growth that continues on subsequent levels, one after the other--this is the way the universe works.  When you look at it this way, it's much easier to appreciate the fact that the singularity simply represents the next step in the evolution of the universe, here on our planet.  It's much easier to avoid making the mistake of assuming that our observed exponential growth will slow down, or plateau.

 

Unfortunately, the fact that our entire race is on some kind of universally standard, exponential path, predetermined on some level--this is a hard pill to swallow.  Hence, not everyone buys it.  When it becomes clear that the exponential growth of technology shows no signs of slowing down, more will.


Humanity's destiny is infinity

#4
Colonel O'Neil

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People talk about the difficulty involved in understanding the implications of exponential growth, and they're absolutely right.

 

But if we look deeper, this isn't necessarily all about change, despite the fact that fear of change clearly is a major point. Its more cultural. For some strange reason, we look down on what we consider geeky. The problem is that "geeky" now means anything futuristic, whether that's possibilities of space travel, or even something as mundane (to us) as automated cars.

 

Here's an experiment. Talk to your best (non-futurist) friend, about the future. I'm willing to bet that at least one of you has a friend that wants to be a truck driver and that one of you has been naive enough to tell him that it is a pointless career, since we will have automated trucks by the end of 2040 (my opinion), of when they will be ubiquitous)

 

My guess is that they will have laughed at you. It's not their fault, it the culture we live in.

 

Why is it ok for someone to be obsessed over football, but not over any book, film, or video game? Why is one person considered cool, but another considered a loser? 

 

No one will seriously (layman) consider the future until it becomes less socially stigmatized.

 

Here on FoT we are probably the most liberal free thinking people in the world, and we are proud of that. But don't expect others to follow where we thread.


The art of forgetting is inherent in human minds; the art of being forgotten  is the normal fate of knowing. We as futurists don't accept that. In the panels of the Universe, we alone will remain standing; remain unforgotten.


#5
WithoutCoincidence

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Rather hard for science to become a religion, since religions by definition involve the worship of one or more deities. If you were to invent a 'god of science' but had no scientific proof for their existence, well, that right there's a paradox :-)


The universe has gone from unimaginable, featureless heat to complexity and it will return in time to unimaginable, featureless cold.

-Chris Impey, How It Ends


#6
Yuli Ban

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I know I'm not the only person that realizes this: The fact that people don't acknowledge our ever changing world.

 

Why don't people understand or comprehend the change that's to come that us futurists already realize the oncoming of? I talk to my friends and family about new technology coming out and they often look at me crazy and view it as science fiction when in fact it is quite the opposite. I feel like even with our new age of rapid growth in science and knowledge, the world continues to be oblivious of what's really going on. Human knowledge is literally spurring out of control as we raise more questions than we answer, solving problems and making technologies that don't even fully make sense to us! It is not a bad thing, infact we live in a VERY interesting time!!!

 

But back to the point, It just doesn't make sense to me. You guys know what I'm talking about; exponential growth in artificial intelligence, solar/ renewable energy, genetics and neuro-brain science, etc. etc... It seems as though people realize these things coming into fruition, yet view them as science fiction and don't really realize how soon they will become reality. I show my friends videos of things like brain controlled technology, curing blindness and amputees, and even anti-matter. yet they can't even comprehend it. I feel as though we should have classes in public education to make people aware of the ever-growing change of technology and how atleast SOME of the basics of it  work, so that we aren't slaves to technology. Because to be honest; as ridiculous as it may sound, science could become a religion far into the future. Consisting of people who have no understanding of its workings. 

Western pop culture discourages thinking. YOLO, #swag, "live in the now." Forget yesterday, enjoy today, screw tomorrow.

In bold: it's already begun. People are so mystified by the recent boost in technological prowess that they're not even trying to understand how it all works.


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#7
Thaizasaskand

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Rather hard for science to become a religion, since religions by definition involve the worship of one or more deities. If you were to invent a 'god of science' but had no scientific proof for their existence, well, that right there's a paradox :-)

 

Taoism doesn't have a deity, neither does Kopimism. They're both religions, nonetheless.

 

I probably don't really need to state this, seeing as most of the forum members agree with this, or have at least heard it and can accept it as an argument, but science can't prove that there is, or isn't (a) deit(y/ies).


Edited by Thaizasaskand, 22 June 2013 - 08:09 PM.


#8
Alric

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I totally agree with it being hard for people to grasp the exponential growth but that isn't the whole thing. There has been huge leaps just in our life time, and people should be able to notice how much things have changed. I think if they stop and think about it, it is obvious to everyone. People kind of get used to things quickly though, and then it seems like it has always been that way and it hasn't. 



#9
StanleyAlexander

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People know the future will be crazy, they just don't understand how crazy.  The future is going to be fucking CRAZY.

 

Most people see the world changing, and some deliberately avoid thinking about it, but even those who recognize it usually just assume the future is going to be crazy.

 

When it's actually going to be CRAZY.

 

There is a big difference between crazy and CRAZY.

 

I still think the crux of it is the exponential thing.  Not just recognizing that it exists (because that's not hard), but recognizing that it isn't going to stop, or slow down.  And recognizing the implications of that--namely, the singularity.  Have the singularity conversation with a regular human (a non-futurist :)) and the reason they won't believe you is because they don't believe humans themselves will change.  As we are now, meat and bones and a wet brain, CRAZY can't happen.  We need to do the whole non-biological upgrading thing and the whole strong AI thing to be able to make CRAZY happen--and that's the shit regular humans don't believe is possible.  Yet.


Edited by StanleyAlexander, 23 June 2013 - 05:44 AM.

Humanity's destiny is infinity

#10
MAX

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Well, it's not just that people can't think in terms of exponential change. They also haven't been exposed to singularity culture. Take movies for example, whenever a blockbuster set in the far future is released they don't have people from the 21st century in the plot. It's just assumed that we all died.
Boss... you were right. It's not about changing the world. It's about doing our best to leave the world... the way it is. It's about respecting the will of others, and believing in your own. -Big Boss MGS4

#11
StanleyAlexander

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I don't mean to use the wiring argument--that our brains are wired for linear thinking, so exponential thinking is naturally foreign to us--that's true, but what I mean is that people don't have a clear picture of the future because they don't understand the implications of the exponential increase.

 

I think I'm looking at the exponential curve almost as a reason for technological change.  It's the math describing the reality of our change.  And I have no trouble believing the math when it tells me my world is going to be turned upside down.  Most people do have trouble believing that their world will be turned upside down within their lifetime, math or no.  That's probably the real reason most people don't appreciate change: it's hard.


Humanity's destiny is infinity

#12
Tommy_Vercettix

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Because it's too smooth, and kind of slow.



#13
Yuli Ban

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As I said before, pop culture discourages thinking. We need to be able to relate to something to accept that it's possible— a story set in a realistic version of 2100 would never make it to theatres. Take my own story, Mother Meki. Liquid metal robots are featured extensively, and this because it makes sense that they would. Our current models of robots in the future (that they're going to be talking refrigerators with legs, or creepy Terminators with wires hanging out everywhere) makes absolutely no sense. 

Think about what a person in 1750 would've thought of a car. They probably would have assumed that they would have tiny ferrets and badgers running in balls inside of them to make the wheels go 'round because many of the concepts of combustion and gears didn't make sense to them. It was too foreign, too alien. 

We need the far future to seem like a sleeker, more medical version of today with exaggerated problems. "It's the future? So there must be dystopias and robot uprisings."  In fact in reality, these two things might be entirely unlikely 500 years from now. Especially if man mergers with machines.

"Man uses technology to alter himself? Free will questions abound!" Why? Why is it that, whenever you use something to change yourself, it has to come at a cost of free will, and thus your base model self is the best option to go with? We don't have anything else to go by except extremist  cults and dangerous mind-altering drugs, that's why. 

Why is it aliens always invade us for our resources? Why not wipe us all out from a distance? Or, if they wanted our 'precious resources', why couldn't they just use another planet's? Or better yet, use their fantastic technology to recreate a far, far better version of the resource they're trying to pilfer? Because viewers need to connect. They want to be excited and know how things will turn out. Humans invade places. Locusts invade places. As far as we know, we invade locations for their resources. If we wanted to wipe something out completely, we understand that we could just nuke the place. But that's never needed to happen before. We never needed to kill off an entire nation from afar. And we still don't have the technology to turn mud into wine. 

 

If we can't relate to something, the general public definitely won't be attached to it. And Western Culture is intensely materialistic and individualistic. The future will undoubtedly bring about hive-minds and collective attitudes where robots and humans are indistinguishable and all prejudices are eradicated due to an end to the socials stratas of today (brought about because of technology nonetheless). To middle aged affluent conservative male in America, what's worse than that? What's worse than the entire world as you know it changed into something utterly unrecognizable? Especially when, all your life, you're told that it's all about you. The individual is best, is key, and individualism trumps all, and this is why America and the West dominated the rest of the communal-loving world.  An era where communal living will become more successful and would be the norm (especially considering you're probably going to be a cyborg) is an absolute disaster to almost everyone in the West, raised to believe that you're not required to consider others or the progress of others.

It's why my Postcapitalist beliefs fall on nearly deaf ears to everyone, capitalist, communist, socialist, fascist, liberal, conservative, all of them alike. Especially capitalists and socialists. They don't think about where capitalism will lead. They just know that it's here and that it makes people rich(er). Where it will be in 50 years doesn't matter, or they just accept that it's still going to be around since it was here 100 years ago and still is now. They don't understand that capitalism's very nature is going to lead to a Singularity


Edited by The Young Homo Maximus, 23 June 2013 - 05:25 PM.

And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#14
Squillimy

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^^^ Well said!

 

As for what was said before, I too agree that our brains are wired to think linearly. And it makes sense. Biology wants us to think linearly in order for us to survive. To survive we must adapt to our CURRENT sorroundings, and although that was originally meant as instinct, it has seeped into all areas of our cognitive thought. 

 

People understand the future and the change that is to come, but they don't understand how much and how soon. A average joe would probably think driverless cars to be a sort of year 2100 technology. If you asked them to describe a computer in the year 2050, they'll likely just think of a super fast laptop with "Siri" capabilities and lots of harddrive space. But if you ask us, forget the laptop, computation will be ubiquitous by the year 2050!!!. A "laptop" would be able to hold so much information, that rather than downloading a song you heard at a night-bar, you'd just download every single song ever created by that artist in the blink of an eye!!! Forget the blink of an eye, try mind controlled sensors in your house to play music that is associated with your mood! A sort of "Pandora" for the brain!

 

People think your insane if you talk about the singularity, and typically relate it to some 'dysotopian' future. And it's so funny, they do this just because of movies they've seen and they don't even realize it!!! They have absolutely no understanding of oncoming technologies, and if you explain it to them it's as if they're brain shuts you out and they say "Well whatever, that sort of future sounds so crazy that the human race will probably be extinct by then. World War III and blah blah blah". They only think this way just because of western pop culture.

 

people think technologies that WE know will be around in the year 2030 is what THEY think that the year 2100 will be like. I look at them and just think to my self. "Oh man, you will not even be able to fucking comprehend the year 2100". Hopefully by 2100 people will finally learn. lol


Edited by Squillimy, 23 June 2013 - 08:04 PM.

What becomes of man when the things that man can create are greater than man itself?


#15
Yuli Ban

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I think it was either The Matrix or the first Deus Ex game that said this: "Past experiences never dictate the future." We love using the past to explain the future.

It's one of the reasons why you hear all these theoretical physicists going on about why an alien invasion would inevitably lead to us being exterminated. "Because, in the past, the smarter and more well developed peoples always dominated the lesser ones. And what do we humans think of ants? Do we ask them 'want to be friends?'"

Well that's all fine and dandy, except we're either discussing the difference between two peoples' of humans, or a lifeform capable of intense, selfish thoughts and one that lives entirely communal without any higher brain functions. How do we know an incoming alien race isn't predisposed to "Protect All Lifeforms?" setting? And if they wanted to destroy us, why bother coming to Earth? The sheer momentum of stopping a light-speed ship could throw off enough energy to wipe out Earth. It's because they want resources? If they're so advanced, they should have nano and femto tech which should be able to alter atoms and subatomic particles. They could use spacetime itself to create matter (and technically have to), to create ultrapure minerals. Why bother with our very much impure resources here, most of which are rare? 

Because it's dumb to talk about because we're not going to die, or we're going to die in a manner that Hollywood never examined. It's not exciting. It's not what Hollywood says is supposed to happen when aliens come. And that's just a vague explanation of the OP's questions involving how we seem incapable of thought these days...

 

Ask a person in 1999 about the iPhone, about how in 10 years everyone could have a cell phone that could access the Internet, 3D video games better than were capable on the Dreamcast or Nintendo 64, whole movies, and capable of storing thousands of songs, on top of augmented reality, video camera, video effects, live streaming etc. etc. etc... And they'd say "Yeah. In 2100!"

"No, how about 2010?"

"Dude, go back to smoking your crackpipe."

 

*Sigh*... It's only when the future smacks the present to the past that they care...


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.





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