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Exponential progress?

  1. Aug 28, 2004 #1
    Early hominids such as Homo Habilis made their own tools. Take a hammer, which was constructed using a sturdy stick and sharpened rock. This simple (compared to modern advancement) technology, among many others, was used for millions of years and there was little or no improvement of the hammers. Eventually Homo Sapiens came along and as we progressed, over thousands of years, our rate of progression increased. Only 100 years ago, we were not dependent on computers/cars. Now, 100 years later, we are. In only 30 years (i believe), scientists were able to send the first man to the moon.
    Is it possible to quantify our progression? Why are we progressing faster and not slower? Is this evolution in action?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 29, 2004 #2
    Vinge's singularity

    Got the singularity?
  4. Aug 29, 2004 #3
    One modern theory of evolution is call punctuated evolution. The idea is that after an environmental disasters occur such as an ice age, the surviving animals rush to fill in the suddenly available environmental niches and evolve much more quickly. Once all the niches are filled, evolution slows to a crawl as some kind of equalibrium is achieved between all the different species.

    Humanity was just about the only surviving hominid out of dozens to survive the last ice age. Like the evolution of the first animal that ate plants, the environmental niche we have found for ourselves is unique and we have no competition. However, we are still a very young species only a mere 100,000 years old.

    Within twenty years the oceans are estimated to no longer be comercially fishable, within fifty every wild land animal larger than a dog is estimated to be extinct. Nature has her own ways of achieving equalibrium, and after the next catistrophic event perhaps there will be more competition.
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