Forecasting and technological deadlocks

    As for Thiel ’s interview, the quote from Adam Smith immediately comes to mind:
    Progress is often so slow and gradual that progress is not only not noticeable over short periods, but it is often even suspected that the country is getting poorer and its industry is falling if some industries decline industry or some areas, which indeed sometimes takes place, although the country generally flourishes.
    The annual product of the land and labor of England, for example, no doubt greatly increased compared to what it was a hundred-odd years ago, during the restoration of Charles II. Although few people nowadays, I think, doubt it, however, during this period it rarely took five years for a book or pamphlet not to appear, which, thanks to its talent, gained some authority from the public and which proved that the wealth of the nation was fast it decreases that the country's population is declining, agriculture is abandoned, industry is in decline and trade is freezing. Moreover, these works were not all party brochures, a perverted product of lies and venality, many of them were written by very sincere and very thoughtful people who wrote only what they were convinced of, and only because they were convinced of it.

    Is there a technological deadlock now? How can this be estimated?

    As part of the fragmentary logic, I can say that my little 10-year-old car consumed as much gas as the large and powerful modern Cayenne, simply because the latter was designed at oil prices above 100. Progress is evident, although it is unlikely that the ICE's efficiency has greatly increased during this time .

    Within the framework of fragmentary logic, “I heard a ringing”, and on the contrary, I can say that the length of the barrel of a firearm has not increased over the past 400 years ... but what follows from this? The revolutionary invention of gunpowder itself had less impact on military affairs than the subsequent evolution of this weapon. Once a firearm was just an expensive and unreliable version of a trebuchet or a crossbow, and it was traditionally sick with children's diseases of any technology, then the gunpowder gets damp, then the barrel breaks, then the bells have to be melted ...
    Once turbo engines did not have elasticity and constantly broke, in formula 1 for example, turbo engines at first won all the qualifications, but did not reach the finish line - but can any conclusions be drawn from this?

    For me, the mathematician "there is only what can be measured." In econometrics, all these technological “revolutions” fit into a modest 2% growth per year per capita on average - this was the case 150 years ago and now.
    Directly asking the question "how to increase productivity" - I do not see the point. If they knew - they would have already raised it, it's like predicting the next few inventions. People are not able to see the future.

    In real life, there are, roughly, 10 crazy ideas about the development path of a particular technology, but there are some problems and childhood diseases on the way to each. And the advanced economy has to spray investments between all 10 in order to find the one way that will actually lead to technological growth, where these childhood diseases and plugs can be overcome by reasonable means. This, by definition, is not revolution, but evolution . Therefore, advanced countries grow slowly, a kind of frail icebreaker poking around, groping where the ice is thinner. Catching up with this icebreaker is sometimes able to accelerate along the already laid path and up to 10% per year, yes.

    The Apollo and the Manhattan Project mentioned in the interview (about the realities of which are very colorfully written by Feynman), the invention of the Internet (which in general was supposed to provide reliable node-free communication between military units, and did not fulfill its task) are exceptions to the rules , rare examples of comparatively successful planned undertakings during the Cold War. We just grew up on this and it seems natural to us, but in fact it is a rarity.
    Most of the technological growth is of a completely different nature - spontaneous private search, evolution in its purest form. “Tinkering,” “the method of scientific poking,” as Taleb himself mentioned.

    The fact that people instead of flying to Mars began to increase the productivity of secretaries and typists is not so bad, then less resources will then be required to fly to Mars. Attempts to evaluate something with fragmentary logic are generally incomprehensible to me. In general, productivity has grown from the 70s or not? It has grown significantly, which means it’s too early to talk about a dead end.
    Many examples of technological stagnation can be given, but what does one example mean outside the context of the overall picture? I had an idea to propose evaluating the power of modern Germany by the number of agricultural slaves, but I was outstripped back in the Middle Ages - there were already questions of the Mongols to the French ambassador - “ how many sheep and rams are in this France of yours? »I do not understand the meaning of such fragmented assessments.

    In my opinion, a tautology is all these moaning about a dead end. Yes, the State Planning Commission cannot plan inventions and discoveries. But we already knew this, and this is not a reason for conclusions about the possibility of growth. A distinctive feature of the development of the last 200 years is the continuous production of technology. Not cast iron, and not sneakers - but technology. Cast iron and iPhones are just a consequence. And these technologies are produced in an unexpected, evolutionary way of "poking", trial and error. There is a result, but it is still possible to predict future technologies like this:

    “An airplane, of course, is an interesting toy, but absolutely useless for the army” (Marshal Foch, 1911)

    “It would be naive to hope to use the energy of the atomic nucleus” (Rutherford)

    “A machine gun is cumbersome and complicated device for senseless squandering cartridges ”(official position of the Chinese commanders)

    “I admit that in 1901 I said that people will not fly for the next 50 years. Since then, I have lost confidence in myself and have avoided speaking out about the future. ” Wilbur Wright, aviation pioneer.

    “There is nothing to replace a horse, but a car is just a novelty - transient fanabery.” The head of the Michigan Sberbank, dissuading Horace Rackham (Henry Ford's lawyer) from investing in Ford Motor Company.

    “Who the hell is interested in hearing the voices of the actors?” Harry Warner, Warner Brothers Film Company. 1927 year.

    "There is no reason for individuals to have a computer at home." Kenneth Olsen, Founder of Digital Equipment Corporation. 1977 year.

    "Regardless of any scientific progress in the future, man will never land on the moon." Dr. Lee de Forest, inventor of the vacuum lamp. 1967

    "The weight of a computer may be one and a half tons in the future." An article in the magazine "Popular Mikeniks" dedicated to the prospects of computer technology. 1949 year.

    “We do not like the sound of their music. Guitar bands are out of fashion. ” Recording company “Decca Records” on its decision to reject cooperation with the Beatles. 1962 year.

    “I must admit that I can’t imagine that any submarine passed the test - its crew will suffocate and the ship will be carried by sea.” Herbert Wells, an English writer. 1901 year.

    “Television will not last longer than six months in any of the markets. People get tired of peering into a box of plywood every night. ” Darryl Zanuk, head of the 20th Century Fox film studio. 1946 year.

    And for dessert:
    “Everything that could be invented has already been invented” (Charles Dewell, US Commissioner for Patents, 1899 (!!!))

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