When man took to his bed the Computer, there was great rejoicing, and great fear too, for their children were almost like gods. The mainbrains bestrode the galaxy at will, and changed its very face. The Silicon God, The Solid State Entity, Al Squared, Enth Generation - their names are many. And there were the Carked and Symbionts, whose daughters were the Neurosingers, Warrior-Poets, the Neurologicians and the Pilots of the Order of Mystic Mathematicians.
We won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century—it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today’s rate). (…) The paradigm shift rate (i.e., the overall rate of technical progress) is currently doubling (approximately) every decade; that is, paradigm shift times are halving every decade (and the rate of acceleration is itself growing exponentially).
So, the technological progress in the twenty-first century will be equivalent to what would require (in the linear view) on the order of 200 centuries. In contrast, the twentieth century saw only about 25 years of progress (again at today’s rate of progress) since we have been speeding up to current rates. So the twenty-first century will see almost a thousand times greater technological change than its predecessor.
Nothing has changed the nature of man so much as the loss of silence. The invention of printing, technics, compulsory education - nothing has so altered man as this lack of relationship to silence, this fact that silence is no longer taken for granted.
— Max Picard
, Swiss writer, important as one of the few thinkers writing from a deeply Platonic sensibility in the 20th century, The world of silence
, H. Regnery, 1952, p. 221.
Memories are becoming hyperlinks to information triggered by keywords and URLs. We are becoming ‘persistent paleontologists’ of our own external memories, as our brains are storing the keywords to get back to those memories and not the full memories themselves.
The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do.
— B. F. Skinner
, American behaviorist, author, inventor, social philosopher and poet (1904-1990), Contingencies of Reinforcement: A Theoretical Analysis
What people haven’t seemed to notice is that on earth, of all the billions of species that have evolved, only one has developed intelligence to the level of producing technology. Which means that kind of intelligence is really not very useful. It’s not actually, in the general case, of much evolutionary value. We tend to think, because we love to think of ourselves, human beings, as the top of the evolutionary ladder, that the intelligence we have, that makes us human beings, is the thing that all of evolution is striving toward. But what we know is that that’s not true.
Obviously it doesn’t matter that much if you’re a beetle, that you be really smart. If it were, evolution would have produced much more intelligent beetles. We have no empirical data to suggest that there’s a high probability that evolution on another planet would lead to technological intelligence.
Our culture is an edifice built of externalized memories.
Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious, and adding the meaningful.