This month’s topic will be looking at technological progress from various perspectives. I thought it would be useful to layout a few key questions that might be of interest, and then we can see what people want to focus on at the beginning of the meeting.
Overarching topic: Technological progress, AKA Where’s my flying car?
Possible foci of discussion:
1. Has technological progress largely stagnated? What are the most important criteria for measuring progress?
2. What are the most important factors underlying the current state of technology, and how might we improve that state? Some possible factors:
(A) Incentives (If the social/economic systems in which we are embedded over-incentivize unproductive results (e.g. milking current ideas versus creating new ones), what we can do to change that?)
(B) Coordination (As more specialization and knowledge is required to make advancements, coordination becomes more important.)
(C) Balance between government involvement (regulation, funding, etc.) and private investment/development (more freedom to do new things but perhaps too much focus on the short-term)
3. Bigger picture: Is technological progress worth focusing our energy on, or do other issues have a bigger impact?
* Thiel on Progress and Stagnation: https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/Xqcorq5EyJBpZcCrN/
* Modeling the Human Trajectory: https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/modeling-human-trajectory
* No Great Technological Stagnation: https://nintil.com/1-no-great-technological-stagnation/