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Acceleration - Input Junkie
November 4th, 2010
06:07 pm


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Does it seem to you that history has been moving faster lately?

If so, does this acceleration seem likely to continue?

What would a Historical Singularity look like? (Neither people nor computers get significantly smarter, it's just that significant events pile up closer together.)

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[User Picture]
Date:November 4th, 2010 11:14 pm (UTC)
I'm wondering if it really going faster, or just that we see more of it with the increase in communications. Plus that general effect that what we learn of history is necessarily summaries that leave out stuff, while we see all of the history being made around us in real time.
[User Picture]
Date:November 4th, 2010 11:34 pm (UTC)
Well, we've seen the entire planet reconfigured because of the internet, in the last fifteen years. That was pretty intense.

And in 2004 Facebook was launched, and is now used by 1/12 of the population of the world.

So I'd say that things were moving pretty fast nowadays.

In fact, you could say that some of the problems in the USA are caused by rapid continental drift causing two groups of people to suddenly discover a huge rift between them.
[User Picture]
Date:November 4th, 2010 11:53 pm (UTC)
Compared to 1848, it's all moving at a crawl.
[User Picture]
Date:November 5th, 2010 01:26 am (UTC)

Sometimes history moves pretty fast. Consider this span of just seven years:

  • Jun 1963: Medgar Evers assassination
  • Jun 1963: George Wallace's "Stand in the Schoolhouse Door" (enrollment of two black students at U of Alabama requires intervention by federal marshals)
  • Jun 1963: Civil rights demonstrators in Cambridge, Maryland are attacked
  • Aug 1963: MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech
  • Sep 1963: Birmingham, Alabama schools have to be integrated by Nat'l Guard
  • Nov 1963: President Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam assassinated, along with his brother
  • Nov 1963: John F Kennedy assassination
  • Jun 1964: Three civil rights workers murdered in Mississippi
  • Jul 1964: Civil RIghts Act of 1964 passes
  • Aug 1964: Congress passes Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, authorizing use of military force in Southeast Asia without declaration of war, based in part upon fictional reports of an attack on a US ship
  • Feb 1965: Malcolm X assassination
  • Mar 1965: "Bloody Sunday", police attack civil rights march in Alabama
  • Aug 1965: Watts riots
  • Sep 1965: Delano grape strike; many consumers nationwide boycott grapes
  • Jun 1966: Miranda v Arizona decision leads to use of "Miranda warnings" as standard police procedure
  • Jun 1967: Loving v Virginia decision declares prohibitions on interracial marriage unconstitutional
  • Jun 1967: Thurgood Marshall becomes first black US Supreme Court justice
  • Summer 1967: The Summer of Love
  • Jan 1968: Tet Offensive in Vietnam
  • Feb 1968: Statewide teachers' strike in Florida, lasts till March
  • Jun 1968: Robert F Kennedy assassination
  • Apr 1968: Martin Luther King Jr assassination; rioting ensues in many cities nationwide
  • Apr 1968: Civil Right Act of 1968 passes
  • Jun 1969: Stonewall riots in NYC mark beginning of modern gay rights movement
  • Jul 1969: Chappaquiddick incident ruins Ted Kennedy's chances of being President
  • Jul 1969: Holy Shit Man Walks On Fucking Moon
  • Aug 1969: First letters from "Zodiac killer" received by news media
  • Dec 1969: Fred Hampton executed in his bed by Chicago police and FBI
Date:November 5th, 2010 03:47 am (UTC)
Heh Nancy, are you 10,000 years old or something? I really couldn't say whether history is moving faster. But if it is it must surely be directly related to technology?

I'm not sure I believe in the Kurzweil's technological singularity but it is an exhilarating and scary idea.
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