Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Ray Kurzweil: The World Isn’t Getting Worse

The all-time most viewed post on this blog features the cover of a fake book- The World Was Always Awful.

It reflected my feeling that horrible things have been going on since the beginning of the human species. It seems so bad now because of our instantaneous access to information.

People from older generations, who grew up in the 50's & 60's or earlier, refuse to believe that crime statistics are going down, and that we generally live in an overall less violent world. With the 24/7 news headlines, it seems like bad things are happening constantly... which they are, and always have! The only difference is that now we have a deluge of media bringing it to our attention.

In the "good old days," there were still horrific things going every day, all around the world. The only difference was that the people who lived back then (who were mostly kids at the time) were kept in the dark due to lack of media.

Anyhow, futurist Ray Kurzweil seems to agree with me and elaborated his views on the matter in a recent talk.

I couldn't find a video, but here is the relevant excerpt:

On the effect of the modern information era: "People think the world’s getting worse, and we see that on the left and the right, and we see that in other countries. People think the world is getting worse. … That’s the perception. What’s actually happening is our information about what’s wrong in the world is getting better. A century ago, there would be a battle that wiped out the next village, you’d never even hear about it. Now there’s an incident halfway around the globe and we not only hear about it, we experience it."

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