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#81 A.Sphere

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 12:22 AM

I'm a little curious: is there some way to quantify technology?

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There are definitely indicators. Like when there are transitions in labor force (ie manual labor -> machine labor or gathering -> agriculture). When many transitions occur within a small period of time I suppose we call it a revolution. I can think of three major revolutions: the agricultural revolution, the industrial revolution (which was two separate events really), and the computer revolution. I think the most important invention of all time was the transistor. There is most likely a more rigorous way to quantify the frequency of technological leaps within a given period.

#82 CTD

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 12:59 AM

There are definitely indicators.  Like when there are transitions in labor force (ie manual labor -> machine labor or gathering -> agriculture).  When many transitions occur within a small period of time I suppose we call it a revolution.  I can think of three major revolutions:  the agricultural revolution, the industrial revolution (which was two separate events really), and the computer revolution.  I think the most important invention of all time was the transistor.  There is most likely a more rigorous way to quantify the frequency of technological leaps within a given period.

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Thanks for trying, but I don't find this very satisfactory. Without quantifying the technology before and after an alleged innovation, how can one be sure there's an increase? And if you cannot demonstrate an increase, the arguments presented thus far appear to be fatally flawed.

Tracking the loss of technology would be even more difficult, because people don't necessarily notice when losses occur.

I think, if one were to treat the issue properly, one might discover a system which could be used to quantify other types of information as well. Or perhaps, it might turn out that not everything can be quantified, in which case the same standards should apply accross-the-board to all things that defy quantification.

#83 MRC_Hans

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 05:34 AM

Thanks for trying, but I don't find this very satisfactory. Without quantifying the technology before and after an alleged innovation, how can one be sure there's an increase? And if you cannot demonstrate an increase, the arguments presented thus far appear to be fatally flawed.

Tracking the loss of technology would be even more difficult, because people don't necessarily notice when losses occur.

I think, if one were to treat the issue properly, one might discover a system which could be used to quantify other types of information as well. Or perhaps, it might turn out that not everything can be quantified, in which case the same standards should apply accross-the-board to all things that defy quantification.

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You can quantify innovation in tecnology by the output.

The old-fashioned artisan could produce so much during a day.

The first factories could produce more, for the same amount of labor.

The modern automated factory can produce even more.

The old-day huntergatherer needed a certain amount of land to feed a family.

Ancient, manual farming could feed mmore families on less land.

Modern farming even more so.

...etc....

Hans

#84 jason777

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 08:06 PM

OK Hans,now that we know your knowledgable enough to know the effects of technology,agriculture,etc.

Please give us your minimum estimate for population increase after agriculture had established itself.

Thanks.

#85 Guest_ItinerantLurker_*

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 08:20 PM

OK Hans,now that we know your knowledgable enough to know the effects of technology,agriculture,etc.

Please give us your minimum estimate for population increase after agriculture had established itself.

Thanks.

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Is this a joke? What kind of agriculture? In what kind of climate? With what other environmental factors? Different crops will yield different levels of benefits, using different farming methods on the same crops will also produce different results as will seasonal variations, climate change, and a hoste of other unpredictable factors.

What we can do is see example after example of increased population growth associated with the establishment of more and more effective means of agriculture.

#86 jason777

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 08:21 PM

Another frank admission of an exponetial curve that does'nt exist.

#87 Guest_ItinerantLurker_*

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 08:45 PM

Another frank admission of an exponetial curve that does'nt exist.

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Populations typically grow as they refine their agricultural technology to yield more food. An inadvertent example was given earlier with the Zulu. The Ngoni Zulu were able to displace the Khoisans and Hottentots in South Africa because the Ngoni had more advanced agricultural and livestock practices and technology. Their use of agriculture and livestock subsequently allowed them to sustain a much larger population than the Khoisan hunter gatherers ever did on the same land the Khoisan's once inhabited. Just because we can't predict EXACTLY what that increase in population will look like doesn't mean it goes away. Why do you think all first world countries are agriculturally based instead of hunter-gatherer based?

#88 jason777

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 10:50 PM

Why do you think all first world countries are agriculturally based instead of hunter-gatherer based?


Most of the ancient asian populations grew to huge numbers with just rice and very limited livestock domestication.Recent evidence for agriculture in native americans has been found thousands of years sooner than anybody had previously known.

nativeamericanfirstnationshistory.suite101.com/article.cfm/agriculture_of_indigenous_tribes - 34k -

I dont deny the fact that some populations were hunter gatherers,but the evidence suggests that many ancient populations were much more sophisticated than people realize.

Thanks.

#89 CTD

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 11:57 PM

You can quantify innovation in tecnology by the output.

The old-fashioned artisan could produce so much during a day.

The first factories could produce more, for the same amount of labor.

The modern automated factory can produce even more.

The old-day huntergatherer needed a certain amount of land to feed a family.

Ancient, manual farming could feed mmore families on less land.

Modern farming even more so.

...etc....

Hans

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That's no better than quantifying information by counting words. What you suggest is not direct quantification of technology, but quantifying the results thereof.

And the task isn't easily accomplished. The gross output of a factory may be greater than that of an artisan, but the quality of the product is likely to be lower.

Of course not all technology results in increased output. Many of not most advances have no bearing whatsoever on increasing gross numbers.

And what unit does one apply to the measurements? If I invent a gizmo that attaches to a carburetor and increases the mileage of a car by 3%, while increasing horsepower by 7% and increasing torque by 9%, how much technology is involved? Are there 3 'Tech Units'? 7? 9? 3+7+9 = 19 TU's?

In the area of scientific instruments, how many TU's are involved when an instrument enables one to make more precise measurements? One can make just as many measurements with the old tech, so how do we measure this?

I could go on and on, an waste plenty of time; but I think we all understand that this is just one more case where double standards are applied. Technology cannot be quantified any more than other forms of information can.




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