This year I saw a vaccine developed in 3 days and a spaceship larger than a Saturn V belly flop and then land on its tail.

I think that there's tons of progress.

"The only things we're improving on are biotechnology, spaceships, and robotics / AI" is, um, not exactly a slam dunk showing that progress has stalled.

Not remotely. It landed gracefully, right on target, and just had a slight bit of residual velocity. The SN8 flight was 99.9% perfect.

The topic of this thread (scroll up, click into the RT) is technological progress.
Talking about cost of living, regulation, politics, inequality, foreign relations, etc etc etc is a non sequitur.

I continue to push back hugely on this.

There is tons of progress, everywhere around us.
✓ Biotech
✓ Space
✓ Computer chips
✓ Robots / automation
✓ Bandwidth / server farms / IT infrastructure
✓ Batteries, electric vehicles
✓ Cameras, lenses

In the last year I've seen
* two robotic spaceships land at the same time
* a Saturn V sized rocket bellyflop, aerobrake, land
* a vaccine developed in 3 days
* computer animated movies
* computers beat humans in chess, Go, etc
* $10 routers and webcameras
* self driving cars

"yeah, but, uh, the F-22 is overpriced, and government sucks, and the Covid vaccines hasn't been DISTRIBUTED to me yet, and -"

yeah, ok, government sucks ... but that's not the topic at hand

"ok, fine, but getting back to technology ... what has it done for ME in recent years?"

every movie you've watched has been built w software, every indy book or kickstarter RPG you've read, logistics tech causing prices to fall and fall and fall, your phone, cheaper airfare

"Phones don't count. Don't you read Moldbug? And I don't own a Tesla. And cheap consumer stuff is bad for the SOUL. The average medieval peasant -"

ok, the topic isn't the soul, the topic is technology. And you don't own a Tesla YET. And you don't travel to space YET.

"Well, I don't WANT to travel to space. And I don't WANT a self driving car. And I don't WANT cheap consumer crap."

OK, again, that's not the topic. The topic is "has technology stalled?", and your responses are all about government, or aesthetics, or culture.
11/, maybe, formulate THOSE are your thesis statements, or something, and don't use "technology is dead, bruh" as some sort of weird metonym for your discontent w the world?

> vaccine is iffy

there's no reason to say that

> space stuff is just

*** JUST ***

> ...US trying desperately to cover the giant gap from peer competitors

literally not one word of that is true.

if so, I apologize to @mattparlmer
for misreading.

I've just been in this fight so many times. Poe's law.

but getting back to "space stuff is JUST US trying to ..."

this is how the game is played: I can list 100 huge improvements, and every one is dismissed via ad hoc new rules.

"When I said tech growth is dead, obviously we reject stuff that's motivated by competition"


The US landed drones on the moon in 1966.

Apollo astronauts later landed near one of these probes and took parts of it back to Earth.

You think Elon Musk's SpaceX is merely the US trying to "close the gap" w China duplicating this 60 yrs later?

There's this weird thing where people don't count tech as real unless it impacts them directly and obviously... and if it DOES, then it's dismissed as MERE consumer goods.

This is a catch 22.

You're a consumer. EVERYTHING you touch is consumerist.

TVs 6 feet wide with insane resolution and a bajillion frames per second, for $500?

Consumer toy.

Good-as-reality video games?

Consumer toy.

Pocket supercomputer?


Improved logistics?

don't care

But that cuts YOUR costs, delivers stuff to you next day for free!

oh, yeah, that sounds bad - it hurts mom and pop shops

reusable spaceships?

don't care

but that makes satellites cheap, which means you can live anywhere you want and telecomute!

so it just extends work everywhere? down with capitalism


this is "Yes, but" from the book Games People Play

everyone loves a pedant -- especially a pedant who incorrectly conflates "size" with just one of three dimensions.

> just the commercialization or optimization of things that we figured out at a technical level decades ago.

*** JUST ***

Lasers were invented in 1959.

And yet we didn't get digital music on CDs until 1982.

We invented gunpowder in 808 ...

This is a complaint that I've seen a thousand cranky graybeards in suspenders make.

"I'm not sure why anyone cares about XYZ tech in Windows / videogames / whatever. Why, back in 1804 at Xerox PARC / DEC CRL / AT&T Labs, we ..."

Productization takes man centuries!


You made a thing work, once, in a lab, with 30 tons of air conditioned specialty equipment, and now, 25 years later, it costs $19, fits in a pocket, and can be dropped on concrete without breaking.

And we **** JUST **** productized it, and therefore suck.



so many little improvements, that, after 25 years of compounding, means that costs are down, reliability is up, safety is up, etc.


We are 2-3x richer now than a generation ago, bc of these slow quiet inventions.

You don't get a flying car, but you DO get things like ... you can use free software to design 3-D miniatures, upload that to a website, run a kickstarter, make money, customers download the files, print out minis

An entire industry of hassles, roadblocks & $2M investments

...has been reduced to a smooth slick-as-wet-ice pathway, connecting you and your ideas with likeminded tribemates.

In 2020, how many millions of people work from home, doing basically HOBBIES, and get paid for in?

In 1920 they'd be doing 12 hr factory shifts.

Heck, in 1980 they'd be putting on polyester suits, fastening their ties, driving their crappy cars running on leaded gas to dirty cities so sit at desks under flourescents and file TPS reports.

No flying cars, but now there's a vast industry of artists, crafts people,

TTRPG designers, SF authors, digital artists, oil painters, musicians, CAD designers, blacksmiths, editors of anthologies, furniture designers, etc. living lives that are customized and meaningful ... bc of slow steady "meh" improvements in infrastructure tech since 2000 AD.

Piston rings are better.

Carbide teeth on cutting burrs are better.

Bearings in tablesaws and 4" angle grinders are better.

Motors are better.

Windows are better.

Insulation is better.

Car bumpers are better.

HVAC is better.

Vacuum cleaners are better.

Everything is

I ENTIRELY disagree. There is effectively no distinction between consumer goods and capital goods.

A "big TV" is the same as a big monitor that lets a CAD guy works 4x as effectively as he could 20 years ago.

A "mere phone" is a pocket supercomputer that replaces the user interface panel on any sort of robot or machine, allowing mechanics to diagnose cards, read tech manuals, etc. in the field.

A 3-d printer for printing custom minis for your Pathfinder game is exactly the same thing as a rapid prototyping tool that lets mechanical engineers design and deploy a new product in 5 months, not 24.

New metal fusion technology that lets you get a luxury $200 Shun chef's knife with stainless cladding a high carbon center that sharpens better than stainless is the same as high wear resistance bearing technology.
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