What event is most likely to wipe humans out? The expansion of the sun is the often the baseline for the “end”. Perhaps we will have the technology to leave earth within 5.4 billion years (when the sun will end life), but perhaps not. technology has expanded at an ever increasing rate. In the latest 10,000 years of our existence, 99 percent of our technological progress has occurred. This compounding rate of innovation is what will keep us alive. Albert Einstein might have been a fortune teller when he said that “compounding interest is the greatest force in the universe”.
Several firsts have allowed our advancements to reach their current pace. Most of us can agree that today there is generally less injustice and inequality, and more freedom and ease of life. As all of us know, the neolithic revolution allowed for the specialization of labor and the increase in spare time to learn about the world around us. From this alone, little to no progress would be made since most of the knowledge gained would die through the passage of time. Later when writing began, ideas and experimentation could be passed on, and could be improved upon by later generations. The invention of the wheel allowed for increased transportation and therefore the increased spread of knowledge. As one historian put it, before improved communication “a guy in Ethiopia might have been trying to master fire control even 5,000 years after a guy in Sweden has already mastered it”. Countless other firsts that many students in High School West have learned about in social studies class such as the limitation of the power of the church, coffeehouses in the 1600s, and the creation of the internet have led to the improvement of our lives today.
While sitting here at my desk on the day after thanksgiving, I pondered how our species will end. A grim topic for thanksgiving… no? Will it be by climate change as so many scientists predict? Maybe a deadly nuclear war or even a killer asteroid strike? Humans have proven themselves to be resilient and adaptable in the short time we have been in existence. Although I can’t predict the future, I know that we have the ability to overcome these problems and live on. Innovative people in the past, present, and future work hard to continuously compound the rate at which society improves… so there’s no need to worry about the end! Both today’s world and our future are wonders that students in High School West and people all around the world can be thankful for.