Intelligent Systems And Their Societies Walter Fritz

Changes in the Human Society


Daily changes in the human societies can probably never be predicted. Even monthly changes are too much affected by chance for a prediction. On the other hand we should be able to describe long term changes, affecting large numbers of human beings, because here chance variations cancel out. (For instance those covering a span of a century and all of those living on earth).


Let's try to analyze the present trends, the long term changes in today's human society and their interrelations.
(We will highlight these trends by bold letters)
We can observe an correlation between two tendencies, the progress of science and an increase of the standard of living. The progress of science permits a better standard of living. Also a better standard of living permits a population to use more time and money for investigations, for the progress of science. This is a virtuous circle.

Other trends also depend on the progress of science. For instance the progress of computer technology depends on discoveries made in other fields of science. The same is true for progress in artificial intelligence and robotics. Progress of genetic technology and the progress of medicine also depend on the progress of other branches of science. Finally the greater life expectancy is a direct result of the progress in medicine.

The progress of science has resulted in faster and cheaper communications. These in turn resulted in the globalization, the increase in intercontinental exchange of information, merchandise and capital.
The globalization in turn resulted in more powerful and bigger multinational enterprises and in less powerful national governments. Persons connected with these multinational enterprises, as shareholders, managers, employees and workers, have a better standard of living than those that are not related to these (those connected to little enterprises or unemployed). Possibly that is the reason why we can observe an a greater gap between the rich and the poor.

This greater gap, and possibly the relatively lower level of development of the humanistic sciences as against the physical sciences, could be the reason for the increase in criminality that can be observed.

The increase of the standard of living also permits less working hours per week while still maintaining an acceptable level of living. On the negative side, it has permitted a continuous increase in the level of government spending, a level that was impossible a hundred years ago.
Also, on the negative side, the lack of realization that much more can now be produced with much less man - hours, results at present in too slow a reduction of weekly work hours and therefore is the cause of an increasing amount of persons unemployed. For more detail on this point, see: How to eliminate Unemployment (For continuous reading, like a book - do not enter here now)..

A positive effect of the increase of the standard of living has been the possibility of having the time to be concerned about the abuse of ecology and of doing something about it. For instance the cleaning of rivers, trying to compensate the reduction of some wooded areas by planting trees in others, and trying to stem the advance of deserts.

In conclusion we see that the loop of cause and effect of the progress of science and an increase of the standard of living seems to be the root cause of the principal trends that we can observe in the human society in the last hundred years.

Now, what is it that is so peculiar about "science" that it can affect human beings on such a large time and distance scale. Science is not a process of assuming something or believing it or taking it for true since it was stated by an authority. It is a system for checking an assumption, a hypothesis, by experiments or against other observed instances. That seems to be the kernel: a detailed checking of an assumption until believing is replaced by knowing that it is true.


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Last Edited 7 June 2013 / Walter Fritz
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