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The Power of Big Ideas

What should be the next big ideas?
What are some of the recent big ideas?
When did the world change last?

Language. Writing. Books. Farming. Swords. Governments. Gods. Towns. 

But what have we done lately?

The Renaissance. The invention of the scientific method.  Galileo invents the telescope and observes the universe.  Humans look at the world, believe what they see and try to understand and predict.

The Scientific Revolution. How to go from observations to theory, make predictions that are reproducible.

The American Revolution. Government exists by the consent of the governed.  All people are created equal. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Inalienable rights to religion, speech, press, arms, etc. Enforcement of contracts and private property.

Abolition of Slavery and Suffragism. Government exists by the consent of the governed, all of the governed. Every single one of them, whatever their heritage, whatever their sexual proclivities, whatever their beliefs. The power of the peaceful revolution. Again, all perople are created equal.

The Industrial Revolution. The invention of the steam engine makes it possible to amplify human capabilities.  Railroads.  Mills. Automobiles. Planes. Rockets. Oil and gas. Renewable energy. Exoplanets.

The Darwinian Revolution. We are all cousins, with all life. We are made from a program of DNA; all life is. If we can breed together, we are the same species.

The Medical Revolution. The Germ theory of disease. Vitamins. Double-blind studies. Immune system. Vaccines. Neurobiology.

The Electrical Revolution. The Industrial Revolution comes to the home and more. Maxwell's equations. The telegraph. Long distance communication. The light. The telephone. Radio. Television.

The Quantum Revolution. Quantum Field Theory. The transistor. Digital transmission. 

The Computer Revolution. The computer. The network. Compression and encryption. Smart phones. Artificial Intelligence.

Freedom of Movement. Free trade. Free travel. Floating exchange rates. National parks. Environmentalism. 

The Information Revolution. Google. Facebook. Amazon. Uber. 
Happy Human
Secular Humanism. Using the Scientific method to "improve the well-being of every person on the planet." The biggest idea. The most important idea in the last 10,000 years. 

And some big ideas that were not so good and took a long time to discredit:

World wars.
Scapegoting and dehumanisation.
Industrial pollution.
Unpaid Externalities. More to say about this one later.
Not taking care of the average citizen.
Allowing unregulated monopolies.
Taking things on faith.
Suicide bombings.
Violence instead of persuasion.

Never stop fighting a bad idea. 

Never stop promoting a good idea.

The key: Learn to distinguish between them.

Ask who benefits? Who loses? How much does it cost? Who's paying for it? How do we increase the economic pie? How do we share it fairly?  What happens if we don't do it? What happens if we do?

And what's next? 

Mind recording and downloading. Immortality. 
Virtual reality. Manufactured religion. Hell? Heaven? The nerd rapture.
Robots? Self driving cars. Self flying quad-copters. The end of work?

Leaning how to distinguish emotions from logic when making decisions? Nope. Never going to happen. Unless the killer robots take over.

Thanks for reading.
 -Dr. Mike


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