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I guess the point of this list is to say that there is a lot of good news in the world along with the bad news. And I’m sure that’s true. But many of the items on this list are exaggerated or misleading.
For example, “We are currently in the most peaceful period in human history.” And then you compare the death rate from war today to the 1940s. The 1940s was when World War 2 was fought, probably the most violent and destructive war in history. You can always make something look good by comparing it to the worst that ever existed. At least 800,000 people have been killed in wars since 2000: 200,000 in the Syrian civil war, 300,000 in Sudan, 160,000 in the US-Iraq war, 75,000 in Eritrea, and then a number of other smaller conflicts. Nothing on the scale of World Wars 1 and 2, but still substantial death tolls. (And BTW, 800,000 out of world population of about 6 billion would be 13 out of 100,000 — which by my calculations is substantially more than 1.) How does that compare to, say, the 1880s? And to say that today is the most peaceful period ever … do you have any statistics on how many people died in wars in, say, AD 500? How could you possibly know whether your statement is true?
“Humans will create more information in the form of data in the next two days than was created in all of history up until the year 2003.” How are you measuring this? If you mean, The number of letters and digits recorded on computers, paper, clay tablets, etc, I suppose the statistic might be true: there are a lot more people today and it’s a lot easier to record raw data. But if you mean, actual useful information, I sincerely doubt it. In ancient times recording information was expensive and difficult, so only truly important information got recorded: history, scientific discoveries, religion and philosophy, epic poems, etc. Today recording information is cheap and easy, so we record tons of trivia, like shopping lists and appointment times, and tons of worthless junk, like speculation about celebrity scandals and “10 amazing facts” lists.
But even at that, conservatively assuming that human record keeping go backs to circa 4000 BC, you’re saying that today we produce as much data in 2 days as humans produced in 6000 years? So we now produce data over 1 million times faster than the average for past history? That seems unlikely. Say the average human population over all of history was 100 million people. I just made that number up but it sounds plausible. So today there are 60 times as many people as the historical average. That still means each person would have to be producing over 16,000 times as much data. If the average person in ancient times recorded just one page of information per year, today the average person would have to be recording 16,000 pages per year or 45 pages per day. Very few people write 45 pages of text a day, even if you include all the trivial little notes. The only ways I see that you could come up with such a ratio are: (a) You’re not including any estimate of ancient records that have not survived to today, but you are including everything written today regardless of whether it will be recorded long term or lost or deleted quickly. Thus, if someone 1000 years ago scribbled a shopping list on a clay tablet and then threw it away, it doesn’t count, but if someone today scribbles a shopping list on his ipad, it does count. Or (b) you are counting audio and video recordings by the number of bytes they take on disk. So if I have a video of someone talking for 1 minute, that takes maybe 400 MB (depending on image quality). The same text written might take 400 bytes. But if all we care about is the words spoken, the video is not 1 million times as much information. It’s the same.
The one about the Radio Shack ad doesn’t even make sense. Yes, I get that cell phones today have built-in computers and video cameras. But does your cell phone have a full-size monitor and keyboard like the computer pictured? And high-quality speakers with a “massive 15 inch woofer”? Or do you just mean it includes a display and that teeny-tiny touch-screen keyboard and a tinny little speaker? By that reasoning, a sub-compact car has everything that a luxury car does, so why would anyone buy the luxury car? Does your cell phone really include a CB scanner like pictured in the ad, and a radar detector? Mine doesn’t.
The one about the Radio Shack ad doesn’t even make sense. Yes, I get that cell phones today have built-in computers, calculators, clocks, and video cameras. That’s impressive. But you overstate your case. Does your cell phone have a full-size monitor and keyboard like the computer pictured? And high-quality speakers with a “massive 15 inch woofer”? Or do you just mean it includes a display and that teeny-tiny touch-screen keyboard and a tinny little speaker? By that reasoning, a sub-compact car has everything that a luxury car does, so why would anyone buy the luxury car? Does your cell phone really include a CB scanner like pictured in the ad, and a radar detector? Mine doesn’t. Does it have a CD player and a casette recorder? I have never seen a cell phone with such features. Maybe you’re trying to stretch it and say that a cell phone has the features of a CB radio because you can use it to talk to people at a distance, and it’s as good as having a radio because you can access web sites or use apps to play music, etc. By that reasoning, an AM radio has all the features of a short-wave radio because it too can pick up radio signals. So why do people buy short-wave radios? Maybe because AM signals and short-wave signals are not the same thing and are not always interchangeable. By that reasoning I could say that a stick has all the features of a cell phone: I can bang it on a tree to make noise to signal people at a distance, I can use it to make marks in the dirt to help me do calculations, I can use it to draw pictures just like a camera, etc. Your statement can only be considered to be true if you say that a feature remotely resembling in any way, regardless of ease of use, quality, compatibility with other technologies, etc, makes it “the same”.