Thursday, September 26, 2019

Adapting to the New: the Case of Weather Reports

Politico had this post on how the weather forecasting/reporting system developed and gained acceptance in Great Britain.

I'm convinced that any significant change in society, particularly in technology, requires a period of adjustment, as people  come to understand the change, and develop new norms and new habits to accommodate it.

One example was the advent of railroads, particularly passenger trains.  I've a vague memory of a discussion of this--one issue was class. IIRC stagecoaches had a class divider--the richer rode inside, the poorer outside.  Passenger trains made travel cheaper, increasing the number of poorer people traveling.  But at least initially everyone was thrown together in a coach.  That required people to adjust their habits and expectations (though I believe in Britain and France they soon instituted a class system, more universally than in the U.S.)

I think of it as social learning.  And I think it should lessen our anxiety over changes.  Remember the "crack" epidemic?  People learned the costs of crack, and the epidemic waned.  That's what happens in an open society where information flows readily.

No comments: