Thursday, January 30, 2020

Innovation as an Invasive Species/Infectious Disease

There's a lot of concern over inequality, over polarization of American society, etc.

In part I think we're having trouble with the advent of the Internet and of social media. I'd observe that in the past human society has taken time to adjust to innovation.  When railroads came along people were thrown into close contact with strangers in a new situation for extended periods of time.  It took time to develop norms and habits to deal with this, not to mention the need to standardize time keeping.

I'd suggest a good metaphor for innovation is to consider it an invasive species or a new infectious disease.  Initially the species or disease makes rapid inroads because humans don't have any developed immunity or there are no natural enemies..  Over time these develop.

I think this is true for society, as well.  Humans learn, eventually.  And they adjust, eventually.

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