The Roots of Progress

Speaking: Foresight, Instituto Millenium, CS Monitor

A few recent-ish talks and interviews:

Foresight Institute: “Progress: An Ever-Evolving Journey”

An interview with Foresight for their Existential Hope library.

Jason envisages a future marked by dynamic, continuous progress, encapsulated in the concept of protopia. This vision diverges from a traditional notion of a utopia, and instead embraces a reality of constant, incremental improvement. In Jason’s view, progress is a journey, not a destination. It’s a series of small, significant steps that, over time, lead to profound transformations in our world.

Central to Jason’s perspective is the transformative potential of AI, paralleling historical technological leaps like the steam engine and personal computing. He views AI as a catalyst for a new era in human history, one that could redefine societal structures by making high-quality services accessible to a broader demographic. This democratization of resources, akin to services becoming as affordable as a Netflix subscription, could bridge societal gaps. However, Jason emphasizes that this protopian future requires collective agency, responsibility, and a balanced understanding of our role in shaping it. He believes that progress accelerates over time, with each innovation building upon the last, thus speeding up future advancements.

Instituto Millenium: “Toward a New Philosophy of Progress”

This is a talk I’ve given before. This recording has subtitles in Portuguese for what that’s worth. The question period begins about 31 minutes in.

Christian Science Monitor, “Pessimism or progress”

A 2023 year-in-review piece in which I am briefly quoted:

… 2023 was the year millions of people first used a generative AI program (such as ChatGPT), the next great platform for economic productivity. Though too soon to assess its impact, AI has the potential to become as powerful a change agent as the internal combustion engine, mass manufacturing, electricity, and computing itself, says Jason Crawford, a technology historian and founder of The Roots of Progress. “In the most extreme scenario, which I still think is pretty speculative but not impossible, it is the next big thing in human history – after agriculture and the Industrial Revolution.”

See all my talks and interviews here.

Comment: Progress Forum, Reddit

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