RSS

Progress Studies

TagLast edit: 31 Jul 2020 3:29 UTC by jasoncrawford

Progress Studies is the study of the causes of civilizational progress, e.g., the combination of economic, technological, scientific, and cultural advancements that have transformed human life and raised standards of living over the past couple of centuries.

The bicycle, as we know it today, was not invented until the late 1800s. Yet it was a simple mechanical invention. It would seem to require no brilliant inventive insight, and certainly no scientific background.
Why, then, wasn’t it invented much earlier? – Why did we wait so long for the bicycle?

See also:

Origin of the Name

Progress Studies was proposed as an academic field by Tyler Cowen and Patrick Collison [1] after they noticed that there’s no intellectual movement focused on understanding the dynamics of progress, or on trying to speed it up.

External Resources

Dis­con­tin­u­ous progress in his­tory: an update

KatjaGrace14 Apr 2020 0:00 UTC
165 points
23 comments31 min readLW link
(aiimpacts.org)

Epistemic stan­dards for “Why did it take so long to in­vent X?”

jasoncrawford2 Mar 2020 18:58 UTC
90 points
16 comments6 min readLW link
(rootsofprogress.org)

[An­swer] Why wasn’t sci­ence in­vented in China?

Ruby23 Apr 2019 21:47 UTC
84 points
43 comments21 min readLW link2 nominations1 review

Tech­nol­ogy Changes Constraints

johnswentworth25 Jan 2020 23:13 UTC
86 points
6 comments4 min readLW link

Why did ev­ery­thing take so long?

KatjaGrace29 Dec 2017 1:00 UTC
25 points
17 comments1 min readLW link
(meteuphoric.wordpress.com)

Study­ing Early Stage Science: Re­search Pro­gram Introduction

habryka17 Jan 2020 22:12 UTC
32 points
1 comment15 min readLW link
(medium.com)

Some ex­am­ples of tech­nol­ogy timelines

NunoSempere27 Mar 2020 18:13 UTC
24 points
0 comments16 min readLW link

Two Kinds of Tech­nol­ogy Change

johnswentworth11 Oct 2018 4:54 UTC
60 points
19 comments3 min readLW link

In­dus­trial literacy

jasoncrawford30 Sep 2020 16:39 UTC
250 points
126 comments3 min readLW link
(rootsofprogress.org)

Is Science Slow­ing Down?

Scott Alexander27 Nov 2018 3:30 UTC
114 points
77 comments9 min readLW link
(slatestarcodex.com)

The 300-year jour­ney to the covid vaccine

jasoncrawford9 Nov 2020 23:06 UTC
115 points
7 comments5 min readLW link
(rootsofprogress.org)

The Coper­ni­can Revolu­tion from the Inside

jacobjacob1 Nov 2017 10:51 UTC
94 points
45 comments19 min readLW link

Why has nu­clear power been a flop?

jasoncrawford16 Apr 2021 16:49 UTC
120 points
42 comments15 min readLW link
(rootsofprogress.org)

Thiel on Progress and Stagnation

Richard_Ngo20 Jul 2020 20:27 UTC
151 points
30 comments11 min readLW link
(docs.google.com)

Why haven’t we cel­e­brated any ma­jor achieve­ments lately?

jasoncrawford17 Aug 2020 20:34 UTC
145 points
55 comments12 min readLW link
(rootsofprogress.org)

19th-cen­tury progress studies

jasoncrawford27 Aug 2020 2:28 UTC
30 points
0 comments3 min readLW link
(rootsofprogress.org)

The Rise and Fall of Amer­i­can Growth: A summary

jasoncrawford5 Oct 2020 21:41 UTC
57 points
9 comments11 min readLW link
(rootsofprogress.org)

1960: The Year The Sin­gu­lar­ity Was Cancelled

Scott Alexander23 Apr 2019 1:30 UTC
93 points
14 comments11 min readLW link2 nominations1 review
(slatestarcodex.com)

How to end stag­na­tion?

jasoncrawford1 Mar 2021 19:42 UTC
38 points
35 comments4 min readLW link
(rootsofprogress.org)

A dash­board for progress

jasoncrawford21 Mar 2021 3:51 UTC
24 points
8 comments2 min readLW link
(rootsofprogress.org)

Why did we wait so long for the bi­cy­cle?

Ruby17 Jul 2019 18:45 UTC
47 points
10 comments3 min readLW link
(rootsofprogress.org)

An­nounc­ing Progress Stud­ies for Young Schol­ars, an on­line sum­mer pro­gram in the his­tory of technology

jasoncrawford20 May 2020 0:52 UTC
19 points
0 comments1 min readLW link
(rootsofprogress.org)

[Question] Why didn’t Agoric Com­put­ing be­come pop­u­lar?

Wei_Dai16 Feb 2019 6:19 UTC
50 points
22 comments2 min readLW link

Turn­ing air into bread

jasoncrawford21 Oct 2019 17:50 UTC
92 points
12 comments6 min readLW link2 nominations1 review
(rootsofprogress.org)

On the Loss and Preser­va­tion of Knowledge

Samo Burja8 Mar 2018 18:40 UTC
51 points
20 comments10 min readLW link
(medium.com)

Why Science is slow­ing down, Univer­si­ties and Maslow’s hi­er­ar­chy of needs

George15 Feb 2020 20:39 UTC
15 points
24 comments10 min readLW link

“Is Science Bro­ken?” is underspecified

NancyLebovitz12 Aug 2016 11:59 UTC
16 points
11 comments1 min readLW link

Why any­thing that can be for-profit, should be

jasoncrawford29 Apr 2020 20:00 UTC
50 points
39 comments6 min readLW link
(rootsofprogress.org)

A let­ter on op­ti­mism about hu­man progress

jasoncrawford4 Dec 2019 4:21 UTC
34 points
3 comments3 min readLW link
(letter.wiki)

In­stant stone (just add wa­ter!)

jasoncrawford13 Nov 2019 22:33 UTC
97 points
28 comments4 min readLW link2 nominations3 reviews
(rootsofprogress.org)

Book re­view: The Sleep­walk­ers by Arthur Koestler

Richard_Ngo23 Apr 2019 0:10 UTC
67 points
26 comments9 min readLW link
(thinkingcomplete.blogspot.com)

In­tel­lec­tual Progress In­side and Out­side Academia

Ben Pace2 Sep 2017 23:08 UTC
39 points
5 comments14 min readLW link

Shut­tling be­tween sci­ence and invention

jasoncrawford27 May 2020 21:25 UTC
35 points
0 comments6 min readLW link
(rootsofprogress.org)

Pas­teur’s quadrant

jasoncrawford5 Jun 2020 17:47 UTC
34 points
2 comments5 min readLW link
(rootsofprogress.org)

Book re­view: The Tech­nol­ogy Trap

Richard_Ngo20 Jul 2019 12:40 UTC
28 points
1 comment5 min readLW link
(thinkingcomplete.blogspot.com)

Why ev­ery­thing might have taken so long

KatjaGrace1 Jan 2018 1:00 UTC
98 points
16 comments3 min readLW link
(meteuphoric.wordpress.com)

The Fu­ture of Science

Richard_Ngo28 Jul 2020 2:43 UTC
21 points
2 comments7 min readLW link

Tra­di­tion is Smarter Than You Are

Kaj_Sotala19 Sep 2018 17:54 UTC
64 points
10 comments1 min readLW link
(scholars-stage.blogspot.com)

The Era Of Un­limited Every­thing: Un­limited Ma­te­ri­als & Un­limited Money

jdampolargo1 Aug 2020 3:01 UTC
4 points
11 comments10 min readLW link

The YouTube Revolu­tion in Knowl­edge Transfer

Samo Burja17 Sep 2019 20:10 UTC
50 points
7 comments4 min readLW link
(medium.com)

Sto­ries About Academia

Ben Pace2 Sep 2019 18:40 UTC
32 points
1 comment19 min readLW link

Sto­ries About Progress

Ben Pace8 Sep 2019 23:07 UTC
28 points
1 comment19 min readLW link

S-Curves for Trend Forecasting

Matt Goldenberg23 Jan 2019 18:17 UTC
99 points
22 comments7 min readLW link2 nominations4 reviews

An­nounc­ing: Progress Stud­ies Read­ing Group.

Sami_beanz30 Aug 2020 10:39 UTC
6 points
0 comments1 min readLW link

[Question] What makes peo­ple in­tel­lec­tu­ally ac­tive?

abramdemski29 Dec 2018 22:29 UTC
96 points
63 comments1 min readLW link

Some el­e­ments of in­dus­trial literacy

jasoncrawford8 Oct 2020 19:51 UTC
9 points
3 comments1 min readLW link
(rootsofprogress.org)

Tech­nol­ogy and its side effects

jasoncrawford13 Oct 2020 20:07 UTC
17 points
3 comments3 min readLW link
(rootsofprogress.org)

[Question] What is our true life ex­pec­tancy?

adamzerner23 Oct 2020 23:17 UTC
14 points
23 comments1 min readLW link

A re­view of Where Is My Fly­ing Car? by J. Storrs Hall

jasoncrawford6 Nov 2020 20:01 UTC
87 points
21 comments11 min readLW link
(rootsofprogress.org)

Epistemic Progress

ozziegooen20 Nov 2020 19:58 UTC
49 points
15 comments5 min readLW link

The Flynn Effect Clarified

PeterMcCluskey12 Dec 2020 5:18 UTC
33 points
2 comments4 min readLW link
(www.bayesianinvestor.com)

When life was liter­ally full of crap

jasoncrawford21 Dec 2020 21:16 UTC
57 points
4 comments5 min readLW link
(rootsofprogress.org)

Tech­nolog­i­cal stag­na­tion: Why I came around

jasoncrawford23 Jan 2021 22:05 UTC
157 points
73 comments8 min readLW link
(rootsofprogress.org)

Clar­ifi­ca­tions on tech stagnation

jasoncrawford31 Jan 2021 0:59 UTC
20 points
3 comments1 min readLW link
(rootsofprogress.org)

[Question] Math­e­mat­i­cal Models of Progress?

abramdemski16 Feb 2021 0:21 UTC
28 points
8 comments2 min readLW link

Ex­po­nen­tial growth is the baseline

jasoncrawford22 Feb 2021 2:08 UTC
27 points
2 comments6 min readLW link
(rootsofprogress.org)

Les­sons from “The Book of My Life”

bmgarfinkel6 Jan 2021 22:40 UTC
99 points
3 comments16 min readLW link
(benmgarfinkel.wordpress.com)

High­lights from The Au­to­bi­og­ra­phy of An­drew Carnegie

jasoncrawford8 Apr 2021 22:03 UTC
88 points
7 comments19 min readLW link
(rootsofprogress.org)

Wanted: Re­search As­sis­tant for The Roots of Progress

jasoncrawford19 Apr 2021 19:03 UTC
31 points
1 comment1 min readLW link
(rootsofprogress.org)

We need a ca­reer path for invention

jasoncrawford29 Apr 2021 18:11 UTC
52 points
16 comments4 min readLW link
(rootsofprogress.org)

Did the In­dus­trial Revolu­tion de­crease costs or in­crease qual­ity?

jasoncrawford20 May 2021 21:10 UTC
69 points
5 comments4 min readLW link
(rootsofprogress.org)

Jan Bloch’s Im­pos­si­ble War

Hivewired17 Feb 2020 16:14 UTC
99 points
31 comments5 min readLW link
(hivewired.wordpress.com)

The abrupt­ness of nu­clear weapons

paulfchristiano25 Feb 2018 17:40 UTC
46 points
35 comments2 min readLW link

Can the Chain Still Hold You?

lukeprog13 Jan 2012 1:28 UTC
178 points
360 comments4 min readLW link

Drain­ing the swamp

jasoncrawford28 Jan 2020 21:37 UTC
90 points
0 comments11 min readLW link
(rootsofprogress.org)

For progress to be by ac­cu­mu­la­tion and not by ran­dom walk, read great books

MichaelVassar2 Mar 2010 8:11 UTC
63 points
115 comments3 min readLW link

[Question] Which sci­en­tific dis­cov­ery was most ahead of its time?

Richard_Ngo16 May 2019 12:58 UTC
38 points
14 comments1 min readLW link

Is the rate of sci­en­tific progress slow­ing down? (by Tyler Cowen and Ben South­wood)

Ben Pace2 Dec 2019 3:45 UTC
48 points
6 comments1 min readLW link
(docs.google.com)

Why safety is not safe

rwallace14 Jun 2009 5:20 UTC
52 points
118 comments5 min readLW link

Is the World Get­ting Bet­ter? A brief sum­mary of re­cent debate

ErickBall6 Feb 2019 17:38 UTC
35 points
7 comments2 min readLW link
(capx.co)

For the past, in some ways only, we are moral degenerates

Stuart_Armstrong7 Jun 2019 15:57 UTC
32 points
17 comments2 min readLW link

A Pro­posed Ad­just­ment to the Astro­nom­i­cal Waste Argument

Nick_Beckstead27 May 2013 3:39 UTC
34 points
38 comments12 min readLW link

[Question] How do we iden­tify bot­tle­necks to sci­en­tific and tech­nolog­i­cal progress?

NaiveTortoise31 Dec 2018 20:21 UTC
29 points
12 comments2 min readLW link

The effi­ciency of prizes

lukeprog3 Apr 2012 21:45 UTC
37 points
18 comments2 min readLW link

[Question] Could Nixon go­ing to China be a cause for the big stag­na­tion?

ChristianKl5 Jul 2020 6:58 UTC
16 points
4 comments1 min readLW link

How to an­a­lyze progress, stag­na­tion, and low-hang­ing fruit

jasoncrawford15 Jun 2020 21:02 UTC
40 points
9 comments4 min readLW link
(rootsofprogress.org)

Study Group for Progress – 50% off for LessWrongers

jasoncrawford3 Sep 2020 0:17 UTC
14 points
2 comments1 min readLW link

Cut­ting edge technology

Elo31 Oct 2017 6:00 UTC
10 points
7 comments2 min readLW link

Indig­na­tion in re­sponse to the 1890 census

jasoncrawford8 Sep 2020 20:14 UTC
24 points
1 comment1 min readLW link
(rootsofprogress.org)

Peter Thiel warns of up­com­ing (and cur­rent) stagnation

SilasBarta4 Oct 2011 17:30 UTC
36 points
121 comments2 min readLW link

Progress: Fluke or trend?

jasoncrawford13 Sep 2020 0:21 UTC
16 points
19 comments2 min readLW link
(rootsofprogress.org)

A prior for tech­nolog­i­cal discontinuities

NunoSempere13 Oct 2020 16:51 UTC
50 points
17 comments6 min readLW link

(How) should we pur­sue hu­man longevity?

Milan Cvitkovic24 Oct 2020 19:13 UTC
21 points
22 comments1 min readLW link

Si­mu­la­tion of tech­nolog­i­cal progress (work in progress)

Daniel Kokotajlo10 Feb 2020 20:39 UTC
21 points
9 comments5 min readLW link

[Question] Has a tech­nolog­i­cal de­pen­dency graph been made?

Mati_Roy27 Feb 2020 20:51 UTC
20 points
4 comments1 min readLW link

En­gelbart: In­suffi­ciently Recursive

Eliezer Yudkowsky26 Nov 2008 8:31 UTC
17 points
22 comments7 min readLW link

Were vac­cines rele­vant to 20th cen­tury US mor­tal­ity im­prove­ments?

jasoncrawford10 Dec 2019 0:13 UTC
12 points
7 comments3 min readLW link
(rootsofprogress.org)

Iron: From myth­i­cal to mundane

jasoncrawford24 Oct 2019 22:43 UTC
19 points
8 comments1 min readLW link
(rootsofprogress.org)

[Question] The tech left behind

Leafcraft12 Mar 2019 14:47 UTC
25 points
22 comments1 min readLW link

The Triumph of Hu­man­ity Chart

Dias26 Oct 2015 1:41 UTC
30 points
79 comments1 min readLW link

[Question] What do you think should be in­cluded in a se­ries about con­cep­tual me­dia?

Polytopos31 Dec 2020 1:40 UTC
2 points
5 comments1 min readLW link

Is the world be­com­ing bet­ter?

invertedpassion6 Feb 2021 9:28 UTC
34 points
6 comments5 min readLW link

Met­ric se­lec­tion bias: why Moore’s law is less im­por­tant than you think

aaronb508 Feb 2021 0:21 UTC
18 points
10 comments6 min readLW link
(aaronbergman.substack.com)

Notes on Hen­rich’s “The WEIRDest Peo­ple in the World” (2020)

MichaelA14 Feb 2021 8:40 UTC
15 points
0 comments8 min readLW link

The Na­tional Dash­board and Hu­man Progress

maxa15 Apr 2021 19:21 UTC
6 points
3 comments7 min readLW link
(max2c.com)
No comments.