Who are we?
Question: What forces have shaped humanity most?
Ezekiel Emanuel: Well clearly religion has – both positive and negative. The wars of religion clearly negative; the idea that you have to have something to believe, something to think about, important.
Obviously technological advances. I read a recent statistic which just blew my mind away; that today, the average American has 10 times as much material resources that Americans had in the Civil War, which is just a phenomenal thing when you consider it. And it’s all because of scientific and technological advances. And the ability to harness energy, the ability to transform energy; just phenomenal driver in society. We have better killing machines too. And so both of those things are, I think, phenomenally important.
And we didn’t have much progress in terms of improvement in living standards for millennia until really the developments in the 16th, 17th century of science, and the ability to transform science into technology. And sometimes I think we don’t appreciate the flushed toilet enough; indoor plumbing, indoor heating.
I – in the late 1970s and early 80s – lived in Oxford in rooms that had no central heating. We had a heating coil. And I think you get to appreciate central heating – and the fact that you can actually live at 70 degrees all year around – a lot more when you are freezing and you can’t actually get to sleep because you are shivering so much. And I think that’s just a phenomenal thing to take for granted in our society. And it’s been a very short time since that’s been possible.
Recorded: July 5, 2007
Science has improved our standard of living, as well as our capacity to kill.
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
Research by neuroscientists at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory helps explain how the brain regulates arousal.
The big day has come: You are taking your road test to get your driver's license. As you start your mom's car with a stern-faced evaluator in the passenger seat, you know you'll need to be alert but not so excited that you make mistakes. Even if you are simultaneously sleep-deprived and full of nervous energy, you need your brain to moderate your level of arousal so that you do your best.
A disturbing interview given by a KGB defector in 1984 describes America of today and outlines four stages of mass brainwashing used by the KGB.
- Bezmenov described this process as "a great brainwashing" which has four basic stages.
- The first stage is called "demoralization" which takes from 15 to 20 years to achieve.
- According to the former KGB agent, that is the minimum number of years it takes to re-educate one generation of students that is normally exposed to the ideology of its country.
When these companies compete, the people lose.
- When a company reaches the top of the ladder, they typically kick it away so that others cannot climb up on it. The aim? So that another company can't compete.
- When this phenomenon happens in the pharmaceutical world, companies quickly apply for broad protection of their patents, which can last up to 20 years, and fence off research areas for others. The result of this? They stay at the top of the ladder, at the cost of everyday people benefitting from increased competition.
- Since companies have worked out how to legally game the system, Amin argues we need to get rid of this "one size fits all" system, which treats product innovation the same as product invention. Companies should still receive an incentive for coming up with new products, he says, but not 20 years if the product is the result of "tweaking" an existing one.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.