Ken Larsen's web site - the Hockey Stick Graph describes the world of 2017


Here is a graph of world population growth:



It's called a "hockey stick graph", because it looks like a hockey stick.  For the longest time, population was increasing at an almost imperceptibly slow pace.  Then came the Renaissance followed by the Industrial Revolution.  Coinciding with those events came explosive growth.


This graph not only depicts population growth, it also correlates with:


The growth of information.  That growth began with the invention of the printing press is 1440.  In the 20th century, computers followed by the internet vastly accelerated the growth.  We now have Google.  You can  type in a question and get an instant answer.  When I was a kid, your only option was the card catalog at the local library.  That was far from instant.


The explosion of people and information makes today's world exceedingly complicated.  There is too much information.  No one can keep up with it all.  I'm reminded of a quote I heard when I was a student at MIT:  "Getting an education at MIT is like trying to get a drink of water from a fire hose."  That aptly describes our current world.


I once heard that the New York Times Sunday edition contains more information than a person living in the 1600s was exposed to in their entire life. 


Information overload can result in bad decisions.  Voters are too busy with family and jobs to make good decisions at election time.  They are easily swayed by sound bites uttered by glib politicians.  That can result in bad leaders and bad decisions by those leaders.


Population and information explosion can make jobs more stressful.  People have to work longer hours and spend more time commuting to fight traffic.  These can have a toxic effect on families ... resulting in a higher percentage of divorces.  Divorce has negative impact on children... messing up their lives. 


Along with the information explosion has come accelerating obsolesce and garbage.  We're clear-cutting forests and polluting our air and waters.  Plastic vortexes can be found in all of our oceans.  All of this has had a deleterious effect on the planet.  We're killing off species of flora and fauna at a hockey stick like pace.


We need to harness the bad aspects of hockey stick like growth, but sadly I don't see that happening any time soon. 



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