The Origins of Progress

In order to find out what our world will look like in the not so distant future, Kevin Kelly questions what drives progress?

What is the origin of our progress?

There are several factors but chief among them is the invention of what we loosely call science. The ancient world accumulated many fabulous inventions [that] were distributed unevenly throughout the ancient world because each was discovered in a trial and error fashion, and the dissemination of their benefits was haphazard and unlikely. Geographical and cultural boundaries often prevented many innovations from spreading far.

Science entails not only the canonical process of observation and experiment, but also the systematic accumulation of what worked and why. A large system of peer-review journals, science societies, and reference libraries was more essential to the uplifting influence of science than was the notion of a predictive hypothesis. By systematically recording the evidence for beliefs, and investigating the reasons for why things worked, and then carefully distributing proven innovations, science quickly became the best tool for making new things the world had ever seen. Science was in fact a superior method for a culture to learn. It beat the best trail and error approach of the past.

via Seed