Summarizing History

A good measure of humanity’s overall influence/power is world product,” and history is reasonably well summarized as:

  1. Animals appeared about a half billion years ago, and very slowly grew in their range of capabilities.  The biggest brains grew roughly exponentially.
  2. Roughly two million years ago, the niche filled by our human-like hunter-gatherer ancestors began to grow roughly exponentially in number (and in world product), doubling roughly every quarter million years,
  3. About ten thousand years ago, humans quickly adopted farming and transitioned to growing exponentially much faster, doubling in number roughly every thousand years,
  4. About two hundred years ago, human world product quickly transitioned to doubling about every fifteen years, as industry become common.

Robin Hanson, The Growth Groove Game

August 24, 2023