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Jamie Barnes

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There seems to be less "Pioneers" today.Are we as a race reaching the point of diminishing returns with our cognitive abilities?

It seems our concepts today are all simply extensions of the past and not brand new; many first principles are now centuries old. Is this the way it has always been? Have people always just participated in succession of ideas at the time or are we today short on people like Einstein, Tesla and Newton, to name a few?

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    Dec 8 2011: Pioneers are more numerous today, they don't stand out like they did in the past.
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    Dec 15 2011: I'd like to think the solution is an international NASA funding a real colonization effort, first for the moon and then beyond... Mine the rescources of the other planets and terraform one... It would be so much fun. Real pioneering... I think we have only begun to unlock the potential of the human species... if we don't kill ourselves. Why can't we generate buzz around another functional biodome?

    I also agree with Gerald however, that there are still great pioneers... they just don't get no respect no more : p
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    Dec 15 2011: Thanks for the reply, its exactly what I was after; inspiration and more information. It does seem these days we want more for less without considering just how much what we already have costs us right now.

    There are so many young people going into finance and commerce careers which focus on making them and associates more and more financially rich.But how does that behaviour relate to our welfare once an economy is destroyed? Maybe thats where all the innovation and pioneering is happening, in the areas which help us get more for less by tweaking numbers. We've become very good at clicking a button and acquiring a benefit, We love the positive externality of all this, but pehaps, its costing us more than we realise. This may be part of the asymptotic curve Bill Whittle talks about, with the fate of eventually ending up well below where you started.
  • Dec 8 2011: If you look at the old Pioneers, their work was rarely new, its was mostly an adaptation to a previous Idea that somone else had. Eg: The first person to come up with the atomic theory was Aristole in 6th century BC, and it was finalised by Neils Bohr in 1913, involving hundreds of people over the centuries.
    Nowadays, every new breakthrough is so specialised, most public media cant make heads or tails of it, so they dont report it, (or its too boring). Look at the Nobel Prize winners website if you want to see whats seen as revolutionary science these days.
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    Dec 8 2011: You can only discover America once.


    What I mean by this is that a lot has been discovered on the levels of Einstein, Newton, etc and a lot of today's work piggyback from the work of previous pioneers. Within technology I think we'll see more pioneering efforts in the future. However, this would also depend on your definition of pioneer.