Ive wanted to start posting again, so this is as good a time as any other. What got me to post is reading this article. Its a very pessimistic article - the article basically thinks we will soon descend into a new "dark age". He bases his views on assorted research that has found the rate of innovation going down, the fact that we will "soon" run out of oil, etc.
I dont agree with many of these things, but I will try to post about that more later. For now, it stands in direct contrast to Ray Kurzweil's ideas. I recently started reading his book, The Singularity is Near. He also came to Microsoft to talk a few weeks ago.
If anything, I am more on the optimistic side. Some of what Kurzweil foresees is hard to believe - not because I doubt our ability to achieve such levels of progress, but because the changes will represent fundamental changes in our lives and how we see the world. Kurzweil's views seem to be based on solid reasearch. Of course, there is always room for skewing one way or another. Both him and the research mentioned above rely on mapping the frequency of innovation/progress and its easy to see how this can be somewhat arbitrary.