Announcing the Study Group for Progress
This fall I will be hosting a study/discussion group on the history, economics and philosophy of progress.
The primary attraction of the program is a weekly Q&A, each week featuring a different special guest—usually a historian or economist who has written on science, technology, industry and progress. Reading from that author will be given ahead of time. Confirmed speakers so far include:
Robert J. Gordon (Northwestern), author of The Rise and Fall of American Growth
Margaret Jacob (UCLA), author of Scientific Culture and the Making of the Industrial West
Richard Nelson (Columbia), author of the classic paper “The Simple Economics of Basic Scientific Research”
Ashish Arora (Duke), co-author of “The changing structure of American innovation: Some cautionary remarks for economic growth”
Pierre Azoulay (MIT Sloan), co-author of papers such as “Funding Breakthrough Research”
Jay Bhattacharya (Stanford), co-author of “Stagnation and Scientific Incentives”
Patrick Collison (Stripe), co-author of “We Need a New Science of Progress”, the article that coined the term “progress studies”
Anton Howes, author of Arts and Minds: How the Royal Society of Arts Changed a Nation
Alicia Jackson, former DARPA program manager and director
The program will also include all of the reading from my high school course, Progress Studies for Young Scholars: a summary of the history of technology, including advances in materials and manufacturing, agriculture, energy, transportation, communication, and disease. This provides the indispensable historical framework for a proper empirical grounding of the study of progress.
The group will meet weekly on Sundays at 4:00–6:30pm Pacific, from September 13 through December 13. The guest Q&A will run 60–90 minutes, and the rest will be group discussion. (Recordings will be available privately afterwards if you miss a session.)
The cost is $2,400, and sponsors one full scholarship for a deserving teenager to attend Progress Studies for Young Scholars. Full-time undergrad and graduate students get a 50% discount, $1,200.
Event: Dr. Laura Mazer, assistant professor of surgery at U. Michigan
The Torch of Progress, Episode 10
“The Torch of Progress”, the speaker series of Progress Studies For Young Scholars, returns on Wednesday at 10am Pacific with Dr. Laura Mazer, Assistant Professor of Surgery at the University of Michigan.
Topics to include the history of surgery, and the state of medical training. Info & free registration here.
Interview: Venture Stories with Erik Torenberg
I returned to Village Global’s Venture Stories podcast with Erik Torenberg to discuss:
The key aspects of human progress
The history of progress over time
Whether we’ve traded off progress for safety
Why the idea of progress is relatively new
What the nature of science fiction writing tells us about our vision for progress
Why progress happens differently in different domains
How to think about safety with respect to new technologies
The impacts of slowing population growth