首页 > 体育 >永利娱乐娱官网|比尔盖茨推荐《增长》:一本关于增长的书,各种意义上的增长

永利娱乐娱官网|比尔盖茨推荐《增长》:一本关于增长的书,各种意义上的增长

发布时间:2020-01-11 12:26:23
[摘要] 美国宇航局称之为“总观效应”。无论你来自哪个国家,你从太空返回时都会感觉到我们的家园既小又脆弱,我们需要保护它。anyone who reads the new book growth, the newest of 39 brilliant books by one of my favorite thinkers, will come away with similar urgency. the

永利娱乐娱官网|比尔盖茨推荐《增长》:一本关于增长的书,各种意义上的增长

永利娱乐娱官网,after astronaut rusty schweickart looked down on earth from space for the first time, he described a sense of awe that has become common to almost every space traveler since:“you realize that on that little blue and white thing there is everything that means anything to you, all history and music and poetry and art and death and birth and love, all of it on that little spot out there you can cover with your thumb.”nasa calls this realization“the overview effect.”no matter what country you’re from, you return from space with a feeling that our home is tiny, fragile, and something we need to protect.

在宇航员拉塞尔·施威卡特第一次从太空俯瞰地球后,他描述了一种此后几乎每个太空旅行者都会有的敬畏感:“你意识到在那个蓝白色的小东西上,有着一切对你有意义的事物——所有的历史、音乐、诗歌、艺术、死亡、出生和爱,所有这些都来自那个可以用拇指遮住的小地方。”美国宇航局(nasa)称之为“总观效应”。无论你来自哪个国家,你从太空返回时都会感觉到我们的家园既小又脆弱,我们需要保护它。

anyone who reads the new book growth, the newest of 39 brilliant books by one of my favorite thinkers, will come away with similar urgency. the author, the czech-canadian professor vaclav smil, approaches things from a scientist’s point of view, not an astronaut’s, but he reaches the same conclusion: earth is fragile and“before it is too late, we should embark in earnest on the most fundamental existential [task] of making any future growth compatible with the long-term preservation of the only biosphere we have.”

任何读过《增长》(growth,中文名暂译)这本新书的读者都会感受到类似的紧迫感,这本书是我最喜欢的一位思想家最新创作的第39本杰作。作者捷克裔加拿大人瓦科拉夫·斯米尔教授,从科学家而非宇航员的角度看待事物,但得出了相同的结论:地球是脆弱的,“在一切都太迟之前,我们应该认真着手解决最根本的生存性[任务],使未来的任何增长都与对我们唯一拥有的生物圈的长期保护相匹配。

before i get into how smil came to this conclusion, i should warn you. although growth is a brilliant synthesis of everything we can learn from patterns of growth in the natural and human-made world, it’s not for everyone. long sections read like a textbook or engineering manual. (“a plot of the annual totals of passenger-kilometers flown by all us airlines between 1930 and 1980 produces a trajectory that is almost perfectly captured by the quartic regression (fourth order polynomial with r2=0.9998), and continuation of this growth pattern would have multiplied the 1980 level almost 10 times by 2015.”) and it has 99 pages of references!

在我介绍斯米尔如何得出这个结论之前,我应该提醒你:虽然《增长》神奇般地综合了我们能在自然界和人造世界的增长模式中学到的所有事物,但它并非适合所有人阅读。书中大段的文字读起来像是教科书或工程手册。(“1930至1980年间,所有美国航空公司每年飞行的旅客-公里总数的曲线图产生了一个几乎完全由四次回归(r2=0.9998的四阶多项式)捕捉到的轨迹。如果延续这种增长模式,1980年的数据到2015年将翻上10倍。”)而且它的参考文献部分有99页!

as smil writes,“my aim is to illuminate varieties of growth in evolutionary and historical perspectives and hence to appreciate both the accomplishments and the limits of growth in modern civilization... simply put, this book deals in realities as it sets the growth of everything into long-term evolutionary and historical perspectives and does so in rigorous quantitative terms.”

斯米尔写道:“我的目标是从进化和历史的角度阐明各种各样的增长,从而分析现代文明的成就和增长极限……简单地说,这本书落脚到了现实,因为它将一切事物的增长纳入长期的进化和历史的视角,辅以严格的量化方式。

when smil says“the growth of everything,”he means everything. chapter 1 introduces a lot of technical detail behind the three most common growth curves seen in our natural and built environments: linear, exponential, and hyperbolic. even if you don’t like math, don’t let this chapter scare you off, because it makes a really important point: it destroys the idea that you can take an early growth curve for a particular development—the uptake of the smartphone, for example—and use it as the basis for predicting the future. yes, intel co-founder gordon moore made a surprisingly accurate prediction about the exponential growth in the number of transistors on a chip. but even that“law”is likely reaching the end of its useful life. transistors are now so small, we’re running into problems making them even smaller.

当斯米尔说“万物的增长”时,他指的是所有事物。第一章介绍了自然环境和建筑环境中常见的三种增长曲线(线性、指数和双曲线)背后的许多技术细节。即使你不喜欢数学,也不要被这一章吓跑,因为它提出了一个非常重要的观点。它摧毁了这样一种想法,即你可以使用在某样特定的发展(例如智能手机的普及率)中看到的早期增长曲线,并将其用作预测未来的基础。是的,英特尔联合创始人戈登·摩尔,对芯片上晶体管数量的指数增长做出了令人惊讶的准确预测。但即使是那种预测法则也可能会失效。晶体管现在很小,而我们现在已经很难把它们造得更小了。

the next few chapters are easier to follow. chapter 2 is all about the growth of living systems—from microorganisms to sequoia forests, and from humans to dinosaurs. (by the way, did you know that the t. rex weighed only a bit more than a male african elephant, and a tapeworm can live 25 years?) my favorite part of this chapter was smil’s discussion of food production, which is instructive for our foundation’s work in agriculture and does a good job of explaining what kinds of productivity gains are possible.

接下来的几章更容易理解一些。第二章全是关于生物系统的增长——从微生物到红杉林,从人类到恐龙。(顺道一提,你知道霸王龙只比雄性非洲象稍大一点,而绦虫的寿命能长达25年吗?)这一章我最喜欢的部分是斯米尔关于食物生产的讨论,这对我们基金会在农业方面的工作很有启发意义,并且很好地解释了生产率提高的合理数值。

in chapter 3, he lands on a topic he knows better than just about anyone else: the development and diffusion of new sources of energy—from traditional water wheels to nuclear reactors. he has covered a lot of this terrain in previous books such as his masterful energy and civilization. but here he’s setting the stage for subsequent chapters on technological developments that were made possible by the conversion of resources like water, wind, carbon, and solar radiation into energy.

在第三章中,他谈到了一个他比任何人都更了解的话题:从传统的水轮机到核反应堆,新能源的开发和扩散。在之前的书籍中(比如《能源与文明》),他已经探索了很多这方面的内容。但在这本书里,这些内容为后面几章讲技术发展奠定了基础,这些技术发展是通过将水、风、碳和太阳辐射等资源转化为能源而得以实现的。

when i read chapters 4 (artifacts, such as cathedrals, cars, and computers) and 5 (societies and economies), i had to marvel over how smil’s mind works. the way he synthesizes information from dozens of different domains is amazing. i also marveled over all the miracles that modern civilization is built on, including power grids, water systems, air transportation, and computing. the book gave me new appreciation for how many smart people had to try things out, make mistakes, and eventually succeed.

当我读到第四章(例如大教堂、汽车和计算机等人造事物)和第五章(社会和经济体)时,我不得不惊叹于斯米尔的思维。他从几十个不同领域综合信息的方式令人惊叹。我也惊叹于现代文明赖以建立的所有奇迹,包括电网、水系统、航空运输和计算机。这本书令我对无数聪明人在尝试和犯错后最终取得成功,产生了新的理解和欣赏。

smil’s goal for these chapters is to show that no matter what domain you’re talking about, eventually you hit growth limits. steel, the backbone of modern economies, is a great example. after many years of metallurgical and mechanical innovation, we’re simply not able to make it a lot cheaper or with a lot less energy. ultimately, his analysis shows that what we’re trying to do in terms of changing our physical economy and the energy flows upon which it is built would be unprecedented in our history.

斯米尔写这些章节是为了表明,无论你在谈论什么领域,你最终都会达到增长极限。钢铁——现代经济的支柱,就是一个很好的例子。经过多年的冶金和机械革新,我们就是无法使它的成本大幅下降,或大幅减少消耗的能源。归根结底,他的分析表明,我们在试图改变我们的物质经济和建立它所仰仗的能源流动,而这在我们的历史上还并没有成功的先例。

in chapter 6 and in a brief coda, smil sounds less like an academic than an activist. he concludes that“treating the biosphere as a mere assembly…of goods and services to be exploited (and used as a dumping ground) with impunity—must change in radical ways.”

在第六章和简短的结尾里,斯米尔看起来不像是一个学者,而更像是一个活动家。他得出的结论是:“把生物圈仅仅当作一个商品和服务的集合……不受惩罚地开发,并把它当作倾倒场的做法,必须以激进的方式加以改变。”

i don’t agree with all of his analysis. in particular, i’m more optimistic than he is about the degree to which today’s renewable energy technologies can be deployed, and the pace at which scientists and engineers will develop new clean sources. in my view, smil underestimates our accelerating ability to model the physical world using digital technologies equipped with artificial intelligence. for example, future generations of clean energy will be designed and tested in computers, not on paper, before we try them in the world—a process that will speed up innovation in a dramatic way.

我并不认同他的所有分析。特别是在如今可再生能源技术的应用程度,以及科学家和工程师开发新式清洁能源的速度上,我比他都更加乐观。在我看来,斯米尔低估了我们的加速能力,这将通过使用配备了人工智能的数字技术模拟物理世界而实现。例如,未来几代的清洁能源将在被投入真实世界试用之前,先在计算机上(而不是在图纸上)进行设计和测试——这一过程将极大地加速创新。

but i’ve always felt that smil’s great strength isn’t predicting the future, it’s documenting the past. there’s great value in that—you can’t see what’s coming next if you don’t understand what’s come before. nobody sees the big picture with as wide an aperture as vaclav smil.

但我一直觉得,斯米尔的强项并不是预测未来,而是记录过去。这是很有价值的——如果你不了解过去发生了什么,你就看不到未来会发生什么。没有人能像瓦科拉夫·斯米尔一样,用如此广博的视角看见全面的情况。



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