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Sophia Q


What are 10 things that have had the most positive impact on humanity?

I'm interpreting the "most positive" part of this challenge in a fairly utilitarian way. Most of the items on this list were conceived of in the spirit of positivity referring to "the greatest good for the greatest number". I'm not taking "most positive" to speak to the 10 things I find most purely "positive" and least "negative"; otherwise, this list would simply be my 10 favorite breeds of dog ;)

Spoiler: most of these are related to technology

    1. The Agricultural Revolution

    The OG innovation that took us from nomaidc hunter-gatherers to settled farmers and led to the developments of the first civilizations.

    2. And, part 2: twentieth-century improvements in agricultural yields

    We can do more with less land and human labor than ever before. I'm no technical expert, but I think this is due to advances in nitrogen fixation, stronger fertilizers, and improved techniques.

    3. The Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment

    The ushering in of an era of reason, when people began to abandon the herdlike mentality of accepting the church's doctrine unquestioningly and began to prioritize critical thinking and the scientific method.

    4. The founding of the U.S.A. based on the Constitution

    I'll be one of the first people to admit that we have problems in America. That doesn't mean our country wasn't founded in a historically unprecedented way that's changed the course of history, been a model for so many other countries, and led to the enfranchisement of more people than ever before.

    5. The Industrial Revolution

    Although it's left many downsides in its wake, the advent of industry changed our way of life and enabled all the incredible technologies that followed.

    6. The development of modern medicine

    Modern medicine has saved so many lives and has relegated so many issues that used to be commonplace to the past. In much of the world, the days where people died of simple infections, where women died during childbirth, and where it was normal for infants to die before reaching 5 are long gone.

    7. Trade and Economic Interdependence

    As consumers, we benefit so much from businesses and governments being able to trade with each other. Plus, this is a huge disincentive to war, one of the worst things humanity can experience.

    8. The Internet

    The internet has been nothing short of revolutionary. We have access to information at the click of a button, and that's unprecedented. Plus, the implications the internet has had on communications are incredible.

    9. Clean Energy

    I wrestled with the idea of just writing "energy," but I think the clean part is indispensible. Clean energy, and any developments we make in this space, will allow us to ensure the sustainability of our planet so that we humans can keep doing amazing things.

    10. The valuation and preservation of cultural heritage

    I know this is oddly specific, but it's a personal favorite of mine. Our world is becoming more and more tolerant, and I think that's beautiful (I know people will disagree with this, but I'm happy to converse about it and I think most metrics would indicate that it's true). With innovations in computing, and funding from governments and educational institutions, it's now possible to capture and record indiginous languages, knowledge, and cultural practices that in the past would've died and been lost to humanity forever.

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