Automatic selection bias in news driven perception of technological progress

It’s a long winded title, but the idea is simple. If we informally judge, or simply perceive, the rate of technological progress from technology related news or developments, we will automatically fall into a selection bias that will overestimate the rate of overall progress. This is because news pertains to changes, not to stasis. So most of the data that is the input to our perception is concentrated around those areas that change rapidly. This is the selection bias. Thus, a naive judgement of technological progress assigns greater weight to rapidly changing technologies, and ignores those not contributing data; areas of stagnation.

The obvious overrepresented example would be information technology. Some underrepresented examples could be energy and transport.

Further thoughts on rates of progress (with a reverse selection bias!)

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