About the Progress Forum
The Progress Forum is the online home for the progress community.
The primary goal of this forum is to provide a place for long-form discussion of progress studies and the philosophy of progress. It’s also a place to find local clubs and meetups.
The broader goal is to share ideas, strengthen them through discussion and comment, and over the long term, to build up a body of thought that constitutes a new philosophy of progress for the 21st century (and beyond).
What is “progress studies”?
“Progress studies” is an intellectual community and movement focused on understanding the causes of human progress, so that we can keep it going and even accelerate it.
What do you mean by “progress”?
Progress is the sum of the advances in science, technology, industry, government, and society, and the resulting improvement in living standards and human well-being, especially over the last few centuries.
I’m new to progress studies, what is a good intro?
A few starting points:
- “We Need a New Science of Progress,” by Patrick Collison and Tyler Cowen (The Atlantic)
- “The short history of global living conditions and why it matters that we know it,” by Max Roser (Our World in Data)
- “Progress studies as a moral imperative,” by Jason Crawford
- “How does progress happen?” (Vox interview with Jason Crawford)
- “Innovation around innovation—studying the science of progress” (Patrick Collison on The Economist podcast)
- “A Conversation with Mark Zuckerberg, Patrick Collison and Tyler Cowen” (video)
Who is the Forum for?
The Progress Forum is for anyone interested in reading about and discussing progress. You don’t have to be an expert or to have read anything in particular—we welcome newbies.
What topics are relevant here?
Conversations on the Progress Forum will span a variety of topics, including:
- The definition of “progress”
- How to measure progress
- The value of progress: pros, cons, risks, trade-offs
- The causes of progress, and which ones are fundamental
- The intellectual history of the idea of progress
- Technological stagnation: its causes and solutions
- Histories of progress in various fields: technology, law, economics
- Opportunities and bottlenecks in various fields
- Concrete visions of the future
- Progress and safety (including existential risk)
- Progress-minded approaches to other issues of the day (climate change, poverty/inequality, war, etc.)
- The philosophy of progress in comparison with other approaches, such as Effective Altruism
- Research funding (including current efforts in alternative funding models)
- Progress in science and scientific breakthroughs
- Moral and ethical progress
- Progress in governance and social welfare
- Progress in health and biomedicine
Who created the Forum?
The Progress Forum was created by a small team of volunteer developers, designers, product managers, and moderators. The development and maintenance of the Progress Forum is sponsored by the The Roots of Progress.
How can I subscribe to posts?
See options here to subscribe by email, RSS, or Twitter.
What is the moderation policy?
For now we have a few simple rules:
- Stay on-topic (progress studies and the philosophy of progress).
- Be civil. Treat others with respect. Avoid insults, limit snark.
- Discuss, don't argue. Seek to come at the truth, not to “win”. Generate more light than heat.
For more elaboration, see: The Comment Policy Is “Victorian Sufi Buddha Lite”.
Moderators may delete posts and comments that violate these rules.
How can I be a great participant in the Forum?
Beyond following the basic rules above:
- Be thoughtful and kind.
- Bring evidence and data for your opinions.
- Practice “scout mindset.”
- Upvote posts and comments that contribute to the discussion and are a good use of readers’ time and attention. (Hold the upvote button for a strong upvote.)
- Cross-post relevant pieces of yours to the Forum (and enter the original link in the field for the “linkpost URL”)
How can I contact the Progress Forum?
See how to Contact Us!
Love it, I'm a rabid fan of David Deutsch and think he's essentially answered these questions, so for fun I'm going to take a stab at them below.
I think that there is some value in this frame, but I guess I see this as limited to the context where we're generally replacing bad problems with a less bad problems.
I guess it would seem a bit blase in a context where we take a problem that is only kind of bad and replace it with something that is a catastrophe.
So my tendency would be much more cautious about the potential to create new problems.
Really excited about the potential of this forum!
Question: when I strong upvote the vote count only ticks up by one. Is this intentional? I'm a big fan of casting two votes at a time for stellar contributions!
The magnitude of a strong upvote is a function of the user's total karma and a multiplier range, see the code here.
Ahh, didn't know it was linked to karma. Thanks!
Hmm, I think it is supposed to tick up by 2. Are you sure you're getting a strong vote in? You have to click and hold for a while until it takes.