digest | Civilization: knowledge, institutions, and humanity’s future

Insights from tech sociologist Samo Burja.
March 1, 2021

image | above

The contemporary city of Shanghai in China — home to over 26 million people.

— contents —

~ story
~ featurette
~ reference
~ selected reading

— story —

Samo Burja is a sociologist, writer, and the founder of Bismarck Analysis — a firm that analyzes institutions, from governments to companies. His research focuses on the causes of societal flourishing and decay. He writes on history, epistemology, and strategy.

Lessons from history.

In this talk, he describes a connected mesh of human interaction — from small to enormous scale — that’s the foundation for society’s progress. Then he details the complex ways this fabric gets affected. Eventually leading to either:

A robust + healthy human ecology — that thrives with each technological + scientific advance.
– or –
An anemic + unhealthy society — that back-slides into dysfunction + mass disorder.

Defying the odds.

Burja outlines these steps: investigate the landscape, evaluate our odds, then try to plot the best course. He explains:

Our civilization is made-up of countless individuals and pieces of material technology — that come together to form institutions and inter-dependent systems of logistics, development, and production. These institutions + systems then store the knowledge required for their own renewal + growth.

We pin the hopes of our common human project on this renewal + growth of the whole civilization. Whether this project is going well is a challenging — but vital — question to answer. History shows us we’re not safe from institutional collapse. Advances in technology mitigate some aspects, but produce their own risks. Agile institutions that make use of both social + technical knowledge not only mitigate such risks — but promise unprecedented human flourishing.

There has never been an immortal society. No matter how technologically advanced our own society is — it’s unlikely to be an exception. For a good future that defies these odds, we must understand the hidden forces shaping society.

We hope you enjoy his presentation. Explore more materials by sociologist Samo Burja on his website, and on his Medium blog — listed below in the reference section.

note: This talk by Samo Burja was held at a conference presented by the Foresight Institute.

image | below

A close-up of a modern wind turbine being assembled.


featurette title: Civilization: knowledge, institutions, and humanity’s future
presenter: Samo Burja
watch | featurette

— summary —

A talk by sociologist Samo Burja — exploring his research into how technologically advanced civilizations can find stability, by understanding the mechanism of its institutions + knowledge management.

presented by

group: Foresight Institute
tag line: Advancing beneficial technologies.
web: homechannel


— presenter —

name: Samo Burja
tag line: There has never been an immortal human society. I work on figuring out why.
web: homechannel

bio | Samo Burja is a sociologist and researcher. He’s founder of the advisory firm Bismarck Analysis.

— firm —

group: Bismarck Analysis
tag line: We help companies, governments, philanthropists, and investors maintain + advance our civilization.
web: home


related reading

1. |

blog title: Samo Burja
tag line: There has never been an immortal society. Figuring out why. I write on history, epistemology, and strategy.
web: home V

presented on

platform: Medium
tag line: Explore new perspectives.
web: home

[ post file ]

post title: digest | Civilization: knowledge, institutions, and humanity’s future
deck: A talk by Samo Burja.

collection: the Kurzweil library
tab: stories on progress

[ end of file ]