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Thus one arc of human history has been toward a greater understanding of the real world, and the subsequent benefits of that understanding through manipulation of that world through science and technology. Our species now dominates the planet, and thrives, in a way unprecedented in history. And the pace of these changes is ever-more rapid.

(One social reaction to the pace of this change in the past century or two is the literary form of science fiction, which attempts to anticipate the effect of changes in scientific understanding or technological development on individual lives and on humanity’s understanding of its place in the universe.)