The Medium - Message Fit

I am pretty sure you are annoyed by facebook posts like the one below. The “Tag this guy/ tag that girl/ tag that Apache Helicopter” genre of Facebook posts has proliferated in my news feed in the last year. These kinds of posts have minuscule entertainment value but still, generate massive activity because people keep tagging their friends in the comments section.

Another thing that has annoyed me for a long time is the abundance of daily soap opera on Indian television. All the primetime shows are soap operas and nothing else. “Hum Log”, The first Indian Daily soap aired for 154 episode in 1984. Today it is not uncommon for a series to have 1984 episodes. I think the reason for this proliferation of Soap opera on Indian television and for these annoying Facebook posts is the same. They have achieved the Medium-Message Fit.

“The medium is the message” 
– Marshall McLuhan

Let’s take an example of a TV producer. Let’s call her Ekta. Now, Ekta knows some key characteristics of Indian TV audience. Those are

  • Majority of the audience belongs to Middle and Lower economic class families.
  • Prime Time TV is a family watching and families rarely change their TV watching habits.
  • There is no reselling value to the content she produces. No one will buy the DVD pack of her Show’s episode due to rampant piracy.
  • Each TV set owner is paying less than 5 USD per month for cable. Revenue per minute of content is low.

It is obvious to Ekta that she needs to create a show with low production cost and a lot of episodes which can run for years. Ergo Soap Opera.

Now, take the example of a Facebook page admin. Let’s call him Rajesh. Rajesh makes money by doing some small brand advertising on his page and some affiliate links. His income directly depends on the reach and number of his posts. He cannot trust the number of Likes on his page as Facebook only show his posts to the audience which actively interacts with his content.

Now, he is compelled to create content that nudges his audience to “interact” with it and not necessarily entertain. And the “tag that guy” genre of posts provides him with most “interaction” for the least creative expense.

The Medium — Message Fit is a state in which the content creator has maximized his return on a particular platform while minimizing creative risk and expense.

Every content platform has a content genre that achieves the Fit. For Instagram it is Selfies, for Reddit it’s memes and for blogs it is listicles. 
The content platforms are actually in control of this fit as they can sway the incentive structure. Youtube has successfully done that by changing its recommendation and revenue sharing structure. A few years ago small 2–3 minute catchy videos were popular, now daily vlogs are all the rage. Facebook has also done the same over past few years. Quora also seems to be changing their recommendation system to maximize their revenue (decreasing the overall quality of content on their platform in the process)

An important question here is Should Platforms keep changing their incentive structure to avoid Medium — Message fit?

Well, I don’t know the answer to this question. All of these platforms are profit-seeking businesses and they will do whatever it takes to maximize their profit. Even if they have to keep a significant minority of audience displeased.

What about the audience?

It may seem that in this Medium — Message Fit, the audience isn’t in much control. This is obviously not true. The content creator, as well as the platform, cannot function if there is no audience to consume the content.

When Medium — Message fit is achieved, the platform may remain appealing to the majority of the audience, it will become annoying to a significant minority. The network effect might ensure that they still use the platform but their loyalty towards the platform will decrease.

The Minority audience has no option but to shift to another platform. Don’t like the soap opera filled cable TV? Shift to Netflix/Prime. Annoyed by shitty facebook posts? Shift to Instagram/ Reddit/Twitter.

I, myself am a prime example of this. From past one year, I have gradually shifted my usage from Facebook to Reddit and Twitter for most of my social networking needs. I still use Facebook as all of my friends are still on it, but my loyalty towards facebook has certainly decreased.

How the content creators, the platforms, and the audience interact with each other will continue to evolve as platforms, media form factors and audience behaviors changes.

So next time you are frustrated by annoying posts your friends have tagged you in, maybe think of ways to incentivize the content creator to create better content.

Some TV that I used to know

The year was 2007. The place, my school. The last bell rang. We rushed out of the classroom like bubbles of well-shaken soda bottle and headed for bicycle stand. A debate started heating up about the current form of Yuvraj Singh and the upcoming T20 world cup as we headed back home.

Although I was enjoying the discussion, I peeked at my watch and knew that the debate needed to end. Afterall it was just 10 minutes to 5:30. And you know what starts at 5:30? BEYBLADE G-REVOLUTION ON TOONAMI. We ended the debate and rushed back home. Obviously, the next adventures of Tyson and his friends was more important than any debate we could have.

In the evening my mother’s cooking and the family dinner time was dictated by the daily soaps she used to follow and my sister’s weekend plan depended on TV premiere of latest Bollywood films.


And we were the Family that doesn’t watch enough TV. I knew people who would miss social events such as birthday celebrations and weddings just because of their TV commitments. Hell, One of my uncles was seriously considering changing his wedding time just not to clash with the “Ramayana” serial.

Some network television executive was inadvertently responsible for the family time of millions of families. Apart from the monthly fees and our attention span that was being sold to advertisers, We all traded our control over our own time for few hours of daily entertainment.

Apart from sleep and work, most of us get about 8 hours of free time per day. What TV was doing was taking control of how these 8 hours are divided and that severely constrained what you can do with your free time. You cannot do anything that takes 3 hours if you never have a single stretch of 3 hours of free time.

And we never questioned this authority that these vacuum tubes in our drawing room had over us. Maybe that is because we were raised that way. Most of us had a TV in our homes for as long as we remember. I believe this is a classic case of learned helplessness(check out the link, it is pretty interesting). We never questioned the authority because for the most part we were never aware of it.

But that is not the case now, right? Afterall we live in the age of On Demand Economy. You don’t have to be in front of the TV at exactly 8:30 at night to catch the latest episode of GoT. You don’t have to cut your social time short to watch the next Beyblade episode and you certainly don’t think about rescheduling your wedding for Ramayana.

You can just pop open Netflix or Amazon prime or n number other streaming services at your convenience and enjoy the content. Want to see the latest episode of Mr. Robot, it’s on Netflix. In the mood of some good old Mr. Bean check Prime video. For majority of the content, we also have freedom to choose the pace of viewing. We can binge the entire season in a weekend marathon or watch one episode per week.(no one watches one episode per week though).

So this on-demand streaming era seems to be much better than the old TV era right?

I don’t know. Streaming services seem to be much more convenient than the old tv at first glance. But, sometimes I find the streaming world a bit too overwhelming. I mean it’s just always there. Got ten minutes of free time? Youtube just knows which video you want to watch. Not feeling sleepy at night, just rewatch another episode of friends. Haven’t planned your weekend yet? Too bad now you will spend the entirety of it binging the new Marvel series.

As it is becoming easy to watch stuff online, somehow it is becoming harder to “not watch”. After all your attention span is the most important currency for almost any consumer internet company. All the variables that these services have in control are optimized to keep you from looking away from the screen. We were trading control over our schedule earlier, we are now trading our free time. And for better or worse this is going to continue for the foreseeable future.

I do miss some aspects of the old TV era. Things like flipping through hundreds of channels again and again to kill boredom or an entire family or some time even the neighbors gathering together to watch the finale of a reality show. But now it is just Some TV that I used to know.

Two major disadvantages of Smartphone revolution in India

The unmitigated advantages of Internet and Smartphone proliferation is one of the things I have changed my mind about in last few years.

There is no doubt that the current Smartphone and internet revolution that is happening in India is going to be cause of many fundamental changes in Indian society. But some of those changes may not be desirable. Here are few disadvantages that I foresee with the smartphone revolution in India.

  1. Smartphones are inherently consumption devices.

Smartphones are designed to consume media, not create it. This may not be a problem for many, but for the millions of people who are buying a smartphone now, their phones are the first and primary computing device that they will own, and that is a problem.

For many of us, our first computer was …. well, personal computer and PCs are inherently designed to create. PCs are supposed to be used to write programs, edit videos, create digital graphics and make memes. The same is not true for a low-end smartphone. It’s designed use is listening to music and playing candy crush. That’s it.

This severely limits Smartphone’s ability as an educational and creative tool. This is not much of a disadvantage as it is a missed opportunity.

Of course, as the demographics of smartphone users changes, there is a chance that hardware and software designers of smartphone industry will take a note and design smartphones with a different philosophy.

2. Fake news, Propaganda, and memes.

I would be the last person to talk bad about internet memes but, when memes are not consumed with the right spirit it can be a problem.

Many recent revolutions were started because of the Internet and the freedom of information it provides. But many a time grave actions were also taken when wrong but viral information was shared on the internet.

A fake celebrity death is the most popular kind of Shareable fake news. However, fake political statements, misunderstood public policy and unverified scientific claims also form a sizeable chunk of the Shareable fake news.

Open your family Whatsapp group, scroll up a while. You will find a forwarded message that is one of these.

  1. A magical cure for Hair Loss/ Diabetes/ Blood pressure.
  2. How a famous celebrity is not who you think he/she is and actually related to ISIS or some other terror group.
  3. Politically charged argument on how a random recent tragedy is a fault of either current or past administration.
  4. A meme of a Politician or public figure taken well out of context.

I personally have no problem with any of the above, but it is very surprising how much people trust these kinds of things on the Internet. This phenomenon is greatly amplified when the Smartphone is the only news and entertainment source in a family.

Of course, Smartphone is not the only part of the equation. Internet as a whole is broken when it comes to supplying information and facts. As someone who spends a large chunk of personal time on the internet, it saddens me that there is a right way to introduce someone to the internet and then there is a wrong one.

Just to be clear I am all for the growing Smartphone and internet penetration in India. The advantages greatly outweigh the disadvantages. But having a healthy conversation regarding these issues is more important than ever now as we are on the verge of crossing the chasm of digital India.

How I fell in love with twitter

For the most part of my life, I did not understand how Twitter worked. I remember when I was in middle school, someone told me, Twitter is just like Orkut and I created an account.

I logged into Twitter for the first time and I had no idea what I was supposed to do. What was I supposed to “Tweet”. I followed some Bollywood celebrities. I had no idea why they were tweeting what they were tweeting. The entire twitterverse was moving too fast for me.

I had similar experience few times during college but as I started my job, I started using twitter. I cannot think of a concrete reason for this but I guess the outer world started mattering more to me and twitterverse became my window to this larger world.

Here are few things that I love about Twitter.

  • It is Fast. The speed at which a hashtag is formed or something is retweeted is astonishing. No other social media come even close.
  • Bragging potential of Twitter is low. You don’t post photos of your food or your latest trip to Manali on Twitter. I read somewhere on the internet that ideal Social media post should be either entertaining, informative or both, and nothing else. In case of Twitter, those are the only option you have.
  • People are more human on Twitter. Since you cannot brag on twitter you have to tweet your actual opinions and news.

So, What do I share on twitter?

I don’t really have any followers on Twitter. This is a good thing as I can use it for a very distinct purpose. I tweet anything that I find cool, but my immediate network might not find useful. My tweets can generally be categorized as:

  1. Terrible jokes like this one

2. My comments on the things around the world.

3. Rants about some services and companies.

I can summarize the above and my other social networking behavior in the chart below.

Twitter does have some deep flaws

As wonderful as Twitter is, there are some major shortcomings in the platform. Few of them are:

  • The learning curve. Twitter is not the most welcoming of new users. It certainly is an acquired taste for most users.
  • The UI is could be better. I might have this opinion just because I am so used to the Facebook UI, but I think the way comments and threads are represented could be better.
  • Tweets cannot be edited. It is 2018, we have self-driving cars, We can unlock phones by just looking at them, we have fully decentralized currencies But, we cannot edit tweets. This is not a problem for me (as I don’t really have any followers) but is a problem for the famous people because of whom most people use twitter.

Obviously, Twitter is not for everyone. It will certainly not have the level of success the facebooks and Instagrams (read, braggable social media) have but, Twitter is certainly an essential part of my Internet life now.

My introduction to F1

I have done it. I followed the complete F1 2017 season. This may not sound like an achievement, but for a 22-year-old who hasn’t ever followed any sport in his entire lifetime, it is a special achievement.

Until March of this year, I didn’t use to follow any sport. Of course, as an Indian, I have watched many of India’s cricket world cup matches and as a roommate of a football fan, I have also watched a few El Clasico matches. But I was never compelled to “follow” the league, championship or world cup.

That all changed when I accidentally clicked on an interview of Mercedes AMG’s team principal after the first race of F1 2017 season. That interview had just enough engineering jargon that it convinced me to watch the next race. And the 2017 Chinese GP was interesting enough to convince me to watch the entire season.

Now, the season is over. Lewis Hamilton is the World champion, Sebastian Vettel is as frustrated now as he was at the start of the season, and Alonso has become worlds no. one hater of Honda.

When I reviewed reaction after few races I found something intriguing. My emotional state was almost same at the end of each race. I was equally excited when Hamilton won the Chinese GP as I was when he came fifth at Azerbaijan. I was saddened when Vettel, Kimi, and Max crashed and I was also Saddened every time Alonso got a DNF.

I don’t know which team and which driver I want to support. I am not sure if that is a good thing or bad.

Here are a few contender who I could support.

  • Lewis Hamilton: The de facto champion of this season. An incredibly talented and equally honest guy.
  • Sebastian Vettel: The challenger to the Mercedes dominance in F1. The angry German of F1.
  • Max Verstappen: The young prodigy.
  • Daniel Ricciardo: The guy who doesn’t take himself too seriously.
  • Force India guys: Team owned by a (now infamous) Indian. Also, the underdogs who are surprisingly reliable this season.
  • Kimi and Bottas: The pseudo underdogs, talented drivers who are overshadowed by Vettel and Hamilton respectively.

People usually support players and teams they consider belong to their “Clan” and the easiest way to classify a “Clan” is geography. This is the reason most people support their national teams in world cups. A similar effect is seen in IPL and European football.

This geography classifier works really well for games like football, and cricket which works on a Team VS Team game format. But what happens when there are no Geographical classifiers. Thankfully I have an army of Indians following European football who can answer this question. Here are the most common explanations that they have for their support for a particular Team.

  • That team was doing particularly well when they started following the game.
  • Their favorite player is playing for that particular team.
  • The team is really good at marketing.

Honestly, I think the last reason is the most important as well as most underappreciated one. A lot of intelligent people spend a shit ton of time and energy into designing branding that makes you the fan of the team.

But I haven’t still decided yet who I will support in the next season of F1. And I think that is probably a good thing. Maybe I enjoy the game more because I am not a fan of any particular team. That way I am hardly disappointed after any match.

The Uber bond- The finances of future transportation

Uber’s self driving efforts

Almost everyone in the technology space is expecting self-driving cars to be future of personal transport. The day is not far when you would get up in the morning, get ready for work, and as you open your front door, a car rolls right in front of you. You get in the car, start reading newspaper and before you know it, you have reached your office.

Ride-sharing companies like Uber are more excited about this development than auto manufactures because although in a “self-driving, car sharing” economy, the car ownership may go down, but the number of hours that a car spends on the road will increase dramatically. Many people will abandon car ownership in favor of calling an Uber whenever needed. Some of the problems that replacing car ownership with Uber that we have now like availability at night and overall cost of travel will disappear with self-driving cars. As there is no driver to be paid, the cost of the ride is reduced, and there can be as many cars available at night as there are in the day time.

But what is the implication of self-driven cars for Uber, or any ridesharing Company for that matter? Uber at its heart is a network aggregator. Uber connects cab drivers to their customers and takes small fees in exchange for providing the connection. Uber doesn’t own the cabs, nor do they employ the driver. The cab drivers buy their own cars and pay for the maintenance from their pocket. This asset lite model is what has enabled Uber to expand so rapidly.

But what happens when there are no cab drivers? Who will buy the cars that Uber plans to operate? The Simplest solution can be that people buy the cars and hook them to the uber network to earn money from uber. This can very well work, but there is a better option for Uber. A way to have total control over the cars while still being as asset lite as possible.

Introducing The UBER Bond- A aaa rated Coupon Bond with discounted principal repayment at maturity.

Let’s say an average self-driving car hooked to Uber network is worth 40,000 USD. Calculating the earnings per car in a self-driving world is very difficult with the limited knowledge that I have, so let’s assume that the earnings per car per day factoring in the cost of fuel and charges of uber is 50 $ (less than half of what uber drivers make today). That’s 1500$ per month and 18,000$ per year. Let’s assume annual maintenance and insurance costs 10,000$ per year. The high maintenance is because some regular cleaning of interior and exterior will also have to be taken care by Uber.

That gives us 8,000$ in net profit per car per year. That’s an astounding figure. yearly return of 8,000$ for a 40,000$ investment gives 20% rate of return. Of course, you have to consider the diminishing value of the asset as well, but even in that case, this is crazy return on investment. 
So, here is how the Uber bond will work:

One bond representing one car will give a coupon of 10,000$ per year per bond for say 8 years. This 8 year is just average life of the car in Uber network. The maturity amount of the bond will be around 4,000$. The maturity amount is the scrap value of the car when it is discarded from uber network.

Assuming 10% interest rate for the uber bond, the value of the bond at issue can be calculated to be 55,000$ using standard valuation method of future cash flow. Uber can buy a car for 40,000$, add it to its network and sell a bond worth 55,000$ backed by that car, instantly making 15,000$ in the process. Uber will not remain just a transportation company, it will become a financial institution.

Of course, the calculations made here are too idealistic, market forces will shrink the margins for Uber a lot, but the model would still remain same. And Uber and other ride-hailing services are certainly interested in financial products. Uber just launched it’s own credit card. Ola and Grab are also investing heavily in their payment systems. This shows that these so called “Tech” companies are serious about expanding their horizon to financial products to fuel further growth.

So, what do you think will be the financial implication of self-driving cars and other automation technologies? Leave a response below.

Apple just went from a cult to a religion

The temple of Apple.

Iphone X was not the “One more thing ” of the September event, basically everyone in the tech world already knew it’s design and specs before launch thanks to the numerous leaks. Most of the other announcements like the apple watch and the apple TV were also predicted beforehand but, one thing at least I did not predicted was the first 20 minutes of the presentation about the apple stores. And that was the actual “One more thing” of the evening.

A bit of a history lesson first. Steve Jobs established the first two apple store in year 2000 with significant criticism form both inside and outside apple. His vision for the apple store was to sell apple products the way he wanted to buy one. And the apple store was a big hit. It was the fastest retail chain ever to reach one billion dollar in sales and did 16 billion dollars in sales in 2011.

But selling apple products directly may not have been the main goal of Steve Jobs. This is evident from last night’s presentation. No part of the store presentation focused on how the buying experience is better at apple store or how they are improving the customer support. Instead most of the presentation focused on how apple stores will harbor a community of apple loyalists. They even went as far to call these stores ‘town squares’.

Now forget what you just read for a minute and read this. There is a new religion now. It already has 500 temples in 22 countries. All these temples are located at prime locations. 500 million people visits these temples every year. Young children are encouraged to become devotes of the religion by teaching them skills like coding. Local teachers are encourage to learn at these temples and pass on the learning to their students. Local artists are encouraged to play at the temples to attract even more crowd. There are clever displays to show everyone the way of this new religion and how following it will make your life simple.

Apple is the new religion.

Apple stores are not there to sell you an Iphone today. They are there to make sure you buy only Iphones for your life. Here is a HBR article that explains how apple and other companies are working to create religion out of there brands, and apple is certainly winning.

Another funny yet striking way apple is similar to other religion is that it always asks for tax breaks form the countries it invest in.

So What do you think of this new religion? Leave a response below.

“Chota Hathi” Vs Actual Elephant

Tata ace Commercial

A few years ago Tata made this commercial for their pick up vehicle ACE. In the TVC it is implied that Tata ace is equivalent to a small elephant.

Or is it ?

* Roll Vsauce intro music*

A few days ago when I started thinking about the question, I immediately thought that even a regular size elephant should be more powerful than a puny 600cc engine . Lets do some simple calculations and figure out if this is in fact true?

The Tata ace is rated for 750Kg of load. And elephants are known to have carried weight of 4 tonne. So that’s it. Elephants are the winner, right?

Of course not, Elephants are incredibly slow. While tata ace being a motor vehicle is relatively very fast upto 55km/hr(15m/s). A elephant can carry load only at around 4–5km/hr(1.4m/s). And according the formulae of power output,

Power = Force x velocity.

Hence approximate power output of a elephant = 5000kg x 1.4m/s =7000 Watts which is equal to 9.4hp. While as for tata ace, power= 750 x 15= 11250 watts which is equal to 15 hp. Thus a tata ace is much more powerful.

There you go, now you finally know the most unimportant fact of your life. The Chota Hathi is actually more powerful than actual elephant.

Sell me this pen – A different take

Most of the answers to the “sell me this pen” relies on trying to make the pen more valuable than it really is. But one might try a different approach. Here is how it might go:

Interviewer: Sell me this pen.* Draws a random pen from the pen holder and places it on the table*

Guy: *grabs the pen and observes it* The pen pinned to your shirt, that one looks expensive.

I: Indeed, It is a very expensive pen.

G: And it looks great too. I bet someone gave it to you as a gift.

I: As a matter of fact, yes. My wife gifted it to me on our last anniversary.

G: Then I think it is reasonable to think that it is very important to you. *Short pause* But a few minutes ago I saw you doodling with it.

I: So?

G: Sir do you know who was rated the sexiest women last year?

I: I guess it was Emma something.

G: It was Emilia Clarke. Do you know why Sunny Leone or Mia Malkova wasn’t rated most sexy? They certainly exhibit more sexuality than Emilia.

I: *becomes a little self-conscious* I guess because Emilia doesn’t show her sexuality in each and every GoT episode.

G: Exactly.

G: You cannot doodle with that pen in a random interview if you want it to be sexy. You can only use it to sign million dollar contracts and write letters to your loved ones.

G: For doodling and other dirty work, use this cheap replaceable pen I want you to buy, and maintain the sexiness of the pen you love.

Why total human annihilation is less likely

Every religion have a concept of world destruction.Hindu mythology says that universe is destroyed at end of every “Yuga” and is reborn again. Islam has concept of “Qayamat” or the “Day of Judgement”. The point is that it is quite common for humans to think that humanity is doomed in future.

This begs the question, Is total human annihilation possible? Short answer Yes, but it not likely to happen. I mean, if a pulsar form a neutron star hit earth today, everyone of us will be fried and we cannot do anything about it. But, end of humanity is less likely than you might think, here’s why.

First, lets take a look at how human species have come close to annihilation in past.

  • Meteorite/ Comets :You may not realize importance of this threat, but earths orbit is crossed by thousands of Meteorites which are capable of destroying life on earth. A meteorite doesn’t have to be big to destroy us, one that killed dinosaurs was 10⁹ times smaller than earth in terms of volume.
  • Ice Ages: The last ice age happened nearly 22,000 years ago, and it reduced human population to fraction of what it was.
  • Plagues and other deadly diseases: The black plague wiped out a third of Europe’s population in 13th century, And that to in matter of few years. diseases are such a major concern that, Bill Gates thinks that it is greatest threat to humanity. Here’s a video regarding this.
  • Famines: A famine is extreme shortage of food caused by natural or man made factors that leads to deaths of millions of people. There are several extreme examples of famine in past. even today many African countries faces dangers of famine. With current rate of climate change,drastic drop in worlds food output is possible. This situation is best showcased in movie Interstellar.

Leaving meteorites aside, we have actually survived the other three threats. Despite whatever idea you might get form watching ‘Man Vs Wild’, we humans as a species are quit good at surviving on planet earth. We survived Ice age by fabricating better clothing and shelters. We survived Black plague by improving level of hygiene and maintaining quarantine zones. We have reduced chances of famine by the green revolution. The point is, We as a species, survived because of our ability to develop technology to tackle these threats. I repeat, we survived because we developed technology.

So, what is technology anyway?

Wikipedia defines technology as: Technology is the collection of techniques, skills, methods and processes used in the production of goods or services or in the accomplishment of objectives, such as scientific investigation. Technology can be the knowledge of techniques, processes, etc. or it can be embedded in machines, computers, devices and factories, which can be operated by individuals without detailed knowledge of the workings of such things.

If you skipped the above paragraph after “Wikipedia defines technology as …”, then don’t worry, you are not alone. The above definition is complex and quit frankly boring. We can define technology simply as:

Technology is the ability to control and utilize elements of nature.

Let me explain, better the technology, more is our control over the forces of nature. For example, when primitive human developed technology to light fire, we gained ability to control the energy stored in wood. When we developed steam engine, we gained control to convert this energy to mechanical energy and when we invented generators, we further increased our ability to control utilization of this chemical energy stored in fuel. Another example could be invention of vaccines, which allowed us some control over our own immune system. Or the radio, which made us masters of electromagnetic spectrum.

So, as we develop better technologies we gain more control over the environment which translates in better chance to mitigate an apocalyptic instances. And we are developing technology at increasingly faster pace.

We are developing technology at increasingly faster pace

This is something most people do not realize is happening. The rate at which we are developing new technology, is itself increasing. That means if we develop 10 Buttload of technology in 2010–2015 period, we may develop 20 Buttload in 2015–2020. Now this phenomenon can be better explained by the following thought experiment.

Imagine we can send 2 person from past, 50 years in future. First we select someone from 1600s and send him to 1650, will that guy be awestruck with the technological advancement in those 50 years? No, apart from few political changes, his knowledge of society and technology is still relevant. Now, we send someone from 1960s to 2010, Imagine how strange this world would be to him. He might have seen a Black and white TV, and now everyone around him is carrying some pocket size TV and watching moving cats on it. You can imagine how hard it would be for him to get his head around things like smartphones and internet.

Thus the technology advanced much slower in 1600s than it did during 1960–2010 period. May be, this is the reason many of the technological predictions are wrong. People fail to account for accelerated pace of technology. Like one time, Bill gates said 640 Kb ram will be enough for the computers, and we all know how that turned out. My chrome browser is currently using 200 times more memory than Bill gate’s limit.

The real rate of technological growth can be seen in the figure below.

As time passes, technology develops faster

Coming back to our topic of destruction of humanity, we know that better technology means better chance of survival. Lets us define T(ice age ), be the level of technology needed to combat Ice age, similarly lets define T (plague), and T (meteorite). Now the figure below describe when and how reach the necessary technology level to combat these threats

Thus as time passes we become more and more capable of handling these threats. Also if Elon Musk delivers on his promise, the probability of human extension from any planet wide event will be cut in half in coming 100 years as we form settlements on mars.

But you might say, even we accept the above explanation, what about human created threats.

What about Nuclear weapons and biochemical weapons and other WMDs ?

The technological advancements which enables us protection against natural threats also pave way for weapons that can kill humans at increasingly efficient rate.

Nuclear bombs are probably first technology developed by humans that can effectively wipe out humanity as we know it. And as technology progresses we might develop technologies which will be even more deadly than nuclear weapons. This begs the question, will the probability of human catalyzed apocalypse increasing?

I think it wont, and here is why.

Governments today care much more about human lives than they did few decades ago.

As gloomy as you might feel reading news about isis and boko haram, we currently are living in probably the most peaceful era of human kind. There are no countries fighting wars. Sure there are civil wars but there scale is much localized. Here is a video by Kurzgesagt which explains why war is going out of fashion. Destruction is simply not economically possible in our increasingly connected world.

So, humans may survive till the end of time, or we might be the last generation of humanity as we know it. What do you think ?