Here’s an article in Wired.com that does kind of an ad hoc, random job of summarizing performance increases over the last 100 or so years for (Olympic) athletes. Though it is kind of all over the place, the article is decent and worth reading if you care about sport and human performance.
The article notes that performance increases have slowed dramatically (!!) (read the article to see real percentages and to understand my exclamations) over the last few decades. All the low hanging fruit is gone.
From the article:
“The challenges of the 21st century are very different. At this point, the easy improvements have all been made. Margins of victory are going to be smaller, and the tools that help athletes win will increasingly be found not in the weight room but in the lab. Many sports will begin to resemble auto racing, where wins are determined by a combination of driving skill and technology.”
Except, not all the low hanging fruit is gone. We still have performance enhancing drugs to tap. But, like perfectly usable resources like oil, coal, natural gas, nuclear power, we – as a species – refuse to use them. We refuse to use available tools, readily accessible tools, known-to-be-beneficial tools to make our lives better. Why do we so blatantly force ourselves to lead less-than-the-best lives?
I don’t understand. We have to change – to start using performance enhancing drugs and other readily available resources in all aspects of life – if we’re to advance as a species. The scientists at Gene Camp understand this. Joseph Ivy understands this. When will the rest of us get it?