From the formation of the earth about 5 billion years ago, these three phases occur with almost equal ratios of durations, with transitions roughly 5 million and 5,000 years ago. The amount of energy that passes through these systems also changes quite a bit. (More on this later.) However, what will the next phase look like? A continued trend would say the next phase would be 1/1,000 of 5,000 years, which is 5 years, followed by one of about 2 days. Clearly, this is not what is happening.
As mentioned earlier, one interpretation of events from the Big Bang to the present is a logistic transition (that is, an “S” shaped learning curve or logistic growth pattern) in complexity. If this transition is realized, the rate of technology progress is peaking and will eventually slow down. It might be symmetrical about its midpoint; e.g., if the transition point was around 2000, then the first half of the 21st century might be similar in rate of innovation to the second half of the 20th century, and the second half of the 21st century would see slower progress, which happened during the first half of the 20th century.
Are there other trends that might connect these transitions? Some patterns in history concern the scale on which evolution occurs and the scope of its influence. In the very early universe, fundamental Planck-scale effects, such as the hypothesized inflation, would have caused fundamental changes throughout the universe.
One interpretation of the events that followed entails a sequence of better-understood processes involving larger particles occurring over decreasing scales — for example, recombination of electrons and protons to form hydrogen atoms in clouds; fusion into larger nuclei in stars; crystal formation involving rocks condensing into planets; simple molecules transformed into complex organic molecules in the early atmosphere and seas. Biological evolution occurred on various ecosystem scales through complex cells, multicellular organisms, and finally humans.
One interpretation of human evolution includes a transition in a relatively small ecosystem of part of the Great Rift Valley from forests to grasslands. Cultural evolution continued in ever increasingly larger communities (bands, tribes, villages, cities, states, alliances) with ever decreasing sizes (or, more specifically, increasing precision) of tools (fire, stones, sharp metal, clock parts, machine tool-made parts, microelectronics). If this pattern continues, the current scales might include a global community investigating tools at the nanotechnology scale.
This can be viewed as the universe starting with a very large temperature where matter is in its simplest form. As the temperature decreases and drops below the binding energy of compound objects, interesting structures form. The equivalent “temperature” for civilizations might be redefined to include the level of conflict and cooperation between communities. Concurrently, diffuse energy is focused, at first by gravity, later by humans. The more intense the energy concentration, the smaller the objects that can be developed and manipulated.
Is this an indication of evolution of a large complex system? Are these patterns seen in fundamental drivers such as energy flow? Are they quantitative? Or is this just a coincidence along with an overactive imagination?