The power of the exponential....

A few weeks ago, Ray Kurzweil was at Google.

I caught the screening of the documentary about him: The Transcendent Man and then stayed for a Q&A with Ray and the director.

It was fascinating to say the least! I'm not even going to try and summarize his life and theories (that's what the Internet is for.:)), but what stayed with me most is a line from the documentary: "Ray's tool is the Exponential"

Its easy to forget the power of exponential growth and accelerating returns, which mean technology grows at rates we simply don't take into account or easily accept because the implications seem so bizzare. Summary below:

"An analysis of the history of technology shows that technological change is exponential, contrary to the common-sense "intuitive linear" view. So we won't experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century -- it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today's rate). The "returns," such as chip speed and cost-effectiveness, also increase exponentially. There's even exponential growth in the rate of exponential growth. Within a few decades, machine intelligence will surpass human intelligence, leading to The Singularity -- technological change so rapid and profound it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history. The implications include the merger of biological and nonbiological intelligence, immortal software-based humans, and ultra-high levels of intelligence that expand outward in the universe at the speed of light."

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