From Understanding the Accelerating Rate of Change by Ray Kurzweil and Chris Meyer: “We’re entering an age of acceleration. The models underlying society at every level, which are largely based on a linear model of change, are going to have to be redefined. Because of the explosive power of exponential growth, the 21st century will be equivalent to 20,000 years of progress at today’s rate of progress; organizations have to be able to redefine themselves at a faster and faster pace.” Some more excerpts:
The really pervasive phenomena is the exponential growth. We have exponential growth in productivity. Even that is understated because were measuring the value in dollars of what can be accomplished. But what can be accomplished for a dollar today is far greater than what could be accomplished for a dollar 10 years ago.
Computation is not the only technology that is growing exponentially. Communications, bandwidth, speed and price performanceboth wireless and wiredare also doubling every year. Biological technologies, the price performance of base pair scanning, for example, have doubled every year.
business is more and more concerned with knowledge and information. And you know, we talk about an age where nanotechnology is fully in the mainstream, which is probably the 2020s. We can just convert information into any product. But were not that far from that today.
Look at modern factories. Its software that secures the materials at the lowest possible cost and arranges for their just-in-time delivery, and then routes them and sends them on their way. And there are only a few people in the factory. You really have a conversion of inexpensive raw materials, very efficiently secured and routed and shipped and shaped by software into high-quality products. So were not that far from an information economy today.
The value in todays economy is principally knowledge and information, whether information is a movie, music, or a piece of software, or some inventory control database. This trend will continue in an exponential way. The human knowledge base will be measured in bytes stored in databases, or patents filed, or whatever level you want to look at, and it is also growing exponentially.