Friday, November 28, 2008

The 21st century will see almost a thousand times greater technological change than its predecessor

The Millennium Wave Suggests Dramatic Technological and Economic Changes

"The paradigm shift rate (i.e., the overall rate of technical progress) is currently doubling (approximately) every decade; that is, paradigm shift times are halving every decade (and the rate of acceleration is itself growing exponentially). So, the technological progress in the twenty-first century will be equivalent to what would require (in the linear view) on the order of two hundred centuries. In contrast, the twentieth century saw only about twenty-five years of progress (again at today's rate of progress) since we have been speeding up to current rates. So the twenty-first century will see almost a thousand times greater technological change than its predecessor."

Posted by sold 2 rent 1 @ 04:43 PM (902 views)
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9 thoughts on “The 21st century will see almost a thousand times greater technological change than its predecessor

  • Nice article on exponential change – but where is the Singularity?

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  • For Chri’sakes, we are in a recession but it’s not the end of the World. Some will be affected more than others, they will learn to adapt to the situation.

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  • last_days_of_disco says:

    I don’t see this great technological change. I just don’t see the next generation advancing at the same rate as we have in the past. Lots of areas of science are totally stuck and filled full of theories that don’t actually ring true and can’t be tested or the people in those areas are able to ignore reality. I can see that in my area of engineering.

    Technology has become more pervasive, but that is not the same as technology advancing. How many really new discoveries have happened in the last ten years?

    There has been lots of rehashing of old ideas endlessly with the actual advances coming exceedingly slowly (the Internet is a good example of this with finally the original idea of RESTful web services beginning to get some traction). I think innovation is slowing down, not speeding up. Technology has become a lot more pervasive, but a lot of it is brittle and the moment the lights go out, we are back in the 18th century. In fact the 18th century guys were better organised for that situation. We are too attached to our creature comforts.

    When I submitted my PhD proposal for the first time, my supervisor told me I was a dying breed of student who was really interested in discovering new things. He said, most just want a PhD, they are not interested in knowledge for knowledge’s sake. I found that most people don’t read the endless reams of papers produced for journals and that plagiarism was actually childishly obvious in some places — and I am talking Grade A engineering journals here, not some pathetic sociology stuff where you can say what you like.

    When I stood up to present a paper once, I was shouted down by the big shot at the conference for presenting a new idea that wasn’t an extension of one of his ideas. The other professors at the conference came to my rescue, but it was shocking to see the attitude. Sadly I never got to finish my PhD, but it taught me not to be too optimistic about the state of research in the west. Maybe I just had a bad experience.

    Any other former researchers want to share their experiences?

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  • Is this just a load of hamster nuts?

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  • LDOFD
    Just as warfare generates quantum leaps in technology, times of economic depression suppress the accepted wisdom and allow radical new thoughts to emerge. Try again

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  • I work in the area of bioinformatics which is concerned with data analysis in biological sciences. The rate of change spoken about here is very evident in my field. The latest development is what is called “deep sequencing” where one goal is to be able to sequence the DNA of every individual for $1000, “the $1000 genome”. The benefits of this being in areas such as predicting your susceptibility to disease (a bit like being asked your family’s history of heart disease or cancer but far more powerful). There is also a huge difference in drug tolerance/efficacy between individuals so this kind of information lends itself more and more to personalised medicine. Anyway my point is this stuff is moving exponentially in my 5 years of working in this area. Every year or two we need to move from megabyte to gigabyte to terabyte to petabyte of dataset size.

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  • The singularity is rarely talked about but is probably the only thing that can save the planet from turning into a nightmare distopia. Ray Kurzweil’s site http://singularity.com has a lot more information on the subject.

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  • planning4acrash says:

    MG, it also lets the military design better ways to get rid of specific individuals or groups. Its declassified that Porton Down has developed and is developing race specific weapons. It is the eugenicists dream. Its all compartmentalized, but you should at least understand the threat and absolute tyranny of a government that sequences your DNA without your consent. There already is no such thing as privacy when dealing with your doctor. This should be greeted with absolute horror to the average person on the street. Particularly when the government, corporations and mainstream media promote ideas that do not help us, like, blaming cholesterol for heart disease, when infact it is cheap vegetable fats and processed foods that cause it, and cholesterol is key to health, particularly of men. It is key to the man’s sexual functions, and, for both sexes is one of the main components of a healthy brain. Not only that, but, if the body doesn’t recieve cholesterol, it is produced by the liver, thus reducing its ability to process toxins and eject them from the body. This is why one craves fatty foods after drinking, because this stops the liver from having to produce cholesterol and frees it to rid the body of alcohol. They then push carcinogenic drugs that reduce healthy cholesterol, contribute to liver problems, stop it from cleansing the body, reduce IQ because the brain needs it and contribute to the reduction in fertility in males. So, with this in mind, knowing what the corporate/state medical industrial complex gets up to with our health, I’m horrified.

    But, some of the technology is empowering the rest of the people. Particularly the middle classes, and has countered many attempts by the establishment to impoverish us. Even recent attempts to inflate the currency have done little to really reduce our way of life, but have just stopped us from gaining a better way of life. It is clear from the current bubble, that the establishment are scared that the tremendous steps forward will liberate the middle classes. We already have unsurped their media power, all that is left, is for the middle classes to understand the corruption, particularly in terms of money, and its game over for these people.

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  • P4C what you write about cholestrol and damaged fats in our food is largely true. Cholestrol is important for the body, especially the immune system. However, you can hardly fault the medical community in helping people survive heart disease. My father survived for 10 years after his heart attack thanks to advances in this area. He himself said he was given these as a gift, after a life of smoking. My hope is that better knowledge can lead to better preventative treatments rather than just treating symptoms when things go wrong. That said I am not one of those people actually driving this research, I simply support in the area of analysing and managing the data.

    With all develpments and innovations there are dangers. Dangers from incomplete understanding of the consequences and also dangers from unethical applications. These will be some of the big challenges we face if the rate of technological develpment gathers pace.

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