Exponential Technology

Exponential Technology creates a new phrase from two well-known terms. Exponential and Technology are both very powerful constructs in the human experience. Exponential, in this case,  infers scale in size, speed, costs reduction, and the like, as it relates to Technology.

What does Exponential Technology mean exactly?

A significant driver of technology, in general, is computing. Computing is made up primarily processors, memory and storage. Each of these components is improving exponentially by halving in price and doubling in capacity every 18 months or so (see Moore’s Law).

Today we are walking around with devices that a few decades ago would require computing power housed in buildings as big as a city block, costs millions and did little in comparison to what is in our pocket. We now have access for free to the nearly all of the world’s knowledge and connectivity to most everyone on the planet.

As of last year, you can customize your own thinking/doing machine with some variety of Customizable Maker Computer for as little as $20.  In 18 months these will halve in price and size and double in speed again. Very soon, these computing brain devices will disappear into things all around us, including ourselves. Here’s one:

Tummy problems? Just swallow this stomach-repairing origami robot made of meat | Ars Technica Magnetically controlled robot may fix lesions and remove accidentally-eaten batteries.

Just one example from 2016.  Exponential Technology is real and just about everywhere you look, assuming you do.

And that’s not the half of it (pun intended). But I digress…

With respect to how we live our lives, Exponential Technology can be thought of as significantly faster, cheaper and better. There used to be a fundamental construct in systems development that for any given advance, you could “choose any two” of Faster, Cheaper and Better.  But, with Exponential Technology, we can see that all three of those goals are not only possible but happening in technology all around us in many different areas at the same time.

Here is Peter H. Diamandis in one of his terrific videos. This one regards Exponential Technology.

To get a personal feel for what has happened in the life of someone born 20 years ago, let’s look at that Smart Phone of yours again. It didn’t exist. A few years before, a few wealthy folks walked around with a Briefcase phone, or one that required a car or a satellite to operate costing more than most people made in a year.

But, just about a couple of decades ago, it was beginning to be clear to some that the computer and the Smart Phone (and lot’s of other technologies) were about to take a ride on the Exponential Technology  wave.

Hard to argue that our Smart Phones are not exponentially better, just a few years after they were invented. The world of knowledge in your hand, the ability to broadcast live around the world and apps that replace a room full  of hardware. And that brain power can. and will be, implanted in just about anything to do just about anything.

And, most importantly, the Exponential Technology overlaps. As Smartphones got faster, cheaper and better all at the same time, so did many things around them and connected to them. The Internet, cellular networks, processing power, storage, memory and many other things were accelerating through faster, cheaper and better paradigms along with many other exponential technologies.

The speed this is happening, and what it means, is hard for us mere mortals to comprehend, even though we are right in the middle of it. Exponential Technology is racing forward, and bringing us with it.

So, what can we do to maximize the results of all this. Here is Astro Teller’s Ted Talk video on the subject:

Technology is the domain of humanity. And most of the earliest of our useful technological discoveries and inventions are still with us, just in more robust forms.

Fire, hand tools, the wheel, writing, language and many others were brought forth to us by our ancestors over hundreds of generations. Technology once took centuries to fundamentally improve. Flash forward to the last 100 years or so.

The Wright Brothers first  mechanized, heavier than air flight occurred  in 1903.  63 years later in 1969, Neil Armstrong proclaimed his step onto the moon as one small step for man and one “Giant Leap” for mankind. Giant Leap indeed.

In 1976, we landed on Mars. In 2013, the spaceship Voyager left our Solar System. It is billions of miles away.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX became the fourth entity to achieve space orbit with only China, Russia and the United States preceding him. Next year, it looks like you can have your own satellite for $1000 bucks.

You Can Send This Tiny Satellite Into Space For Just $1000 Personal space exploration just got affordable.

Now that’s a fast moving world, and not an anomaly.  Exponential Technology is all around us in more and more synergistic technologies. Innovations in one technology often dramatically improve many other technologies in very different technology sectors.

Today, there are Giant Leaps all around us in the technological terrain. While it is often startling when one sees the individual innovations at eye level when you take it all in, the changes happening around us are breathtaking. The future is still inconceivable in some sense, but, it is surely coming much faster.

Ray Kurzweil agrees:

 

Ray Kurzweil’s Four Big Insights for Predicting the Future

 

Most want to know what is going on with technology and Exponential Technology in particular?  Many want to know how they can be involved and benefit from the shifts in human capability through exponential technology beyond being a consumer. Some are already actively engaged in driving the exponential trajectory of a small set of core technologies that will change the nature of who we are.

What about you and Exponential Technology?

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