Exponential

GiantLeap.com is about Technology, but more specifically, Exponential Technology. Exponential is a very easy concept to grasp for humans, but the scale of it is very hard to appreciate.

Exponential is well explained by an old story about a king and wise man. The king asked the wise man how he would like to be paid for some services rendered.  Understanding the nature of exponential growth, the wise man asked to be paid in rice on a chessboard, with one grain on the first square and doubling the next square and the next through all 64 squares.

How much rice could that really be? This is a little kitchy but apparently enough rice to cover any country.

Things go well until the second half of the chessboard. Then, exponential starts to show its might.

Not into a Pile of rice bigger than a country? How about a penny for 31 days? Even the first half of the chessboard is pretty good.

About half a chessboard ago, Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel, projected that computer processing power would double while costs would halve every year and a half or so. Not only did that happen, things got smaller too. And, since processors are running more and more stuff, Exponential Technology is really getting interesting and revolutionary.

Like doubling, halving, like say costs or size, scales similarly, although the differences at the far end of the exercises are very different to us. Things become virtually invisible, free, and the like. Still, in many cases, they are beyond our ability to easily comprehend.

Exponential becomes a scaling problem for us mentally, as it hard to grasp. But numbers don’t lie. The exponential part of Exponential Technology is more than worth the effort to understand.

What to do? Here’s a take on Ray Kurzweil’s thoughts:

How to Think Exponentially and Better Predict the Future

Once you understand Exponential, there are many things coming your way even if you just sit and wait.  But Exponential is a force and if one chooses, one can be swept up in the wave and carried to all kinds of destinations.

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