Law of Accelerating Returns

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The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence by Ray Kurzweil

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Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, cellular automata, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, Danny Hillis, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, fudge factor, George Gilder, Gödel, Escher, Bach, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, information retrieval, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, John von Neumann, Lao Tzu, Law of Accelerating Returns, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, the medium is the message, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Whole Earth Review, Y2K

So the time period between salient biological events grows longer as we grow older. And that is indeed what we experience. But it is the opposite spiral of the Law of Time and Chaos that is the most important and relevant for our purposes. Consider the inverse sublaw, which I call the Law of Accelerating Returns: The Law of Accelerating Returns: As order exponentially increases, time exponentially speeds up (that is, the time interval between salient events grows shorter as time passes). The Law of Accelerating Returns (to distinguish it from a better-known law in which returns diminish) applies specifically to evolutionary processes. In an evolutionary process, it is order—the opposite of chaos—that is increasing. And, as we have seen, time speeds up. Disdisorder I noted above that the concept of chaos in the Law of Time and Chaos is tricky Chaos alone is not sufficient—disorder for our purposes requires randomness that is relevant to the process we are concerned with.

And there are more than enough other new computing technologies waiting in the wings—nanotube, optical, crystalline, DNA, and quantum (which we’ll visit in chapter 6, “Building New Brains”)—to keep the Law of Accelerating Returns going in the world of computation for a very long time. A Planetary Affair The introduction of technology on Earth is not merely the private affair of one of the Earth’s innumerable species. It is a pivotal event in the history of the planet. Evolution’s grandest creation—human intelligence—is providing the means for the next stage of evolution, which is technology. The emergence of technology is predicted by the Law of Accelerating Returns. The Homo sapiens sapiens subspecies emerged only tens of thousands of years after its human forebears. According to the Law of Accelerating Returns, the next stage of evolution should measure its salient events in mere thousands of years, too quick for DNA-based evolution.

So Where Does That Leave Moore’s Law? Well, it still leaves it dead by the year 2020. Moore’s Law came along in 1958 just when it was needed and will have done its sixty years of service by 2018, a rather long period of time for a paradigm nowadays. Unlike Moore’s Law, however, the Law of Accelerating Returns is not a temporary methodology. It is a basic attribute of the nature of time and chaos-a sublaw of the Law of Time and Chaos—and describes a wide range of apparently divergent phenomena and trends. In accordance with the Law of Accelerating Returns, another computational technology will pick up where Moore’s Law will have left off, without missing a beat. Most Exponential Trends Hit a Wall ... but Not This One A frequent criticism of predictions of the future is that they rely on mindless extrapolation of current trends without consideration of forces that may terminate or alter that trend.

The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology by Ray Kurzweil

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Until I return to a further explanation, however, do read the first sentence of this paragraph carefully.) The law of accelerating returns is fundamentally an economic theory. Contemporary economic theory and policy are based on outdated models that emphasize energy costs, commodity prices, and capital investment in plant and equipment as key driving factors, while largely overlooking computational capacity, memory, bandwidth, the size of technology, intellectual property, knowledge, and other increasingly vital (and increasingly increasing) constituents that are driving the economy. It's the economic imperative of a competitive marketplace that is the primary force driving technology forward and fueling the law of accelerating returns. In turn, the law of accelerating returns is transforming economic relationships. Economic imperative is the equivalent of survival in biological evolution.

YUDNOWSKY, STARING INTO THE SINGULARITY, 1996 "The future can't be predicted" is a common refrain....But ... when [this perspective] is wrong, it is profoundly wrong. —JOHN SMART1 T he ongoing acceleration of technology is the implication and inevitable result of what I call the law of accelerating returns, which describes the acceleration of the pace of and the exponential growth of the products of an evolutionary process. These products include, in particular, information-bearing technologies such as computation, and their acceleration extends substantially beyond the predictions made by what has become known as Moore's Law. The Singularity is the inexorable result of the law of accelerating returns, so it is important that we examine the nature of this evolutionary process. The Nature of Order. The previous chapter featured several graphs demonstrating the acceleration of paradigm shift.

In particular ecological niches this overriding challenge translates into more specific objectives, such as the ability of certain species to survive in extreme environments or to camouflage themselves from predators. As biological evolution moved toward humanoids, the objective itself evolved to the ability to outthink adversaries and to manipulate the environment accordingly. It may appear that this aspect of the law of accelerating returns contradicts the second law of thermodynamics, which implies that entropy (randomness in a closed system) cannot decrease and, therefore, generally increases.10 However, the law of accelerating returns pertains to evolution, which is not a closed system. It takes place amid great chaos and indeed depends on the disorder in its midst, from which it draws its options for diversity. And from these options, an evolutionary process continually prunes its choices to create ever greater order.


pages: 372 words: 101,174

How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed by Ray Kurzweil

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Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, anesthesia awareness, anthropic principle, brain emulation, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, computer age, Dean Kamen, discovery of DNA, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, George Gilder, Google Earth, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, John von Neumann, Law of Accelerating Returns, linear programming, Loebner Prize, mandelbrot fractal, Norbert Wiener, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, self-driving car, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, strong AI, the scientific method, theory of mind, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize

When it helps us to catch a fly ball it is making a linear prediction about where the ball will be in our visual field of view and where our gloved hand should be in our visual field of view to catch it. As I have pointed out, there is a dramatic difference between linear and exponential progressions (forty steps linearly is forty, but exponentially is a trillion), which accounts for why my predictions stemming from the law of accelerating returns seem surprising to many observers at first. We have to train ourselves to think exponentially. When it comes to information technologies, it is the right way to think. The quintessential example of the law of accelerating returns is the perfectly smooth, doubly exponential growth of the price/performance of computation, which has held steady for 110 years through two world wars, the Great Depression, the Cold War, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the reemergence of China, the recent financial crisis, and all of the other notable events of the late nineteenth, twentieth, and early twenty-first centuries.

So we see acceleration in the pace of biological evolution, and similar (but much faster) acceleration in technological evolution, which is itself an outgrowth of biological evolution. I now have a public track record of more than a quarter of a century of predictions based on the law of accelerating returns, starting with those presented in The Age of Intelligent Machines, which I wrote in the mid-1980s. Examples of accurate predictions from that book include: the emergence in the mid- to late 1990s of a vast worldwide web of communications tying together people around the world to one another and to all human knowledge; a great wave of democratization emerging from this decentralized communication network, sweeping away the Soviet Union; the defeat of the world chess champion by 1998; and many others. I described the law of accelerating returns, as it is applied to computation, extensively in The Age of Spiritual Machines, where I provided a century of data showing the doubly exponential progression of the price/performance of computation through 1998.

I cannot say that Allen and similar critics would necessarily have been convinced by the arguments I made in that book, but at least he and others could have responded to what I actually wrote. Allen argues that “the Law of Accelerating Returns (LOAR)…is not a physical law.” I would point out that most scientific laws are not physical laws, but result from the emergent properties of a large number of events at a lower level. A classic example is the laws of thermodynamics (LOT). If you look at the mathematics underlying the LOT, it models each particle as following a random walk, so by definition we cannot predict where any particular particle will be at any future time. Yet the overall properties of the gas are quite predictable to a high degree of precision, according to the laws of thermodynamics. So it is with the law of accelerating returns: Each technology project and contributor is unpredictable, yet the overall trajectory, as quantified by basic measures of price/performance and capacity, nonetheless follows a remarkably predictable path.


pages: 294 words: 81,292

Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era by James Barrat

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3D printing, AI winter, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, Automated Insights, Bernie Madoff, Bill Joy: nanobots, brain emulation, cellular automata, cloud computing, cognitive bias, computer vision, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Danny Hillis, data acquisition, don't be evil, Extropian, finite state, Flash crash, friendly AI, friendly fire, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Loebner Prize, lone genius, mutually assured destruction, natural language processing, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, PageRank, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, prisoner's dilemma, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, Skype, smart grid, speech recognition, statistical model, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero day

In the event we survive it, the twenty-first century won’t see a century’s worth of technological progress, but 200,000 years’ worth. This juggernaut of projections and analysis is Kurzweil’s, and it’s the key to understanding the third and reigning definition of the singularity—his. It’s at the heart of Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns, a theory about technological progress that Kurzweil didn’t invent, but pointed out, in much the same way Good anticipated the intelligence explosion and Vinge warned of a coming singularity. What the Law of Accelerating Returns means is that the projections and advances we’re discussing in this book are hurtling toward us like a freight train that doubles its speed every mile, then doubles again. It’s very hard to perceive how quickly it will get here, but suffice it to say that if that train were traveling twenty miles an hour by the end of the first mile, just fifteen miles later it’ll be traveling more than 65,000 miles an hour.

And, it’s important to note Kurzweil’s projections aren’t just about advances in technology hardware, such as what’s inside a new iPhone, but advances in the technology arts, like developing a unified theory of artificial intelligence. But here’s where Kurzweil and I differ. Instead of leading to a kind of paradise, as Kurzweil’s aggregate projections assert, I believe the Law of Accelerating Returns describes the shortest possible distance between our lives as they are and the end of the human era. Chapter Nine The Law of Accelerating Returns Computing is undergoing the most remarkable transformation since the invention of the PC. The innovation of the next decade is going to outstrip the innovation of the past three combined. —Paul Otellini, CEO of Intel With his books The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence and The Singularity Is Near, Ray Kurzweil commandeered the word “singularity” and changed its meaning to that of a bright, hopeful period of human history, which his tools of extrapolation let him see with remarkable precision.

Google search engine Google X Granger, Richard Grassie, William Greaves, Mark Grossberg, Steven grounding problem GUI (Graphical User Interface) hackers Hawking, Stephen Hawkins, Jeff Hebb, Donald heuristics Hibbard, Bill high-frequency trading systems (HFTs) Hillis, Danny Holtzman, Golde Horvitz, Eric Hughes, James I, Robot (Asimov) IA, see intelligence augmentation IBM Blue Brain Deep Blue SyNAPSE Watson immortality incomprehensibility Ings, Simon inscrutability paradox Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET) integrated circuits intelligence embodiment and emerging from Internet knowledge and intelligence augmentation (IA) intelligence explosion economics and financial markets and hard takeoff in limiting factors to Moore’s law and risks of, see risks of artificial intelligence self-awareness and, see self-awareness self-improvement and, see self-improvement software complexity and system space for Internet intelligence emerging from security and iPad iPhone Siri Iran iRobot Jennings, Ken Jeopardy! Joy, Bill Jurvetson, Steve Kahneman, Daniel Kasparov, Gary Kelly, Kevin Koza, John Kroft, Steve Kurzweil, Ray global warming problem as viewed by Google and Law of Accelerating Returns of Singularity and Langner, Ralph Lanier, Jaron Law of Accelerating Returns (LOAR) Lay, Kenneth Leibnitz, Gottfried Lenat, Douglas Lewis, H. W. LIDA (Learning Intelligent Distributed Agent) Lifeboat Foundation Lipson, Hod Loebner, Hugh Lynn, William J., III Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI) Singularity Summit machine learning Madoff, Bernie malware Mazzafro, Joe McCarthy, John McGurk, Sean military battlefield robots and drones DARPA, see DARPA energy infrastructure and nuclear weapons, see nuclear weapons Mind Children (Moravec) Minsky, Marvin Mitchell, Tom mobile phones see also iPhone Monster Cat Moore, Gordon Moore’s Law morality see also Friendly AI Moravec, Hans Moravec’s Paradox mortality, see immortality mortgage crisis Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) nano assemblers nanotechnology “gray goo” problem and natural language processing (NLP) natural selection Nekomata (Monster Cat) NELL (Never-Ending-Language-Learning system) neural networks neurons New Scientist New York Times Newman, Max Newton, Isaac Ng, Andrew 9/11 attacks Normal Accidents: Living with High-Risk Technologies (Perrow) normalcy bias North Korea Norvig, Peter Novamente nuclear fission nuclear power plant disasters nuclear weapons of Iran Numenta Ohana, Steve Olympic Games (cyberwar campaign) Omohundro, Stephen OpenCog Otellini, Paul Page, Larry paper clip maximizer scenario parallel processing pattern recognition Pendleton, Leslie Perceptron Perrow, Charles Piaget, Jean power grid Precautionary Principle programming bad evolutionary genetic ordinary self-improving, see self-improvement Rackspace rational agent theory of economics recombinant DNA Reflections on Artificial Intelligence (Whitby) resource acquisition risks of artificial intelligence apoptotic systems and Asilomar Guidelines and Busy Child scenario and, see Busy Child scenario defenses against lack of dialogue about malicious AI Precautionary Principle and runaway AI Safe-AI Scaffolding Approach and Stuxnet and unintended consequences robots, robotics Asimov’s Three Laws of in dangerous and service jobs in sportswriting Rosenblatt, Frank Rowling, J.


pages: 379 words: 108,129

An Optimist's Tour of the Future by Mark Stevenson

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23andMe, Albert Einstein, Andy Kessler, augmented reality, bank run, carbon footprint, carbon-based life, clean water, computer age, decarbonisation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, flex fuel, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hans Rosling, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Louis Pasteur, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, packet switching, peak oil, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart cities, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, the scientific method, Wall-E, X Prize

If we don’t, progress will outrun us, and our personal decisions will be hopelessly out of step with an unfolding reality. The good news, Ray suggests, is that this ever faster rate of progress is good for the planet. ‘All these concerns that we’re running out of resources would be absolutely true if the law of accelerating returns didn’t exist,’ he says. ‘For instance, people take current trends in the use of energy and just assume nothing’s going to change, ignoring the fact that we have ten thousand times more energy that falls on the Earth from the sun every day than we are using. So if we restrict ourselves to nineteenth-century technologies, these concerns would be correct.’ In other words, the law of accelerating returns should soon see a green energy revolution as solar power keeps doubling its efficiency and halving its cost, leaving fossil fuels standing. After my experiences seeing organic solar cells rolling off a printer just a few miles from here, I’m inclined toward his point of view.

If genome sequencing carries on progressing as it has, the ten-dollar genome sequence will soon be with us and one-dollar genome not long after. ‘DNA sequencing costs were halving roughly once per eighteen months (like computer hardware) since the 1970s,’ says Church. ‘But over the past five years it’s been halving every four months.’ (This is just one of a number of startling examples of something called the ‘Law of Accelerating Returns’ that I will come across many times on my travels – and which has some interesting implications for us all.) It’s no exaggeration to say we’re on the brink of a genome data explosion that will revolutionise medicine. The PGP is hugely ambitious in attempting to create a database of a hundred thousand, but imagine a world where we all have a document of our genomes in hand, or where the ability to sequence the genomes held in our individual cells and compare them (as the Sanger Institute’s ground-breaking cancer study did) becomes common practice?

Progress in automobile technology and wind technology makes better cars and wind generators but not better tools for the engineering itself. The current autocatalytic technologies that goose themselves into exponential growth are infotech (including computers, communications, and artificial intelligence), biotech, and nanotech (which is blurring into biotech). What’s more, they stimulate each other in a mutual catalysis that at times results in hyper-exponential growth of power. Ray calls this phenomenon ‘the law of accelerating returns’ and what it means, he says, is change will come faster than we think. Author Matt Ridley is fascinated by what he calls ‘the rapid, continuous and incessant change that human society experiences in a way no other animal does.’ He puts this down to the fact that human culture allows ideas to meet and interact, something he calls ‘mating minds’ or ‘when ideas have sex.’ It’s another perspective on Robert Wright’s ‘nonzero-sum game,’ the idea that trade and the sharing of culture across boundaries joins our fates together as we come to depend on each other’s specialities and ingenuity.


pages: 278 words: 70,416

Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success by Shane Snow

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3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, attribution theory, augmented reality, barriers to entry, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, deliberate practice, Elon Musk, Fellow of the Royal Society, Filter Bubble, Google X / Alphabet X, hive mind, index card, index fund, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, Khan Academy, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, Mahatma Gandhi, meta analysis, meta-analysis, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, popular electronics, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs

That Could Value It at $15 Billion,” New York Times, January 13, 2011, http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/01/13/groupon-readies-for-an-i-p-o/. Groupon was two years old as of November 2010. (The song I listened to while preparing the previous seven citations: shanesnow.com/song1.) 4 “A serious assessment of the history of technology”: Ray Kurzweil, “The Law of Accelerating Returns,” March 7, 2001, http://www.kurzweilai.net/the-law-of-accelerating-returns (accessed February 15, 2014). A $1.7 million computer in 1990 could do 17 million “computations” per second. By 2003 a standard Dell could do 4 billion calculations per second and cost $1,600. Ritchie King, “The Rise of the Machines,” Popular Science, http://www.popsci.com/content/computing (accessed February 15, 2014). 5 Most large businesses stop growing: Eighty-seven percent of large businesses stop growing, according to researchers Matthew S.

Sure, there’s been inflation since Rockefeller, but there’s no disputing that we’ve decreased the time it takes innovative people to achieve dreams, get rich, and make an impact on the world—and this has largely been due to technology and communication. “A serious assessment of the history of technology shows that technological change is exponential,” writes the futurist and author Ray Kurzweil in his famous essay The Law of Accelerating Returns. “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).” Here we come, Star Trek! At the same time, many industries remain decidedly stuck in the past. Most large businesses stop growing after a few years. Formal education, in many cases, is so slow or out-of-date that venture capitalists pay bright people to skip school and start Internet companies.

., 146 Kurzweil, Ray, 4 ladder to success changing direction can speed growth, 23–24 climbing rungs to the top, 17–20, 26, 29–30 collaborating/networking, 132 creativity has constraints, 164–66 hacking to “overnight” success, 20, 152–56 nontraditional paths, 30–31 “paying dues” as, 13, 18, 26–27, 36–37, 84 sideways thinking, 20–23 See also momentum; success Lady Gaga (Stefani Germanotta), 119–20, 134, 142, 153, 174–75 LA Gear (shoe company), 190–91 Lam, Brian (“Blam”), 162 Lanzolla, Gianvito, 117 lateral thinking (smartcuts) applied to problem-solving, 5–6 coining term, 95, 223n95 comparison to shortcuts, 7–8 disrupting status quo, 205n7 leadership capabilities and, 210n30 mentoring and, 43–45, 50–51 patterns of success, 10–13, 107–8 positive/negative, 6–8 principles summarized, 195–99 teaching children, 93–95, 188 teaching lateral thinking, 95 See also sideways thinking The Law of Accelerating Returns (Kurzweil), 4 Lean In (Sandberg), 44 Lehrer, Jonah, 98, 223n98 Leonard, Kelly, 56–57, 67 Lerer, Ken, 112, 116, 224n112 leverage/leveraging computers as a tool for, 81–86 importance of education, 86–88, 93–95 more “bang for the buck,” 11–12 picking right wave, 104–6 social networking for, 102–4 teaching conceptual understanding, 88–93 using platforms to create, 98–99 Lewis, Michael, 163 Lieberman, Marvin, 112, 115, 224n112 Lincoln, Abraham, 24–25, 26, 29 Lindsey, Clark, 172 “lollipop man,” 42–43 Los Angeles Times, 189 Lost (TV series), 132 Louis C.K.


pages: 368 words: 96,825

Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World by Peter H. Diamandis, Steven Kotler

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dematerialisation, deskilling, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, fear of failure, Firefox, Galaxy Zoo, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, Jono Bacon, Just-in-time delivery, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, Narrative Science, Netflix Prize, Network effects, Oculus Rift, optical character recognition, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, performance metric, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, rolodex, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, smart grid, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, telepresence, telepresence robot, Turing test, urban renewal, web application, X Prize, Y Combinator

., “Time Scales of Critical Events Around the Cretaceous-Paleogene Boundary,” Science 339, no. 6120 (February 8, 2013): 684–687. 3 This has been documented all over the place, but if you want to see a really cool infographic comparing a typical smartphone to a 1985-era supercomputer, check out http://www.charliewhite.net/2013/09/smartphones-vs-supercomputers/. 4 Ray Kurzweil, “The Law of Accelerating Returns,” Kurzweil Accelerating Intelligence, March 7, 2001, http://www.kurzweilai.net/the-law-of-accelerating-returns. 5 Abundance was named a top five book of the year by both Fortune and Money. PART ONE: BOLD TECHNOLOGY Chapter One: Good-bye Linear Thinking . . . Hello, Exponential 1 Elizabeth Brayer, George Eastman: A Biography (Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), 24–72. Or see http://www.kodak.com/ek/US/en/Our_Company/History_of_Kodak/George_Eastman.htm. 2 See http://www.kodak.com/ek/US/en/Our_Company/History_of_Kodak/George_Eastman.htm. 3 Ibid. 4 See “Kodak Moments: Steve Sasson, Digital Camera Inventor,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?

v=wfnpVRiiwnM. 5 John Pavlus, “How Steve Sasson Invented The Digital Camera,” Fast Company, April 12, 2011, http://www.fastcodesign.com/1663611/how-steve-sasson-invented-the-digital-camera-video. 6 Steve Sasson, “Disruptive Innovation: The Story of the First Digital Camera,” Linda Hall Library Lectures, October 26, 2011. 7 Andrew Martin, “Negative Exposure for Kodak,” New York Times, October 20, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/21/business/kodaks-bet-on-its-printers-fails-to-quell-the-doubters.html?pagewanted=all. 8 Pavlus, “How Steve Sasson Invented The Digital Camera.” 9 Gordon E. Moore, “Cramming more components onto integrated circuits,” Electronics, April 19, 1965, 4. 10 Ray Kurzweil, “The Law of Accelerating Returns.” 11 Michael J. de la Merced, “Eastman Kodak Files for Bankruptcy,” New York Times, January 19, 2012, http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/01/19/eastman-kodak-files-for-bankruptcy/. 12 Chris Anderson, Free: How Today’s Smartest Businesses Profit by Giving Something for Nothing (New York: Hyperion, 2010), 2–3. 13 Elizabeth Palmero, “Google Invests Billions on Satellites to Expand Internet Access,” Scientific American, June 5, 2014. 14 Richard Foster and Sarah Kaplan, Creative Destruction: Why Companies That Are Built to Last Underperform the Market—And How to Successfully Transform Them (New York: Crown Business, 2001), 8. 15 Babson Olin School of Business Advertisement, Fast Company, April 2011, 121. 16 Foster and Kaplan, Creative Destruction. 17 Salim Ismail, AI, 2012. 18 Virginia Heffernan, “How We All Learned to Speak Instagram,” Wired, April 2013, http://www.wired.com/2013/04/instagram-2/. 19 Chenda Ngak, “Instagram for Android gets 1 million downloads in first day,” CBS News, April 4, 2012, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/instagram-for-android-gets-1-million-downloads-in-first-day/. 20 Joanna Stern, “Facebook Buys Instagram for $1 Billion,” ABC News, April 27, 2012, http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/technology/2012/04/facebook-buys-instagram-for-1-billion/. 21 Unless otherwise noted, all Ben Kauffman information comes from a series of AIs conducted in 2013. 22 Issie Lapowsky, “Quirky Lands $79 Million in Funding,” Inc., November 13, 2013, http://www.inc.com/issie-lapowsky/quirky-79-million-funding-connected-home.html. 23 AI conducted 2013. 24 Austin Carr, “Inside Airbnb’s Grand Hotel Plans,” Fast Company, April 2014. 25 Serena Saitto and Brad Stone, “Uber Sets Valuation Record of $17 Billion in New Funding,” Bloomberg.com, January 7, 2014.

: Trivial, It’s Not,” New York Times, February 16, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/17/science/17jeopardy-watson.html?pagewanted=all. 37 “IBM Watson’s Next Venture: Fueling New Era of Cognitive Apps Built in the Cloud by Developers,” IBM Press Release, November 14, 2013, http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/42451.wss. 38 Nancy Dahlberg, “Modernizing Medicine, supercomputer Watson partner up,” Miami Herald, May 16, 2014. 39 AI with Daniel Cane, 2014. 40 Ray Kurzweil, “The Law of Accelerating Returns.” 41 Daniela Hernandez, “Meet the Man Google Hired to Make AI a Reality,” Wired, January 2014, http://www.wired.com/2014/01/geoffrey-hinton-deep-learning/. 42 AI with Geordie Rose, 2014. 43 See http://1qbit.com. 44 John McCarthy, Marvin Minsky, Nathaniel Rochester, and Claude E. Shannon, “A Proposal for the Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence,” AI Magazine, August 31, 1955, 12–14. 45 Jim Lewis, “Robots of Arabia,” Wired, Issue 13.11 (November 2005). 46 Garry Mathiason et al., “The Transformation of the Workplace Through Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and Automation,” The Littler Report, February 2014, http://documents.jdsupra.com/d4936b1e-ca6c-4ce9-9e83-07906bfca22c.pdf. 47 See http://www.rethinkrobotics.com. 48 All Dan Barry quotes in this section come from an AI conducted 2013. 49 The Cambrian explosion was an evolutionary event beginning about 542 million years ago, during which most of the major animal phyla appeared. 50 See “Amazon Prime Air,” Amazon.com, http://www.amazon.com/b?


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Exponential Organizations: Why New Organizations Are Ten Times Better, Faster, and Cheaper Than Yours (And What to Do About It) by Salim Ismail, Yuri van Geest

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23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bioinformatics, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Burning Man, business intelligence, business process, call centre, chief data officer, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, corporate social responsibility, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dark matter, Dean Kamen, dematerialisation, discounted cash flows, distributed ledger, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, ethereum blockchain, Galaxy Zoo, game design, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, hiring and firing, Hyperloop, industrial robot, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet of things, Iridium satellite, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, loose coupling, loss aversion, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, means of production, minimum viable product, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, p-value, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, prediction markets, profit motive, publish or perish, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, social software, software is eating the world, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, subscription business, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tony Hsieh, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, urban planning, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, X Prize, Y Combinator

Those technologies include artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, biotech and bioinformatics, medicine, neuroscience, data science, 3D printing, nanotechnology and even aspects of energy. Never in human history have we seen so many technologies moving at such a pace. And now that we are information-enabling everything around us, the effects of the Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns are sure to be profound. What’s more, as these technologies intersect (e.g., using deep-learning AI algorithms to analyze cancer trials), the pace of innovation accelerates even further. Each intersection adds yet another multiplier to the equation. Archimedes once said, “Give me a lever long enough, and I’ll move the world.” Simply put, mankind has never had a bigger lever. Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns and Moore’s Law long ago broke from the confines of semiconductors and have utterly transformed human society over the last fifty years. Now, Exponential Organizations, the latest embodiment of acceleration in human culture and enterprise, are overhauling commerce and other aspects of modern life, and at a scorching pace that will quickly leave the old world of “linear organizations” far behind.

And we’ve come a long way since 1971, when the original circuit board held just two hundred chips; today we have teraflops of computing operating within the same physical space. That steady, extraordinary, and seemingly impossible pace led futurist Ray Kurzweil, who has studied this phenomenon for thirty years, to make four signature observations: First, the doubling pattern identified by Gordon Moore in integrated circuits applies to any information technology. Kurzweil calls this the Law of Accelerating Returns (LOAR) and shows that doubling patterns in computation extend all the way back to 1900, far earlier than Moore’s original pronouncement. Second, the driver fueling this phenomenon is information. Once any domain, discipline, technology or industry becomes information-enabled and powered by information flows, its price/performance begins doubling approximately annually. Third, once that doubling pattern starts, it doesn’t stop.

As everyone in technology knows, this pace of change was first discovered and described in 1964 by Intel Corporation co-founder Gordon Moore. His discovery, immortalized as Moore’s Law, has seen the doubling of price/performance in computing continue uninterrupted for a half-century. As noted in the Introduction, Kurzweil took Moore’s Law several steps further, noting that every information-based paradigm operates in the same way, something he called the Law of Accelerating Returns (LOAR). There is a growing recognition that the pace of change formerly seen in computing is now mapping into other technologies with the same effect. For example, the first human genome was sequenced in 2000 at a cost of $2.7 billion. Because of the underlying accelerations in computing, sensors and new measurement techniques, the cost of DNA sequencing has been moving at five times the pace of Moore’s Law.


pages: 232 words: 67,934

The Immortalization Commission: Science and the Strange Quest to Cheat Death by John Gray

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Alfred Russel Wallace, anthropic principle, anti-communist, dematerialisation, laissez-faire capitalism, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Nikolai Kondratiev, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, the scientific method

Using advancing knowledge, they insist, the human animal can transcend the human condition. A contemporary example is the American visionary Ray Kurzweil. In The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology, Kurzweil suggests that a world-transforming increase in the growth of knowledge is imminent. Human ingenuity has created machines with exponentially increasing capacity to process information. Given the law of accelerating returns it cannot be long before artificial intelligence overtakes its human inventors. At that point the Singularity will be such that: technology appears to be expanding at infinite speed. Of course, from a mathematical perspective, there is no discontinuity, no rupture, and the growth rates remain finite, though extraordinarily large. But from our currently limited framework, this imminent event appears to be an acute and abrupt break in the continuity of progress.

In fact, other people (such as your romantic partner) will be able to select a different body for you than you might select for yourself (and vice versa).’ Post-humans can be whatever they want to be – for ever. Like Ettinger’s and Harrington’s, Kurzweil’s programme reaches well beyond immortality. The Singularity is an eschatological event, ending the world as it has always been: The law of accelerating returns will continue until nonbiological intelligence comes close to ‘saturating’ the matter and energy in our vicinity of the universe with our human-machine intelligence … Ultimately, the entire universe will become saturated with our intelligence. This is the destiny of the universe. Enlarged by conscious machines, the human mind will swallow the cosmos. The Singularity is expected as a consequence of technologies that until recently could not be imagined.

p. 213 Drunk on the emptied wine-cup of the earth …and seconds passed in heavy honeyed drops: George Faludy, Selected Poems of George Faludy 1933–80, ed. and trans. Robin Skelton, Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1985, 98. p. 214 Transcend: Nine Steps to Living Well Forever: Ray Kurzweil and Terry Grossman, MD, Transcend: Nine Steps to Living Well Forever, New York: Rodale Books, 2009. p. 215 The law of accelerating returns …This is the destiny of the universe: Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology, New York: Viking, 2005, 24–9. p. 217 the universe will become sublimely intelligent: Ibid., 390. p. 217 A common view is that science has consistently been correcting …until the entire universe is at our finger-tips: Ibid., 487. p. 217 Computers may turn out to be less important …self-replicating filaments of code: Dyson, Darwin among the Machines, 32.


pages: 381 words: 78,467

100 Plus: How the Coming Age of Longevity Will Change Everything, From Careers and Relationships to Family And by Sonia Arrison

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23andMe, 8-hour work day, Albert Einstein, Anne Wojcicki, artificial general intelligence, attribution theory, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, Clayton Christensen, dark matter, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Frank Gehry, Googley, income per capita, indoor plumbing, Jeff Bezos, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, placebo effect, post scarcity, Ray Kurzweil, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Singularitarianism, smart grid, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Thomas Malthus, upwardly mobile, World Values Survey, X Prize

A manipulation of matter at the level of tiny individual atoms and molecules, nanotechnology is an information technology because, as futurist and inventor Ray Kurzweil says, it is the business of “applying information processes to create intricate new devices at the molecular level.”57 Because these technologies tend to progress exponentially, he predicts that solar power will scale up to produce all the energy needs of the earth’s people in twenty years. He often reminds audiences that “there is 10,000 times more sunlight than we need to meet 100 percent of our energy needs, and the technology needed for collecting and storing it is about to emerge as the field of solar energy is going to advance exponentially in accordance with the Law of Accelerating Returns. That law yields a doubling of price performance in information technologies every year.”58 Whether or not we believe Kurzweil’s projections, it is true that nano-engineered fuel cells already exist and solar panels are continually becoming smaller and more efficient. For instance, a company called Nanosolar has developed technology that enables the production of one-hundred-times-thinner solar cells, with much greater efficiency.

As inventor Ray Kurzweil points out with extensive graphs and research, “The time gap between [those on the] leading and lagging edge is itself contracting.”47 And the time gap is not just dropping for obvious technological advancements like consumer electronics; it is also dropping in health technology. “AIDS drugs were about $30,000 per patient per year 15 years ago, and they didn’t work very well,” Kurzweil points out. “Now they actually work pretty well, and they’re $100 per patient per year.”48 Why is technology growing at an exponential rate? Kurzweil explains it through a theorem he calls the “Law of Accelerating Returns.” Technology can move faster and faster, he explains, because “it builds on the fruits of the last stage.”49 Not only that, but there is also a positive feedback loop because “the more effective a particular evolutionary process becomes—for example, the higher the capacity and cost-effectiveness that computation attains—the greater the amount of resources that are deployed toward the further progress of that process.”50 Put simply, when humans see success, they tend to want to support it even more.

Stuart K. King, Larry Klaus, Frank Klein, Bruce Klug, Aaron Knowledge Kohn, Livia Kope, Mike Kotelko, Olga Kristof, Nicholas D. Krueger, Alan Krupp, Fred Kula, Witold Kulkarni, Deepa Kurzweil, Ray Labor Department Labor force. See also Work Lactic acid Laderman, Gary Lamarckism LaMonica, Martin Landfills Lane, Robert W. Law of Accelerating Returns LCA. See Leber congenital amaurosis Leachate Leadership Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) Lederberg, Dr. Joshua Leisure Leukemia Liberty University Life cycle hypothesis Life expectancy countries ranked for(table) disparities in growth for men and women and number of evenings/weekends (fig.) objections to extending of 150 years over time(fig.)


pages: 323 words: 95,939

Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now by Douglas Rushkoff

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algorithmic trading, Andrew Keen, bank run, Benoit Mandelbrot, big-box store, Black Swan, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, cashless society, citizen journalism, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, disintermediation, Donald Trump, double helix, East Village, Elliott wave, European colonialism, Extropian, facts on the ground, Flash crash, game design, global supply chain, global village, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, Inbox Zero, invention of agriculture, invention of hypertext, invisible hand, iterative process, John Nash: game theory, Kevin Kelly, laissez-faire capitalism, Law of Accelerating Returns, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Merlin Mann, Milgram experiment, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, passive investing, pattern recognition, peak oil, price mechanism, prisoner's dilemma, Ralph Nelson Elliott, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, the medium is the message, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Turing test, upwardly mobile, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Y2K

From then on, technological evolution will outpace biological evolution. Whatever it is that makes us uniquely human, such as our genome or cognitive functioning, will have been mapped and virtualized by computers in around 2050, anyway. We may as well stand aside and let it rip. Thanks to Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns, technology develops exponentially and has been doing so since time began. But it is only getting really interesting now that we have rounded the bend of the exponential curve to a nearly vertical and infinite shot upward. The antithesis of the Law of Diminishing Returns, the Law of Accelerating Returns holds that technology will overtake humanity and nature, no matter what. In his numerous books, talks, and television appearances, Kurzweil remains unswerving in his conviction that humanity was just a temporary step in technology’s inevitable development.

., 45 Johnson, Steve, 118, 203 Jordan, Michael, 41 journalism, 50–52, 56, 66. See also media JPMorgan Chase, 174 Kairos time, 112–20, 236, 259 Kaprow, Allan, 60 Keen, Andrew, 52 Kelly, Kevin, 256–57 Kennedy, John F., 29 Kirn, Walter, 234 kleptomania, 166 Korzybski, Alfred, 103, 137–38, 139 Kurzweil, Ray, 254–56 Kutcher, Ashton, 119 Langley, John, 35 Law of Accelerating Returns, Kurzweil’s, 255–56 Law of Diminishing Returns, 255 Law and Order (TV show), 20, 32 Le Guin, Ursula K., 13 leading, digiphrenia and, 93–109 Lennon, John, 29 Leno, Jay, 55 Lethem, Jonathan, 34 leverage: digiphrenia and, 71–72; fractalnoia and, 206, 229; overwinding and, 135, 136, 137, 139, 163, 165, 175, 176, 177, 178, 184, 185, 186, 188, 189, 190; storytelling and, 20 Licklider, J.C.R., 4 LifeWaves, 107 Lilla, Mark, 53 Lincoln, Abraham, 82 Linnaeus, Carolus, 90 Lippman, Walter, 45 local economic transfer systems (LETS), 149 long now, overwinding and, 140–49, 193, 194 Lost (TV show), 32, 34, 39, 199 Luntz, Frank, 47 machines: digiphrenia and, 93, 95, 98–99; event-based, 98–99; fractalnoia and, 224, 225, 230, 231; humans as, 95; needs of, 81; new “now” and, 4–5; off-loading of time intensive tasks to, 93.


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The Great Fragmentation: And Why the Future of All Business Is Small by Steve Sammartino

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, augmented reality, barriers to entry, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, bitcoin, BRICs, Buckminster Fuller, citizen journalism, collaborative consumption, cryptocurrency, Elon Musk, fiat currency, Frederick Winslow Taylor, game design, Google X / Alphabet X, haute couture, helicopter parent, illegal immigration, index fund, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, Law of Accelerating Returns, market design, Metcalfe's law, Minecraft, minimum viable product, Network effects, new economy, post scarcity, prediction markets, pre–internet, profit motive, race to the bottom, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, remote working, RFID, self-driving car, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, social graph, social web, software is eating the world, Steve Jobs, too big to fail, web application

It’s that the output capabilities of many digital electronic devices follow closely the pattern of Moore’s law. The principle applies to processing speed, memory capacity, pixels in digital cameras, GPS devices, network capacity, solar panels … and an extensive list of other technology device inputs. And even if we look at the pre-digital era it also remains true for vacuum tube circuit computers. They all follow the law of accelerating returns of technology. The rate of improvement we see in all of these technologies has been exponential and a key force in the dramatic democratisation of the modern economy. Many previously unattainable technological goods and services — computing and communications devices only affordable to the largest organisations — are now at disposable price points, often even free. This doesn’t just change the kinds of gadgets we own; it changes the entire economic structure.

But it’s not just the prices of the technology that are dropping. It’s also the prices of the functional pieces of technology inside the devices. The prices of entire gadgets are rapidly falling. These price declines are also assisted by production-line improvements; that is, globalisation — the opening up of low-cost labour markets in the production of technology products. It’s staggering to observe the law of accelerating returns when we look at it in real terms; in other words, the real things we use every day, not just the techie bits that live inside them. Let’s consider the following examples as reminders of how far we’ve come. Television. A 42-inch flat-screen LCD television now costs 10 per cent of what it did 10 years ago. Not only is this a mere fraction of the former price, but the television is better in every way.


pages: 677 words: 206,548

Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It by Marc Goodman

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23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Joy: nanobots, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Brian Krebs, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, data is the new oil, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, don't be evil, double helix, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, future of work, game design, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, High speed trading, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, illegal immigration, impulse control, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Harrison: Longitude, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, license plate recognition, litecoin, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, national security letter, natural language processing, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, RAND corporation, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, security theater, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tesla Model S, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, uranium enrichment, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Wave and Pay, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, web application, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator, zero day

Chapter 3: Moore’s Outlaws 1 According to the International Telecommunication Union: Miniwatts Marketing Group, “Internet Users in the World,” Internet World Stats, Dec. 31, 2013, http://​www.​internetworldstats.​com/. 2 Though it took nearly forty years: Miniwatts Marketing Group, “Internet Growth Statistics,” Internet World Stats, Feb. 6, 2013, http://​www.​internetworldstats.​com/. 3 The greatest growth: Miniwatts Marketing Group, “Internet Users in the World, Distribution by World Regions,” Internet World Stats, Feb. 5, 2014, http://​www.​internetworldstats.​com/. 4 And while half the world: Doug Gross, “Google Boss: Entire World Will Be Online by 2020,” CNN, April 15, 2013. 5 The concept was named: Marc Goodman and Parag Khanna, “Power of Moore’s Law in a World of Geotechnology,” National Interest, Jan./Feb. 2013. 6 Incredibly, it literally: Cliff Saran, “Apollo 11: The Computers That Put Man on the Moon,” Computer Weekly, July 13, 2009. 7 The modern smart phone: Peter Diamandis, “Abundance Is Our Future.” TED Talk, Feb. 2012. 8 As a result of mathematical repercussions: Ray Kurzweil, “The Law of Accelerating Returns,” Kurzweil Accelerating Intelligence, March 7, 2001. 9 “law of accelerating returns”: Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology (New York: Penguin, 2006). 10 Early criminal entrepreneurs: Evan Andrews, “6 Daring Train Robberies,” History.​com, Oct. 21, 2013. 11 Their carefully planned heist: Brett Leppard, “The Great Train Robbery: How It Happened,” Mirror, Feb. 28, 2013. 12 The incident kept the PlayStation: Keith Stuart and Charles Arthur, “PlayStation Network Hack: Why It Took Sony Seven Days to Tell the World,” Guardian, Feb. 5, 2014; “Credit Card Alert as Hackers Target 77 Million PlayStation Users,” Mail Online, Feb. 5, 2014. 13 In the end, financial analysts: J.

As a result of mathematical repercussions of exponentials and Moore’s law, “we won’t experience a hundred years of progress in the twenty-first century; it will be more like twenty thousand years of progress (at today’s rate).” Given the exponential pace of change in computer processing power and sophistication, it should be obvious that in the very near future computers will become profoundly capable. Ray Kurzweil describes the constant doubling of computing’s price performance and power in his “law of accelerating returns.” He predicts a point in time where a technological singularity will take place—that is, a moment in time where computing progress is so rapid it outpaces mankind’s ability to comprehend it and machine intelligence will exceed human intelligence. Whether or not that day eventually comes (Kurzweil predicts the year to be 2045), one thing is clear: computing power is growing exponentially, and our ability to understand the global information grid and map its vast interconnections is waning.


pages: 798 words: 240,182

The Transhumanist Reader by Max More, Natasha Vita-More

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23andMe, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, brain emulation, Buckminster Fuller, cellular automata, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, combinatorial explosion, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological principle, data acquisition, discovery of DNA, Drosophila, en.wikipedia.org, experimental subject, Extropian, fault tolerance, Flynn Effect, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, friendly AI, game design, germ theory of disease, hypertext link, impulse control, index fund, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Louis Pasteur, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, P = NP, pattern recognition, phenotype, positional goods, prediction markets, presumed consent, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, RFID, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, silicon-based life, Singularitarianism, stem cell, stochastic process, superintelligent machines, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, telepresence, telepresence robot, telerobotics, the built environment, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture, Whole Earth Review, women in the workforce

In the middle case recycling or per capita stabilization becomes significant before population is large and resources have run out, and hyperbolic growth continues until one of the other cases occurs. If the population becomes large but there are still resources population growth is doubly exponential. Taagepera notes that the model, while avoiding finite time singularities, still has crises where it shifts from one mode to another, possibly over very short periods of time. Law of accelerating returns (type A,B) Ray Kurzweil formulates the “law of accelerating returns” as (Kurzweil 2001): Evolution applies positive feedback in that the more capable methods resulting from one stage of evolutionary progress are used to create the next stage. As a result, the rate of progress of an evolutionary process increases exponentially over time. Over time, the “order” of the information embedded in the evolutionary process (i.e., the measure of how well the information fits a purpose, which in evolution is survival) increases.

Korotayev, Andrey (2007) “Compact Mathematical Models of World System Development, and How They Can Help Us to Clarify our Understanding of Globalization Processes.” In George Modelski, Tessaleno Devezas, and William Thompson, eds., Globalization as an Evolutionary Process: Modeling Global Change. London: Routledge, pp. 133–161. Kremer, M. (1993) “Population Growth and Technological Change: One Million BC to 1990.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 108, pp. 681–716. Kurzweil, Ray (2001) “The Law of Accelerating Returns.” http://www.kurzweilai.net/articles/art0134.html. Kurzweil, Ray (2005) The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology. New York: Viking. Kurzweil, Ray, Vinge, Vernor, and Moravec, Hans (2001) “Singularity Math Trialogue.” http://www.kurzweilai.net/meme/frame.html?main=/articles/art0151.html. Leontief, Wassily W. (1986) Input-Output Economics, 2nd edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


pages: 525 words: 116,295

The New Digital Age: Transforming Nations, Businesses, and Our Lives by Eric Schmidt, Jared Cohen

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3D printing, access to a mobile phone, additive manufacturing, airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, anti-communist, augmented reality, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, bitcoin, borderless world, call centre, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, Dean Kamen, Elon Musk, failed state, fear of failure, Filter Bubble, Google Earth, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, information trail, invention of the printing press, job automation, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, Law of Accelerating Returns, market fundamentalism, means of production, mobile money, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, offshore financial centre, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, Peter Singer: altruism, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, The Wisdom of Crowds, upwardly mobile, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, young professional, zero day

Conclusion As we look into the future—its promises and its challenges—we are facing a brave new world, the most fast-paced and exciting period in human history. We’ll experience more change at a quicker rate than any previous generation, and this change, driven in part by the devices in our own hands, will be more personal and participatory than we can even imagine. In 1999, the futurist Ray Kurzweil proposed a new “Law of Accelerating Returns” in his seminal book The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence. “Technology,” he wrote, “is the continuation of evolution by other means, and is itself an evolutionary process.” Evolution builds on its own increasing order, leading to exponential growth and accelerated returns over time. Computation, the backbone of every technology we see today, behaves in much the same way.

Hormuud https encryption protocols Huawei human rights, 1.1, 3.1 humiliation Hussein, Saddam, itr.1, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4 Hutus Identity Cards Act identity theft identity-theft protection, 2.1, 2.2 IEDs (improvised explosive devices), 5.1, 6.1 IEEE Spectrum, 107n income inequality, 1.1, 4.1 India, 2.1, 2.2, 3.1 individuals, transfer of power to Indonesia infiltration information blackouts of exchange of free movement of see also specific information technologies Information and Communications Technologies Authority Information Awareness Office information-technology (IT) security experts infrastructure, 2.1, 7.1 Innocence of Muslims (video), 4.1, 6.1 innovation Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, n insurance, for online reputation integrated clothing machine intellectual property, 2.1, 3.1 intelligence intelligent pills internally displaced persons (IDP), 7.1, 7.2 International Criminal Court, 6.1, 7.1, 7.2 internationalized domain names (IDN) International Telecommunications Union Internet, 2.1, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4 Balkanization of as becoming cheaper and changing understanding of life impact of as network of networks Internet asylum seekers Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) internet protocol (IP) activity logs internet protocol (IP) address, 3.1, 3.2, 6.1 Internet service provider (ISP), 3.1, 3.2, 6.1, 7.1 Iran, 2.1, 2.2, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 7.1 cyber warfare on “halal Internet” in Iraq, itr.1, 3.1, 4.1, 6.1, 6.2 reconstruction of, 7.1, 7.2 Ireland iRobot Islam Israel, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 iTunes Japan, 3.1, 6.1n, 246 earthquake in Jasmine Revolution JavaOne Conference Jebali, Hamadi Jibril, Mahmoud Jim’ale, Ali Ahmed Nur Join the Club: How Peer Pressure Can Transform the World (Rosenberg), 4.1 Joint Tactical Networking Center Joint Tactical Radio System Julius Caesar justice system Kabul Kagame, Paul, 7.1, 7.2 Kansas State University Karzai, Hamid Kashgari, Hamza Kaspersky Lab Kenya, 3.1, 7.1, 7.2 Khan Academy Khartoum Khodorkovsky, Mikhail Khomeini, Ayatollah Kickstarter kidnapping, 2.1, 5.1 virtual Kinect Kissinger, Henry, 4.1, 4.2 Kiva, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 Klein, Naomi, n Kony 2012, 7.1 Koran Koryolink “kosher Internet,” 187 Kosovo Kurds, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1 Kurzweil, Ray Kyrgyzstan Laârayedh, Ali Lagos language translation, 1.1, 4.1, 4.2 laptops Latin America, 3.1, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1 law enforcement Law of Accelerating Returns Lebanon, 5.1, 7.1, 7.2 Lee Hsien Loong legal options, coping strategies for privacy and security concerns legal prosecution Lenin, Vladimir Levitt, Steven D. Libya, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 6.1, 7.1, 7.2 life expectancy Lindhout, Amanda LinkedIn Link Egypt litigation lobbying groups Lockhart, Clare, n Lockheed Martin Lord’s Resistance Army loyalties, 2.1, 2.2 LulzSec Maasai, 1.1, nts.1 McAfee, John McChrystal, Stanley Malaysia, 3.1, 4.1, 6.1n Mali, 2.1, 7.1 malware state-initiated, 2.1, 2.2 Mandela, Nelson “man-in-the-middle” attacks Manning, Bradley Mao Zedong MasterCard, 5.1, 5.2 Mauritania, 3.1, 3.2 Mbeki, Thabo MCI Mechanical Turk media: disaggregated mainstream media cycles medicine Megaupload Mehr, 95 memory prosthetics Mexico, 2.1, 5.1, 6.1 microblogs microphones Microsoft, 1.1, 3.1, 3.2 Middle East military-industrial complex Milošević, Slobodan mine-resistant, ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicles Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, North Korea minority groups, 6.1, con.1 Minority Report (film), 1.1 misinformation, 3.1, 3.2, 6.1 MIT Media Lab Mitnick, Kevin, n Mobile Giving Foundation “mobile health” revolution mobile money credits mobile phones, 1.1, 4.1, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 7.1, 7.2, con.1 banned in Iraq in Congo education and health and see also smart phones Money for Good report, nts.1 Mongolia Monopoly (film), 4.1 monuments Moore’s Law, itr.1, con.1 moral sense Moro Islamic Liberation Front Morsi, Mohamed Motorola MTC-Vodafone Mubarak, Hosni, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 7.1 Mugabe, Robert multilayer backup systems Mumbai attacks Mundie, Craig, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3 Muslim Brotherhood, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3 Mutua, Anthony myths names, 2.1, nts.1 Napster narco-terrorists, 5.1, 5.2 nasal implants Natanz nuclear enrichment facility National Security Agency (NSA) National Security Law National Transitional Council (NTC) NATO, 3.1, 4.1, 5.1, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 Navalny, Alexei Navy SEAL Team Six, 5.1, 5.2 Nawaz, Maajid near-permanent data storage Neda video, 6.1, 6.2 Netflix Netherlands net neutrality Nevada New York City subway, n New York Times, 33, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 5.1, 7.1 New York Times Magazine, 197 NGO Ratings Nigeria Nightmare Nixon, Richard noise Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), 1.1, 2.1, 2.2, 3.1, 6.1, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.5, 7.6, 7.7, con.1, nts.1 nonprofits non-state actors, coping strategies for privacy and security concerns Noor Group, n North Korea, 2.1, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3 Northrop Grumman Norway Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Obama, Barack, 3.1, 3.2, 6.1 unauthorized leaks and official profiles Ohio State University Olympic Games (attack code name) One World Trust online cadastral systems online reputations active management of black markets in insurance for open networks open-source movement open-source software, 6.1, 7.1 Operation Avenge Assange optimism options Orascom, 3.1, 3.2 Otpor Ottoman empire, 6.1, 7.1 outsourcing oversights OxOmar PackBot Pakistan, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 6.1 Palestinian Islamic Jihad paparazzi Paraguay parents Parrot passwords, 2.1, 2.2 patents PayPal, 5.1, 5.2 peer-to-peer (P2P) networking, 2.1, 4.1, nts.1 Philanthropedia philanthropic organizations Philippines, 3.1, 4.1 photographs photonics photos physical infrastructure Picciolini, Christian Pinker, Steven piracy (online) Pirate Bay, 2.1, 3.1 pirates Plataforma México Poland, 4.1, 7.1 police police brutality police cars popular uprisings pornography postcrisis societies, 3.1, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.5, 7.6, 7.7, 7.8, 7.9, 7.10 poverty power, centralization of power grids Powers, Jonathan power vacuums precision geo-location Predator drones predictive analytics Presidential Records Act privacy, itr.1, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3 in autocracies company policy on, 2.1, 2.2 litigation and in schools security vs., itr.1, 5.1, 5.2 private telecommunications companies processors productivity, 1.1, 1.2 Project Glass property rights Proteus Digital Health proxy servers Psy, n PTSD Pul-e-Charkhi prison Putin, Vladimir Qatar quality of life, 1.1, 1.2 Queen Boat, n racism radio frequency identification (RFID) chips Raytheon real-time collective editing Reaper drones reconstruction connectivity and, 7.1, 7.2 of telecommunications Red Cross, 7.1, 7.2 refugee camps REM cycle remote warfare Renesys, n renrou sousuo yinqing, 197 Reporters Without Borders Reputation.com Research in Motion (RIM), 2.1, 2.2 Resource 207 Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) doctrine restraining orders Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) revolutions, itr.1, 4.1 connectivity and, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, 4.6 finish of public awareness of start of robotic surgical suites, n robots, 1.1, 1.2, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5 Rodong Sinmun, 97 Roma, 6.1, nts.1 Romania Roomba, 1.1, 6.1 Rosenberg, Tina Roshan Ross, Alec routers RQ-170 Sentinel Rubin, Andy Russia, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6 liberal opposition in revolution in state-owned media in Rwanda genocide in, 6.1, 7.1 safe zones sakoku, 93 Salafis, n Saleh, Ali Abdullah Salem, Mahmoud Samasource Sanger, David E.


pages: 189 words: 57,632

Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future by Cory Doctorow

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book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, en.wikipedia.org, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, Jeff Bezos, Law of Accelerating Returns, Metcalfe's law, mutually assured destruction, new economy, optical character recognition, patent troll, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, post scarcity, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Sand Hill Road, Skype, slashdot, social software, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Turing test, Vernor Vinge

But how can a machine evaluate which of a trillion models of a human brain is "most like" a conscious mind? Or better still: which one is most like the individual whose brain is being modeled? "It is a sleight of hand in Spiritual Machines," Kurzweil admits. "But in The Singularity Is Near, I have an in-depth discussion about what we know about the brain and how to model it. Our tools for understanding the brain are subject to the Law of Accelerating Returns, and we've made more progress in reverse-engineering the human brain than most people realize." This is a tasty Kurzweilism that observes that improvements in technology yield tools for improving technology, round and round, so that the thing that progress begets more than anything is more and yet faster progress. "Scanning resolution of human tissue — both spatial and temporal — is doubling every year, and so is our knowledge of the workings of the brain.


pages: 797 words: 227,399

Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century by P. W. Singer

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agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Atahualpa, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bill Joy: nanobots, blue-collar work, borderless world, clean water, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, cuban missile crisis, en.wikipedia.org, Ernest Rutherford, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Firefox, Francisco Pizarro, Frank Gehry, friendly fire, game design, George Gilder, Google Earth, Grace Hopper, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, invention of gunpowder, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, Isaac Newton, Jacques de Vaucanson, job automation, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Law of Accelerating Returns, Mars Rover, Menlo Park, New Urbanism, pattern recognition, private military company, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Wisdom of Crowds, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Wall-E, Yogi Berra

Rodney Brooks at iRobot calls this kind of cross-transfer “riding someone else’s exponentials.” AN EXPONENTIAL WORLD Historic data shows exponential patterns beyond just Moore’s law, which referred just to semiconductor complexity. For example, the annual number of “important discoveries” as determined by the Patent Office has doubled every twenty years since 1750. Kurzweil calls this pattern of exponential change in our world “The Law of Accelerating Returns.” This convergence of exponential trends is why technologic change, especially for electronics, comes not only quicker, but in bundles, rather than staying within one category. While microchip performance is now doubling roughly every eighteen months and storage every fifteen months, we are also seeing similar acceleration in categories far and wide. Wireless capacity doubles every nine months.

Roco and William Sims Bainbridge, “Converging Technologies for Improving Human Health: Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Information Technology and Cognitive Science” (National Science Foundation, 2002). 98 Moore’s old company Intel “Higher Levels of Design Abstraction,” Intel.com (cited August 14, 2006); available at http://www.intel.com/technology/silicon/scl/abstraction.htm. 98 it has roughly the same capacity Thomas Homer-Dixon, “The Rise of Complex Terrorism,” Foreign Policy, no. 128 (2002): 54. 98 a present-day supercomputer Peggy Mihelich, “Supercomputers Crunching Potato Chips, Proteins and Nuclear Bombs,” CNN.com, December 5, 2006 (cited December 5, 2006); available at http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/12/05/supercomputers/index.html. 98 to build a next-generation supercomputer Ibid. 98 Only four years later Garreau, Radical Evolution, 59. 99 refrigerator magnets that play Christmas jingles Ibid. 99 “riding someone else’s exponentials” Ibid. 99 “The Law of Accelerating Returns” Kurzweil, interview, Peter W. Singer, December 7, 2006. 99 Internet bandwidth backbone is doubling Roco and Bainbridge, “Converging Technologies for Improving Human Health.” 99 the number of personal and service robots Unless otherwise noted, all figures are from Garreau, Radical Evolution, 59. 99 The modern-day bomber jet Sean J. A. Edwards, “Swarming and the Future of Warfare” (doctoral thesis, Pardee Rand Graduate School, 2005), 136. 100 the range and effectiveness of artillery fire Stephen D.