There’s nothing new about exponential rates of change

I think that everyone can see the world is changing fast these days, and many agree that it’s changing faster and faster all the time. In many ways that’s the defining characteristic of the 21st century. Great credit goes to Ray Kurzweil who was one of the first to notice and who’s work has helped the world to understand.

Moore’s law is the best known example of exponential improvement, but many other technologies follow the same path. These charts are from Kurzweil’s seminal book – The Singularity is Near.

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 13.44.44

Perhaps more interesting is that the rate of change on this planet has been exponential for aeons. That’s a counter-intuitive notion because by modern standards the world changed very slowly until the industrial revolution, but it’s the nature of exponential curves that they change slowly and then suddenly. This picture below makes this point by showing that the time between major events has been decreasing exponentially since the dawn of life on earth.

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 13.48.26