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Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Technology Explosion

A few years ago, I stumbled on a book by Ray Kurzweil entitled The Singularity is Near.  I knew of Ray from his work in electronic musical instruments so I read the synopsis of the book.  The concept fascinated me, so I started reading and reading and reading...  It's a long book and it is packed with technical information about a wide range of scientific topics.

Subsequently, Kurzweil published a daily email digest of the latest research in many of these areas to which I subscribed.  The result has been an eye-opening experience.  Most people are unaware of the vast amount of research that is being done and the ramifications of said research.

I look at this research collectively and I see a future that is vastly different than what most see.  There are so many breakthroughs on the verge of realization that their combined effects cannot be imagined.  Humans have difficulty dealing with network effects.  Our minds evolved to deal with isolated situations.  Today, there world is so much more complex and this complexity is interactive.

Anyone who has studied chaos theory knows how quickly even complex computer models fizzle out when there are vast numbers of interacting variables.  In a true system of chaos, some variables have a cancelling effect, while others have a reinforcing effect.  However, with scientific research, the bulk of the work tends to reinforce other elements of interacting knowledge gains.

This compounding network effect has the potential to release virtual explosions of understanding in a wide range of areas.  Some of the giant breakthroughs like cold fusion, nanoelectronics, and quantum computing could happen almost simultaneously.  The far reaching impact that these new technologies will have on our reality are too hard to predict.

Like any explosion, destruction and creation happen simultaneously and at least somewhat chaotically.  Hold onto your butts because the next 20 years are going to be explosive.