Rate of Advance

I read a post the other night, Transcending Moore’s Law: Is This the Most Important Chart in the Technology Business, that referenced and led me to the thought-provoking original by Steve Jurvetson, titled, “Transcending Moore’s Law“, which discussed an updated graphic initially developed by Ray Kurzweil.

Here are the highlights:

  • Kurzweil plots computational power on a logarithmic scale, and finds a double exponential curve that holds over 100 years
  • the computational power that $1000 buys has doubled every two years. For the past 30 years, it has been doubling every year
  • Notice that the pace of innovation is exogenous to the economy
  • Consumers of technology purchase computational speed and data storage density. When recast in these terms, Moore’s Law is no longer a transistor-centric metric, and this abstraction allows for longer-term analysis
  • What Moore observed…was a derivative metric, a refracted signal, from the bigger trend, the trend that begs various philosophical questions and predicts mind-bending futures
  • As Moore’s Law crosses critical thresholds, a formerly lab science of trial and error experimentation becomes a simulation science and the pace of progress accelerates dramatically, creating opportunities for new entrants in new industries
  • This non-linear pace of progress has been the primary juggernaut of perpetual market disruption, spawning wave after wave of opportunities for new companies

Market disruption.  Isn’t this the primary objective of everyone?  To deliver the product or service that changes everything?  Every software product that is launched and used is done to improve our efficiency and expand our abilities online.  Every social network is developed to change how we interact with others.

Without question, the underpinning of all future advances will come from the core computational power of our computers – their speed and their data storage.  The curve expressed in the graph presented by Jurvetson points to an exciting and productive future despite the current state of our economy.


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