Published on December 21, 2007
The Myth of Accelerating Change: The Myth of Accelerating Change Dr. Philip Goetz email@example.com TransVision, August 8 2004 Moore’s Law: Moore’s Law Traditional first slide for talks at TransVision: Number of transistors on Intel’s newest CPU, by year. Changes 1974-2003: Changes 1974-2003 Transportation: airline deregulation, Space Shuttle Medicine: PCR, human genome sequenced, gene therapy, Prozac, Viagra, MRI imaging, functional brain imaging, cochlear implant, other brain implants, Lasix, cosmetic surgery Theory: nanotechnology, global warming Discovered: Great Wall, ozone hole, planets around other stars, life on Mars?, Yucatan crater Invented: high-temperature superconductors, smart materials, quantum wells Adopted: personal computers, VCRs, digital media, fiber optics, communications satellites, cell phones, Internet, video games, PDAs, artificial sweeteners Society: Iraq wars, Watergate, gay rights, end of cold war, globalization, AIDS Changes 1944-1973 (1): Changes 1944-1973 (1) Transportation: highways, affordable air travel, supersonic flight, Mount Everest climbed, moon landing Medicine: DNA, polio vaccine, birth control, medicines for mental illness, dialysis, open-heart surgery, cloning, protein structures, ultrasound, heart transplant, angioplasty, designer bacteria, telomeres, Ritalin, CAT scans Theory: behaviorism, cognitivism, chaos theory, sociobiology, Big Bang, violation of CP, punctuated equilibrium Changes 1944-1973 (2): Changes 1944-1973 (2) Tech: atomic bomb, laser, transistor, TV, microwave ovens, LP records, transistor radios, carbon dating, holography, QED, Xerox machine, H-bomb, weather satellites, IC, CPU, AI begun, fiber optics Society: fast food, civil rights amendment, environmentalism, Korean war, McCarthyism, cold war, Vietnam war, rock and roll, suburbs, sexual revolution, feminism, postmodernism, psychoanalysis, Dead Sea Scrolls, Turing test, australopithecines, consumer protection, Koko & Washoe (“speaking” non-humans) Changes 1914-1943: Changes 1914-1943 Transportation: cars adopted, Panama canal Medicine: sulfa drugs, penicillin, neuron theory, respirator, defibrillator, IV anaesthetic, insulin, X-ray imaging Discovered: general relativity, quantum theory, game theory, expanding universe, Gödel’s theory, neutron, Turing machine Invented: electronic computer, electron microscope, X-ray crystallography, heterodyne, AM, FM, fission, plastic, zipper, sliced bread, radar Society: World War I, communism, women’s vote, prohibition, repeal of prohibition, Great Depression, World War II, jazz, modernism, relativism, talking color movies, air conditioning, indoor plumbing, electricity, telephone, radio, King Tut, welfare, social security, income tax, labor unions, 1939 World’s Fair Changes 1884-1913: Changes 1884-1913 Transportation: airplane invented, oil wells, North Pole reached, streetcars popular Medicine: bacteria staining, chromosomes Tech: fingerprinting, transformer, alternating current, cloud chamber, vacuum tubes Discovered: special relativity, X-rays, radioactivity, electron, Planck’s law, Markov chains, superconductivity, atomic structure, continental drift Adopted: Kodak camera, street lights Society: Spanish-American war, skyscrapers, movies, Freud, tractors, population moves from country to cities, assembly line, anarchism Measuring Change: Measuring Change Land speed record:log(Power output (W)) vs. Year: Land speed record: log(Power output (W)) vs. Year Land speed record:MPH vs. Year: Land speed record: MPH vs. Year Slide11: Progress that is exponential by one measure may be linear by the measure that is really of interest to us Evidence of exponential progress: Evidence of exponential progress Moore’s Law: Moore’s Law Railroad track vs. Year: Railroad track vs. Year % of US families with radio: % of US families with radio Slide16: Moore’s Law shows stagnation, not innovation, because we are still working on improving a technology invented 58 years ago. Journals & Students vs. Year: Journals & Students vs. Year Funding vs. Year: Funding vs. Year Scientists vs. Year: Scientists vs. Year Doubling time: 15 years ln(Scientists) vs. Year: ln(Scientists) vs. Year Members of APS vs. Year: Members of APS vs. Year Evidence of linear progress: Evidence of linear progress Timeline: Entries per year: Timeline: Entries per year Linear, or doubling time ~ 100 years War inhibits technological progress (also see deSolla) Timothy Ferris: Discoveries in cosmology vs. Year: Timothy Ferris: Discoveries in cosmology vs. Year Why?: Why? Funding shifting from government to industry Innovation negative feedback cycles Communication can reduce innovation Rescher’s law of logarithmic returns % of R&D Sponsored by Industry: % of R&D Sponsored by Industry Negative innovationfeedback cycles: Negative innovation feedback cycles Social stability innovation lifestyle conservatism innovation Economic instability innovation business process certainty time discounting innovation Communication inhibits innovation: Communication inhibits innovation Genetic algorithms: Score increases more slowly if all organisms can mate with all other organisms. Partial isolation increases rate of development. Island theory of biogeography: # species = C areaz, .18 < z < .35 z=.25: An area can support 4.8 times as many species if it is subdivided into 8 isolated areas Rescher: Physics authors: Rescher: Physics authors Rescher: #important papers = log(#papers) in symbolic logic: Rescher: #important papers = log(#papers) in symbolic logic Rescher’s law oflogarithmic returns: Rescher’s law of logarithmic returns Information = c log(data) It takes an exponentially increasing investment of resources in science to keep the output of results constant Rescher: “Proof” of law of logarithmic returns: Rescher: “Proof” of law of logarithmic returns Assumption: The significance of a mass of new data is proportional to the amount of new data relative to the amount of previously-existing information: I = D / D dD/D = ln(D) + C1 = C2ln(D) Rescher: 20 questions: Rescher: 20 questions Data is the number of objects we have to consider Information is knowing what questions to ask to categorize the data # of yes/no questions needed lg(data) End of Exponential Growth: End of Exponential Growth Doubling times: Doubling times Number of PhD students: 10 years Number of papers: 10 years Number of journals: 15 years Number of scientists: 15 years Funding: 15 years Important discoveries: 20 years GDP: 20 years Conclusions: Conclusions Rate of change is not increasing We are transitioning from a world in which change is limited by the human capacity for change, to one in which change is limited by money and people “Singularity” technologies may be necessary to sustain our present rate of change The posthuman era: Capacity for change presumably increases with technology, making accelerating progress possible log(miles of track) vs. Year: log(miles of track) vs. Year log(families with radio) vs. Year: log(families with radio) vs. Year
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