Moore’s Law, the Singularity and why we can’t keep up with technology…

When older people complain that the world is changing too fast we usually dismiss their concerns as the normal product of an ageing brain. They can’t keep up with technological advancements, we surmise, because they’ve lost too many neurons and their brain is unable to work as fast as it did when they were younger. But perhaps we’re wrong. Perhaps the world really is changing faster than it has in the past. And the older you are, the more past you’ve lived through and the longer you’ve had to keep pace with the change.

This is certainly the view that I have been persuaded by recently.

I started reading a great book by Raymond Kurzweil last year called, ‘The Singularity is Near: When humans transcend biology‘ and have found his arguments compelling. Essentially he maintains that technological evolution progresses at an exponential rate (often called Moore’s Law) and that we are currently in the midst of a paradigm shift in human evolution. This might sound like science fiction but it seems to ring true.

This morning I watched a video by glass company Corning which examined some its previous claims about the possibility of ‘intelligent’ [my word] glass as to what is currently possible with this technology, and what is likely to be possible in the near future. This is technology that only ten years ago would have been considered a life-time away [viz. Minority Report].

My sister, too, was only talking to me at the weekend about the impending shift towards ‘augmented reality‘ applications on smartphones and tablets. QR codes (which I’ve just got to grips with) are going to be old-hat by this time next year.

Finally, TED talks pointed me in the direction of a presentation given by Danny Hillis in 1994 which predicted this technology boom. Thus further supporting Kurzweil’s hypothesis.

So, if you are like my dad, who, when I was growing up was a technophile but is now finding himself left behind and over-whelmed by advances in technology, then don’t despair. Yes, technology is changing at an ever faster rate but we live in exciting times with exciting possibilities. It is easy to be overwhelmed but these advances in technology should make it easier to embed them into our lives so that they fit with our natural instincts and ways of being. In the same way that the ipad is more intuitive than a pc, other technologies will adjust to us, so we don’t have to make so much effort or try to keep up with the change.

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3 thoughts on “Moore’s Law, the Singularity and why we can’t keep up with technology…

  1. You are absolutely correct. The general public does not have to keep up but the technology is catered to sync with their daily habits or does it? People are also evolving from the technology. Many are becoming socially inept as they are thinking they are becoming more social. The irony plays a cold role in their lives. If the technology was to be cut off, they would feign like coke addicts looking for an out. The advances and disadvantages have come grey and no longer can we understand if we are walking in the right direction. You are right about the QR code. I don’t think people hardly use that anymore. It’s still in use but people are looking at other means. But I also noticed that our brains can not keep up with the many apps that are built on top of the technology we are trying to figure out. Yes technology is great, but it is leading people to their own destruction because their minds cannot absorb the constant change. Yes it’s good for brain to learn new items and it increases brain function. But without brain training, the minds are going into overload. Moore was right and it’s amazing how he knew.

    • Thanks Frank for your interesting comment. I’m not sure exactly what you mean by ‘brain training’ – I presume you’re not referring to those ‘Dr Brian Trainer’ computer games. My speculation is that people will be a lot more discerning about the technology they embrace, and it may be that the rate at which technology becomes obsolete gets quicker and quicker. The technology that people will use is that which is easy, intuitive and portable. I’m not sure whether Google glasses will really take off because unless you already wear glasses then you’re not going to want to put on a pair of specs. It’s generally just as easy to pull out a smartphone – unless perhaps you’re cycling or driving in which case there could be a (dangerous) market for it. However, perhaps when the technology is able to be easily embedded into people’s eyes…

  2. Pingback: Technology and the future divide between the haves and the have nots | Philosophical thought...

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