What’s the work of a true genius? Explaining to a theater filled with over 1,000 executives how they can understand and predict the future… even if for some (including this blogger) it only lasts for the duration of the speech. However, there is no doubt in my mind that after Ray Kurzweil’s closing speech at the World Innovation Forum New York, the entire audience left the event with a plethora of probing questions to use in taking businesses forward.
“Real reality still has some advantages,” joked Kurzweil, “I could’ve done this speech from the comfort of my own home with my 3D image projected on stage, but then I would’ve missed this gorgeous theater.” Someone who continually has the future and the latest technology in mind, Kurzweil portrays this curious perspective in all that he does, and his speech on the World Innovation Forum New York stage was no exception. In the following, discover how you can predict the future in a very logical way in terms of bits and the miniaturization of physical information into information files by applying Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns.
According to Kurzweil, “We have a brain to be able to predict the future.” As primitives, what helped our species to survive and dominate over others was the intelligence to say to ourselves “that animal is running to the right, so if I cut through diagonally here I’ll be able to catch up with it and eat it” So why not use a little intuition and exponential rather than linear thinking and apply it to bits? DNA sequencing? Information technology?
The exponential growth of bits:
Kurzweil first demonstrated the exponential growth of moving bits by expanding Moore’s Law and Cooper’s Law of Spectral Efficiency to demonstrate how from the Morris code to today’s 4G efficiency, bits have had a trillion fold increase in the past century. The growth of computing over the past 110 years demonstrates the same, constant, very smooth increasing line. See the clip below for more on this.
The miniaturization of physical information into information files:
At first glance this sounds very sci-fi futuristic, however most of us take advantage of what this entails every day. When was the last time you sent a music file through the internet? Or sent a movie clip on an email attachment? This is just the beginning and it doesn’t take much to imagine where it will be taking us. Kurzweil shared with the audience that we are already able to print violins, and even print printers by printing separate modules and putting them together. This will change the way that the poorer, less technologically equipped countries will interact with these products in the future.
Addressing the audience in a very optimistic way throughout the presentation, Kurzweil argues that this exponential increase in technology as well as its shrinking property is a very positive sign for humanity, providing easy access to liberating technology and spreading democracy. In terms of economics, although there is still a great difference between the haves and have nots, economics, in addition to life expectancy, have also continued to exponentially grow. Every two years we survive we exponentially increase our life expectancy, said Kurzweil. “If you hang in there you might be able to see the remarkable century ahead.”