An amazing statement

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I was reading the Consumer Electronic Show report from Shelly Palmer and I run into an amazing statement:

"today is the slowest rate of technological change you will ever experience in your lifetime!"

Now, assuming technology evolution will continue to increase its pace, as it has been doing in the last 60 years, the statement is obviously true. Nevertheless it is quite a staggering way of looking at were we are.  The normal perception is that today we are leaving at a time were technology is progressing at the fastest pace ever.

I am not sure I can buy, however, into this statement.

The Moore's law is on the edge of physical possibilities and has already hit the wall of economic possibility: the price per transistor is no longer decreasing since 2014.

The Metcalfe law (the value of a network grows proportionally to the square number of connected users) is a more loose statement than Moore's law and most importantly hold its truth at the time when the increased connectivity related to people. Now we are getting close to pervasive ubiquitous connectivity with each person on the Earth being connected (we are not there yet but we are reaching an asymptote). It remains to be seen if the value of a (the) network will continue to increase (at that rate) as we are connecting more "things". 

The Palmer statement (the velocity of information is increasing and will always increase) has its weakness in the "always" increase. Information velocity matters from the point of view of our ability to digest. Data velocity is independent of the user, information is tied to the user. Hence, I am not sure this statement can hold (although we have seen it holding over the history of humankind, so far).

The one thing I agree with is the Law of accelerated returns (The rate of change in a wide variety of evolutionary systems tends to increase exponentially). This, I think, will be the leading underpinning of evolution in the next two decades, with genome, smart materials (which intertwine with nanotech) at the forefront.

I was speaking last night with my youngest son who is in Rotterdam studying economics and was supposed to prepare for a pitch on the "next economy". We discussed on what "next" might mean. To me is an increased empowerment of individual to create value through complex system with a limited capital expenditure.

This is becoming possible as more and more platforms of many kinds become available, in the production and logistics, letting a single "creative and committed" individual to leverage on world wide intellectual assets. Technology is in the background but remains the engine of innovation.

And this, I feel, is what really gives Shelley's statement 

"today is the slowest rate of technological change you will ever experience in your lifetime!"

a strong rooting, and can inspire the new generation.

Author - Roberto Saracco

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