“This is for the same reason we just discussed—the Law of Accelerating Returns. The average rate of advancement between 1985 and 2015 was higher than the rate between 1955 and 1985—because the former was a more advanced world—so much more change happened in the most recent 30 years than in the prior 30.
So—advances are getting bigger and bigger and happening more and more quickly. This suggests some pretty intense things about our future, right?
Kurzweil suggests that the progress of the entire 20th century would have been achieved in only 20 years at the rate of advancement in the year 2000—in other words, by 2000, the rate of progress was five times faster than the average rate of progress during the 20th century. He believes another 20th century’s worth of progress happened between 2000 and 2014 and that another 20th century’s worth of progress will happen by 2021, in only seven years. A couple decades later, he believes a 20th century’s worth of progress will happen multiple times in the same year, and even later, in less than one month. All in all, because of the Law of Accelerating Returns, Kurzweil believes that the 21st century will achieve 1,000 times the progress of the 20th century.”
“Things are changing so quickly these days compared to when I grew up.” – Every person older than 30 that I know
That sentiment is true.
“Change” (in this case technological advancement) happens on exponential curves. We, as humans, are geared to view change linearly or on a straight course based on our previous experiences. We love to share anecdotes about the past and think about the future in terms of small incremental bits. After all, I was born in 1978 and things aren’t all that different now than they were then? Yes, they are.
Business wise, it’s time to think about how you or your company or your church or your nonprofit is going to position itself now for the increasing climb of the Law of Accelerating Returns. 2040 will look dramatically different than 2020 in terms of human advancement.
This will impact everything from how we consume and produce products (already happening) to how we drive (already happening) to how we use, spend, and save currency (already happening) to how we worship or view faith (happening at a shocking pace now) to how we do business (if you think “the internet” is important for business, just wait) to how we monitor and adjust and improve our own biological, mental, and emotional health. Not to mention external variables that will affect our future such as climate change, growth in human population, war, strife, and the coming economic calamity because of the gap between rich and poor.
If we don’t nuke ourselves or die from spoiling our resources, the next 100 years will see an incredible change in what it means to be(ing) human.
So, if you think 2015 is weird and annoying with mobile phones, email, and Facebook and you cannot wait until we all just go back to paper and “how things used to be”… just wait for 2025. You should fear the future.
However, this will be an amazing and monumental time for our species. I’m hopeful that technological advancement will bring human progress in a number of areas.
Either way, prepare your business now by thinking about what’s coming.