Read In New Format (or Internet Explorer Users)
Human Genome Project
We are actually reprogramming biology. By the way the Genome project itself was good example of this exponential growth I am talking about. Halfway through the project, critics were saying, this isn't working you've only collected one percent of the Genome after seven years of which is half of the fifteen years that was predicted. One percent seven years? It's going to take 700 years which is what we said originally. My reaction was no it's almost done, because it's an exponential trajectory. It's doubling every year, after seven years it had been doubling every time. It continue to double every year and the project was finished on time. Every other aspect of biology has continued to scale up exponentially now that we're treating it as an information technology.
So these technologies - the ability to reprogram our genes, for example, are in an early stage but these technologies are going to double in power every year. They will be a thousand times more powerful than they are now in ten years. They'll be a million times more powerful then they are now in twenty years. It will be a very different era.
Let me show you just a few examples of how this works. Here's a good example These graphs over here, by the these are logarithmic scales. Every level on this graph is a thousand times more than the level before it.
So a straight line is exponential growth. So that line represent trillions fold increase over a century. Trillions fold in what? This is actually showing the number of bits we move around wirelessly through the world. The power of communications technology, wireless communications. One hundred years ago that was Morse Code, over AM radio. Today it's 4G networks. But look at how smooth a trajectory that is. You would think that given all the vagaries of news and headlines of a billion dollar company goes bankrupt, new products come out, one company takes over from another company, countries accused of dumping products, that this would be very erratic. I mean look at how smooth a trajectory that is.
Let me show the one that I first discovered. This is the power of computing going back to the 1890 census. This is a logarithmic scale, every level on this graph is 100,000 times greater than the level below it. So this represents trillions fold increase, in a little over a century. Several billion fold just since I was an undergraduate.
A lot of people say you can't just take exponentials and project them out indefinitely, every exponential comes to an end. Well, in information technology a particular method will come to an end, but it leads to research pressure to come to a new method. Moore's Law, which is the shrinking of computer processors on a chip, was not the first paradigm to bring exponential growth to computing,
But again look at how smooth the trajectory of that is. It was not affected by anything. It was not affected by the Great Depression, that swept the world in the 1930s. It was not affected by World War I or World War II or by the Cold War or any of the events of the 20th century or the 21st century, or even the recent recession. No it continued through the recent economic problems and it's really remarkable how smooth a trajectory that is.
Singularity presentation Ray Kurzweil at Google
I won't dwell on these examples of electronics, but up there the cost of a transistor, you could buy one transistor for a $1.16. I remember being in college and being very excited that wow I can get a whole transistor for only one dollar. Today you can get several billion for a dollar and they're actually better because they're smaller and they're faster.
That's actually not what we see. I can show fifty other graphs like this. We actually more than doubled our consumption every year, because one performance reaches certain levels whole new applications explode. People didn't buy iPods for 10,000 dollars each which is what it would have cost 15 years ago. When the price performance is there, whole new capabilities, search engines, fax machines, digital cameras, social networks take off. That represents 18% growth in constant currency even though we can get twice as much capability here for the same price.
So I mentioned the biotechnology revolution, this again a very smooth doubling every year and the cost has come down by half. Many other aspects of biology are scaling up in this exponential manner.
This little graph here I had only a few points in the 19080s and projected out to what I said would be a world wide web of communication connecting hundreds of millions of people around the world, to each other and to vast knowledge resources as emerging by the late 90s. People thought that was crazy, when in the early 1980s the entire Defense budget could only tie 2,000 people together. That's the power of exponential growth. that's what happened. This graph on the right is the same data but seen on a linear scale rather than logarithmic scale. It's the same information, but it looks like to the casual observer that the World Wide Web came out of nowhere in the 1990s but you could see it coming if you looked into this exponential trajectory.
De-Factorization Of The United States
This is going to revolutionize manufacturing which is why I say that the future is not in manufacturing jobs. In fact already, in the United States, 1/3 of the population worked in factories in the 1900. It's down to 3% today, it's really going to be in the creation of the intellectual property and the intellect that goes into all of these industries.
cover story in the American magazine Time Magazine, about this idea the law of accelerating returns. They wanted to print that graph but they said hey we want you to put this one computer on it that we covered a few weeks ago. So we put it on there and it's right on the curve. This is a curve that I laid out in 1981. It's still exactly correct, in terms of the power of computation. ut's an exponential graph. So this represents exponential growth that's going to continue well into the future.
New Book How To Create A Mind: The Secret Of Human Thought
The Implications of the Acceleration of Technology
So let me address one more thing and then we will have time for questions. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? It's actually a very popular or influential public perception movement that the world is getting worse, that the world is getting more violent, the poorer are getting poorer, the environment is getting worse, the world in general is getting poorer, turns out not to be the case. I have 50 different graphs like this.
[We include a Google motion chart from the World Bank illustrating what Kurzweil is talking about. If you cannot see the embedded movie, here is the link: http://bit.ly/xbfjms].
Improvement On All Fronts Worldwide
There is a recent book by Steven Pinker that actually humans conflict and violence has been steadily coming down, despite all appearances, because you hear about violence all the time, but actually there's much less of it in the world than there has ever been. The world is healthier, human longevity was 20 a thousand years ago, 37 in 1800, it's now pushing 80. So this graph is a moving graph, since 1800 and these are all countries. The big red circle is China, actually watch China, because it does some interesting things. This is on two different scales on the X axis is the wealth of nations, income per person, actually GDP per capita. It was in the hundreds of dollars, on average, in the 1800s.
On the Y axis is life expectancy which was in the 20s and 30s depending on where you were. The worldwide average 37. So let's see what happened. This is not the early industrial revolution, a few countries are experimenting with new industry and are making some progress. China's bouncing around.
Longevity, Energy & Food Resources
Health & Increasing Life Spans
There was just the day before yesterday a major announcement that if you have a heart attack, half of the survivors have a damaged heart, and therefore very weak. My father had this condition, he could hardly walk. You can now get that fixed with stem cell therapies that actually regrow your heart. That's just one example. We're going to be able to regrow every organ in the body to be younger and free of disease. So hang in there. It'll be a very interesting future for all of us.