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Ray Kurzweil – “Kurzweil’s Law”

by Stewart Brand on September 26th, 02005

Ray Kurzweil

Escape velocity

Attempts to think long term, Ray Kurzweil began, keep making the mistake of imagining that the pace of the future is like the pace of the past. Pondering the next ten years, we usually begin by studying the last ten years. He recommends studying the last twenty year for clues about the rate and degree of change coming in the next ten years, because history self-accelerates. That’s Kurzweil’s Law of accelerating returns: “technology and evolutionary processes progress in an exponential fashion.”

Thus, since the rate of progress doubles every ten years or so, we will see changes in the next 90 years equivalent to the last 10,000 years, and in the next 100 years changes equivalent to the last 20,000 years. It is always the later doublings where the ferocious action is…

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