How My Predictions Are Faring Page|
How my predictions are faring
In this essay I review the accuracy of my predictions going back aquarter of a century. Included herein is a discussion of mypredictions from
The Age of Intelligent Machines
(which I wrote inthe 1980s), all 147 predictions for 2009 in
The Age of Spiritual Machines
(which I wrote in the 1990s), plus others. Perhaps mymost important predictions are implicit in my exponential graphs.These trajectories have indeed continued on course and I discussthese updated graphs below.
My core thesis, which I call the “law of accelerating returns,” is
that fundamental measures of information technology followpredictable and exponential trajectories, belying the conventional
wisdom that “you can’t predict the future.” There are still many
which project, company or technical standard will prevailin the marketplace, or when peace will come to the Middle East
that remain unpredictable, but the underlying price/performanceand capacity of information is nonetheless remarkably predictable.Surprisingly, these trends are unperturbed by conditions such aswar or peace and prosperity or recession.
The quintessential example of the law of accelerating returns is the perfectly smooth,doubly exponential growth of the price/performance of computation, which has heldsteady for 110 years through two world wars, the Cold War, the Great Depression, thecollapse of the Soviet Union, the re-emergence of China, and other notable events of thelate nineteenth, twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.Some people refer to this phenomeno
n as “Moore’s law,” but that is a misconception.Moore’s law (which states that you can place twice as many components on an integrated
circuit every two years and they run faster because they are smaller) is just one paradigmamong many. It was the fifth, not the first, paradigm to bring exponential growth to theprice/performance of computing.