Digital Minefield

Why The Machines Are Winning

The Danger of Exploding Technology

Some might describe technology’s growth in the last 100 years as exponential. And they’d be half-right. For the first 50 of those 100 years, it was exponential. But since then this growth is better described as explosive. To try to contain it as exponential suggests it can be constrained by a two-dimensional graph. Hardly. Technology’s growth is at least three-dimensional. I say at least because anyone can make the argument for four-dimensions. IOW, its growth is also an acceleration in the additional dimension of time.

As to the cause of this difficult-to-describe growth, a single word suffices: computers. There is no aspect of the expansion of technology that has not been accelerated by computing. In fact, the influence of computers on technology is hard to describe by a single word such as acceleration. Clearly, it is not only more than additive, it is more than multiplicative. The computer’s role on the growth of technology is much greater than a mere multiplier. We should even be cautious to use the word, exponentiation. It may boggle the mind, but the computer’s effect on the growth of technology in recent decades is nothing less than explosive. IOW, almost all of the explosive growth of technology is due to the explosive influence of computers. It remains to be seen whether this explosion can be controlled. If it can not, then the only remaining question is whether or not we will survive.


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