Kurzweil and Exponential Change

Ray Kurzweil is perhaps the most famous futurist around. He is well known for predicting that a computer would beat a grand master at chess. That has happened. His prediction that cars will go driverless is happening now. Very interesting stuff.

But Ray makes an underlying point about the way humans think that is even more interesting. In sum, we are out of tune with how our future is being created. Why? Humans tend to think in a linear fashion. Do this, then that and you get a result. Technology, however, is changing exponentially. In other words, what appears to us as linear change is in fact the early part of an explosion of change that will blindside most people.

Here is how  he sees the future

Kurzweil seems optimistic. In 2013 he told the New York Times that nanobots will enhance our immune systems by 2030 and that he’s planning on living forever, more or less. Last April he told the Financial Times that he is planning on creating a simulated version of his late father and that any given brunch could be had on a Mediterranean beach with the aid of virtual reality.

Pretty wild stuff. But the point is clear. If this kind of future is possible, entrepreneurs will have to start thinking about the factors that produce exponential returns.


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