Tuesday, 4 September 2007

The scent of an asymptote.

Some years ago "the singularity" first passed into common useage, in fact Vernor Vinge is the person I credit with being the first person to bring the singularity concept to my attention with the linked article.

For those of you not up to speed, there is a geometric trend to the advancement of our knowledge and capabilities in all fields. For instance, Mendel first described the general principles of genetic inheritance back in 1865 or somewhere thereabouts, but it took almost 100 years for Crick, Watson, et al, to track that down to DNA - the "master plan" of life.

DNA is one of the most largest and most compact datasets we know, and it took the next 25 - 35 years to begin unravelling some of the more interesting parts of DNA and that in turn brough about quantum advances in medical technology that would be magical to Crick or Watson let alone Grigor Mendel.

In the last ten years, advances in the computing power of computers has made possible large scale decoding of DNA sequences and in fact the entire genomes of various species, a task that if started in Mendel's time and performed without the aid of computers would still be ongoing - for the first species...

Technology itself is described pretty well by Moore's Law, which says that the computing power of computers will double every two years. A corollary of which is that the same amount of computing power will cost half as much in that same period, and I would even amend Moore's Law to read that "the power, reach, and/or availability of our technology doubles every 18 months."

I read Engadget and other gadget blogs and I've noticed a trend - gadgets are being developed and released at a staggering rate. What was once a trickle of new devices released each week is now a steady stream, day in and day out.

From what I see, either the number of gadget blogs will have to increase exponentially to cover all the new gadgets, or we will soon not be able to keep track of all the new technology being released.

And if that's not a textbook example of singularity, I don't know what is... Halp halp! Gadjits be fluddin mah intarnets!

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