Earlier this month, I had the good fortune to hear engineer, inventor, futurist and now-Google employee, Ray Kurzweil, speak at Berkeley University. During his note-free two hours on stage without a single “um, er, ah” or seeming pause for breath, Kurzweil took the audience on a fantastic voyage on the impact of exponential versus linear growth in technology.
“History shows us that technological change is exponential, but we humans with our common sense intuit a more linear view,” he said. “If we take 30 steps we get to 30 steps in a linear path,” he said. “If we take 30 steps exponentially, we get to a billion in 30 steps.”
“Larry Page and I are convinced that within five years we will reach a tipping point where energy from solar will be less expensive per watt than from coal and oil.”