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The Digital MindHow Science is Redefining Humanity$
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Arlindo Oliveira

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262036030

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262036030.001.0001

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The Exponential Nature of Technology

The Exponential Nature of Technology

(p.11) 2 The Exponential Nature of Technology
The Digital Mind

Arlindo Oliveira

The MIT Press

This chapter provides a brief review of the history of technology, covering pre-historical technologies, the agricultural revolution, the first two industrial revolutions, and the third industrial revolution, based on information technology. Evidence is provided that technological development tends to follow an exponential curve, leading to technologies that typically were unpredictable just a few years before. An analysis of a number of exponential trends and behaviors is provided, in order to acquaint the reader with the sometimes surprising properties of exponential growth. In general, exponential functions tend to grow slower than expected in the short term, and faster than expected in the long term. It is this property that make technology evolution very hard to predict.

Keywords:   Technology, Industrial revolution, Agricultural revolution, Exponential growth, Information technology

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