Forecasts are like garbage cans, everyone has one....well you know the rest.
Nevertheless, they are fun and actually can be instructive as a guide. With today's pace in technology, it does get rather difficult to project things. This does not stop people from doing it.
One area that has a bit more certainty than in most is computing. Since there are "laws" that are followed, we can ascertain where things will be with some certainty. While not exact, we can get a ballpark idea.
Moore's "Law" is probably the most famous. This has held fairly constant over the last 5 decades. Much of the progress we have in the world is due to the rapid advancement in computational power. The doubling of output of chips every couple years led to significant changes in society.
Many question whether this "Law" is dead. Without getting into that debate, I find that it is not relevant anyway. At some point, we will see another paradigm shift due to advancement by chip makers. Could it be carbon nanotubes or EUV lithography that changes the course we are on? I have no idea. However, we know the move is on to keep squeezing greater output by all the chip manufacturers.
Which brings us to the Singularity.
This is a hypothetical point where the power of computing is such that it passes human capability. In other words, our computers are more powerful than human brains. Thus we see technological growth and progress being irreversible.
Ray Kurzweil is considered by many to be a genius. There is an equal number of people who think him a quack. No matter which camp someone is in, Kurzweil is one who garners a lot of attention. He wrote a book "The Singularity is Near". In it, he predicted the date for this was around 2045.
Before going any further, I must state these predictions are in the minority. Most who buy into the idea of the Singularity have it pegged somewhere between 2060 and 2100. At the same time, there are many in the field who believe we will never reach this point, that it is a complete impossibility.
Nevertheless, Kurzweil was trumped by his own organization. During a conference in South Africa, it was announced that the Singularity will be reached in 2035 as compared to the original estimate of 2045.
The technological singularity, an age when machine intelligence surpasses human intelligence, is now expected to take place in 2035, 10 years earlier than initially predicted.
This was the word from Shayne Manne, co-CEO of SingularityU Africa and co-founder of experiential brand agency Mann Made.
No word was given why the change in outlook and what took place to speed up the process.
Whether this comes to pass in the time period outlined here is not important. The reason I bring this up is to focus upon the trend. If these people are even remotely correct, how will things change by, say, 2027? What will the business and investing world look like if the path towards Singularity is on pace to be reached in the next 20 years?
We know computational power is growing. In addition to advancements in chips, we see other factors such as neural networks, image recognition, and, perhaps even, quantum computing having a major impact going forward.
It is easy to believe things will remain fairly constant. The pace that is being referred to here shows that this could be a false presumption. We are seeing more of our world going digital and, with computing at the core, this has a remarkable impact. Today, many of the largest (and most powerful) companies in the world are from this realm. Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Alibaba are all leveraging the power of computing to their own advantage.
AI is going to be the most powerful thing we ever saw created by humanity. In proportion, I believe it will make the advancement of electricity look rather small. Unfortunately, as many are warning, we are not quite sure how this will all work out.
Either way, it is best to be mindful of what is taking place. There are very powerful technologies around the corner that will alter all of society. I feel that no matter what the industry, all are ripe for disruption. The tools being developed are simply making too much of an impact.
Those that get on board have a chance. The companies that stick to the status quo will likely be gone in 10 years.
Something to keep in mind as we move forward.
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