Tagged: Information Technology
June 30, 2015 at 5:42 pm #1009pc_adminKeymaster
“The Second Machine Age is a book (published in 2014) that outlines many concepts and ideas, however one key aspect I always found most relevant – the chess game metaphor: “The Second Half of the Chessboard” (a term coined by Ray Kurzweil).
To depict where we are today in terms of technology progress and what the rate of progress might look like, the authors (Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee) used the following example: It is believed that the game chess was invented in the 6th century AD in current India. When the new invention was presented to the emperor he was so impressed that he offered any reward.
The inventor responded saying: “All I desire is some rice to feed my family”. To determine the amount of rice that would be included he stated : ”Place one single grain of rice on the first square of the board, two on the second, four on the third, and so on, so that each square receives twice as many grains as the previous”.
The emperor was so impressed by his modesty and so replied: “Make it so”. What he did not realize was that if you double 63 times and start with a single unit of rice you will end up with 2^63-1 rice corns – or 18 quintillion grains of rice – more rice than has been produced in the history of the world.
When Ray Kurzweil outlined this he noted that the emperor would not have noticed the issue in the first half of the board as by 32 squares (so half way) the emperor would have given the inventor 4 billion grains of rice – about one large field’s worth.
However once you would go over into the second half the problems becomes more apparent. On square 33 you will need 2*4bn and on 34 2*(2*4bn) until at square 64 when you reach a couple quintillion grains of rice.
Brynjolfsson and McAfee used U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) statistics that noted “information technology” expenditure since 1958 and modelled the rate of increase over the years. Both suggested in their book that by 2006 we reached square 32 – so we are now starting to see an exponential increase in the IT industry.
So it seems that we are not at the start, nor at the end – we are at the start of an exponential increase in “IT” related things.”
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