I have been a follower of Azeem Azhar. I love his weekly newsletter which describes a wide range of exponential trends. Hence picking up “Exponential: How Accelerating Technology Is Leaving Us Behind and What to Do About It.”
Lots of books about exponential
The expectations were high. However, the book competes with a lot of books about exponential. He explains that technology is unpredictable. Sometimes moving slowly, sometimes causing rapid and seismic transformations. Where human society is the ultimate ‘complex system’; it is made up of countless, constantly interacting elements — individuals, households, governments, companies, beliefs, technologies.
He writes about the ‘exponential gap’. The chasm between new forms of technology — along with the fresh approaches to business, work, politics and civil society they bring about — and the corporations, employees, politics and wider social norms that get left behind. Many people outside of the world of technology make no effort to understand it nor to develop the right response to it. Politicians frequently demonstrate a fundamental ignorance about even the most basic workings of mainstream technologies. That is a big problem. Because the impact of technology on society is profound.
Inevitably the book covers Moore´s law (more powerful), Wrights law (everything cheaper), network effects, globalisation, diffusion, acceleration, technology layers reinforcing each other, S-curves, etc. Technologies such as solar, genetics, synthetic biology, energy storage, 3D printing, AI and quantum computing are jumping far beyond Moore´s law by a factor of 500 or Moore (this is a word joke). Using examples such as Amazon, Tesla, Facebook, PayPal, Microsoft, Google, eBay, Alibaba, Tencent, Salesforce, Netflix, and the winner takes all economy we have created. Entrepreneurs who understand blitzscaling, and creating monopolies. The corporate giants of the future will take increasingly dominant market positions, both within and across sectors.
The book II
The book also covers the move to more local production (3D, vertical farming), the role of cities, the future of warfare, cyber security, computational propaganda…