Year of the Technology Tiger

My first post in 2010. Since it is already February, and the start of the Chinese (Lunar) New Year… I wish everybody a Xin nian kuai le!

2010 is the Year of the Tiger, which is associated with good fortune, power, and royalty. The Tiger is viewed with both fear and respect; hence, their protection and wisdom is sought after. Some Chinese Zodiac forcasts say that drama, intensity, change and travel will be keywords for 2010. The Year of the Tiger will bring far reaching changes for everyone. New inventions and incredible technological advances have a good chance of occurring. Everything happens quickly and dramatically in a Tiger year – blink and you could miss an important chance of a lifetime!

Predictions of dramatic change and technological advances seem to come true on a daily basis these days. Our future is happening at an accellerated rate. In futures studies and the history of technology, accelerating change is an increase in the rate of technological (and sometimes social and cultural) progress throughout history, which may suggest faster and more profound change in the near future.

I can’t help but think of Ray Kurzweil and his essay on the Law of Accelerating Returns, which implies that a technological singularity will occur before the end of the 21st century.

The essay begins:

“An analysis of the history of technology shows that technological change is exponential, contrary to the common-sense ‘intuitive linear’ view. So we won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century—it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today’s rate). The ‘returns,’ such as chip speed and cost-effectiveness, also increase exponentially. There’s even exponential growth in the rate of exponential growth. Within a few decades, machine intelligence will surpass human intelligence, leading to the Singularity—technological change so rapid and profound it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history. The implications include the merger of biological and nonbiological intelligence, immortal software-based humans, and ultra-high levels of intelligence that expand outward in the universe at the speed of light.”

Conscider this… So far in the month of February (in the past 2 weeks), we have seen headlines like this (just Google them):

– Scientists develop universal DNA reader to advance faster, cheaper sequencing efforts
– Microsoft adds ‘Augmented Reality’ to Bing Maps
– Boring conversation? Let your computer listen for you
– Researchers Develop Nanofiber-Based Technology to Make Energy-Efficient Lighting
– Wi-Fi at the Speed of Light
– Google Ultrafast Broadband May Shake Up Fiber Market
– Researchers develop ‘lab on a chip’ that detects viruses
– Google leaps language barrier with translator phone
– An Early Warning System for Cancer
– Scientists identify first genetic variant linked to biological aging in humans
– First germanium laser brings us closer to ‘optical computers’
– NASA, GM team up to build robotic astronauts
– ‘Nanobubbles’ kill cancer cells
– Physicist Discovers How to Teleport Energy
– Multitouch ‘Skin’ Transforms Surfaces Into Interactive Screens
– Spray-on liquid glass is about to revolutionize almost everything
– Researchers perform complete genomic sequencing of brain cancer cell line

Phew!

So… as we kick off the year of 2010; one associated with Tiger-like qualities of intensity and change… I can only imagine we are in for a wild ride, especially when it comes to advancements in technology. Let’s be sure to harness this energy and power for positive world change. If we dont, it just might bite us in the ass!