Technological Evolution

30 May

Changing the Way You Work is focused on enhancing productivity with new, simple tools for today’s technology. Understanding the evolution of these technologies is an essential component in redefining the current technological paradigm that the newest technology = maximal productivity.

Today’s thinkers look to past trends to predict and prepare for the next stage of humanity’s relationship with technology – where each function of human work is improved upon through new knowledge and opportunity brought about by advancing the technology involved. Moore’s Law, the original standard for technological improvement, will no longer be able to contain the exponential growth of technology (particularly increasingly insufficient semiconductors). As we approach a steeper incline in the exponential slope of technological advancement, it is important to comprehend the path of its evolution, as well as its destination.

This post aims to open discussion about the direction of technology, its ever-increasing role in our lives, our relationships with technology old and new, and a vision of the not-so-distant future.

Six Epochs of Technological Evolution

Ray Kurzweil, author of The Singularity is Near, briefly describes his documentation and forecasts for the evolution of man’s relationship with technology by breaking the life activity on Earth into six historical epochs. From the subatomic, to organisms, then to brain function, Kurzweil asserts, we are nearing the end of the fourth epoch, where man was first to create technology. His view of the impending “human-machine civilization” has technology and humans merging, becoming higher life forms, and eventually expanding into the universe.

What Does Technology Want?

TED is a constant inspiration to the members of Change the Way You Work. Whether a lecture on our relationships with each other or our environment; on religion, culture, international relations, sports or string theory, TED talks are always stimulating, thought-provoking, and smart. TED talks are a great source for bold ideas, fresh perspectives and the immense knowledge of some of the world’s most intelligent minds.

In a thought provoking TED Talk, Kevin Kelly reexamines our view of technological evolution, and includes technology as the seventh kingdom of life on Earth. According to Kelly, and his analysis, the evolution of technology mimics the evolution of all organisms, toward specialization and “opportunities which create new territories of opportunities”. Technology and its capabilities help to solve problems in our lives and facilitate the ability to gain greater understanding of all interactions within our world. Kelly argues technology “wants” to specialize and create a “million species of individuals”, in order to continue to survive in the “infinite game” – which he addresses in depth in his book What Technology Wants.

Implications

These discussions about the direction of technology get us thinking about the ways in which technologies, old and new, have already and continue to enter into our lives and change us and the ways we function, as well as our understanding and interactions with our environment. The possibilities for further improvement in everything we do are endless.

What strides will we soon make towards Kurzweil’s 5th Epoch (see Kurzweil-inspired mural and further explanation of this theory on his “Accelerating Intelligence” website here), an age of biotechnology, superior intelligence and expanding interaction with the universe? What else will we find out along the way? What can we do now to make the present seem a little closer to this vision of the future?

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One Response to “Technological Evolution”

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  1. Seth Godin Drives Traffic « Changing the Way You Work - June 20, 2012

    […] have evolved since our inception earlier this month. We have focused on things like productivity, technology, and innovation. But, one constant in all of our most popular posts have been the presence of this […]

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