The 6Ds of “exponential” … digitised, deceptive, disruptive, dematerialised, demonetised, democratised

August 29, 2016

Exponential thinking is not just about thinking big, it is about the steps to go from small to big. If I were to take 30 linear steps, I’d end up 30 paces or 30 meters away. But if I said to you take 30 exponential steps, one, two, four, eight, sixteen, thirty-two and said where would you end up? The answer is a billion meters away, or twenty-six times around the planet.

The term exponential is often often associated with Ray Kurzweil, an expert in artificial intelligence and director of engineering at Google.  Inc Magazine ranked him #8 among the “most fascinating” entrepreneurs in the USA today, and called him “Edison’s rightful heir”.

Kurzweil argues that as humans, we are biased to think linearly. As entrepreneurs, we need to think exponentially. He often talk about the 6D’s of exponential thinking … Most of us can’t see the things Ray sees because the initial growth stages of exponential, DIGITIZED technologies are DECEPTIVE. Before we know it, they are DISRUPTIVE—just look at the massive companies that have been disrupted by technological advances in AI, virtual reality, robotics, internet technology, mobile phones, OCR, translation software, and voice control technology. Each of these technologies DEMATERIALIZED, DEMONETIZED, and DEMOCRATIZED access to services and products that used to be linear and non-scalable.

In 1990 (25 years ago), he predicted that a computer would defeat a world chess champion by 1998. Then in 1997, IBM’s Deep Blue defeated Garry Kasparov. He also said that PCs would be capable of answering queries by accessing information wirelessly via the Internet by 2010. He was right, to say the least. And that by the early 2000s, exoskeletal limbs would let the disabled walk. Companies like Ekso Bionics and others now have technology that does just this, and much more.

In 1999, he predicted that people would be able talk to their computer to give commands by 2009. While still in the early days in 2009, natural language interfaces like Apple’s Siri and Google Now have come a long way. I rarely use my keyboard anymore; instead I dictate texts and emails. He also envisioned that computer displays would be built into eyeglasses for augmented reality by 2009. Labs and teams were building head mounted displays well before 2009, but Google started experimenting with Google Glass prototypes in 2011. Now, we are seeing an explosion of augmented and virtual reality solutions and HMDs. Microsoft just released the Hololens, and Magic Leap is working on some amazing technology, to name two.

In 2005, he predicted that by the 2010s, virtual solutions would be able to do real-time language translation in which words spoken in a foreign language would be translated into text that would appear as subtitles to a user wearing the glasses. Well, Microsoft (via Skype Translate), Google (Translate), and others have done this and beyond. One app called Word Lens actually uses your camera to find and translate text imagery in real time.

Here are Kurzweil’s predictions for the next 30 years:

  • By the late 2010s, glasses will beam images directly onto the retina. Ten terabytes of computing power (roughly the same as the human brain) will cost about $1,000.
  • By the 2020s, most diseases will go away as nanobots become smarter than current medical technology. Normal human eating can be replaced by nanosystems. The Turing test begins to be passable. Self-driving cars begin to take over the roads, and people won’t be allowed to drive on highways.
  • By the 2030s, virtual reality will begin to feel 100% real. We will be able to upload our mind/consciousness by the end of the decade.
  • By the 2040s, non-biological intelligence will be a billion times more capable than biological intelligence (us). Nanotech foglets will be able to make food out of thin air and create any object in physical world at a whim.
  • By 2045, we will multiply our intelligence a billionfold by linking wirelessly from our neocortex to a synthetic neocortex in the cloud.

Explore more exponential thinking with Peter Fisk … inspiring keynotes, practical workshops, and accelerated strategy and innovation consulting to help your business growth further and faster.

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