Size, Cost & Power of computers
This can be seen in a number of areas. In the late 1950’s a transistor was approximately 1mm in diameter. In the late 1970’s they were about 1000 times smaller. Today they are about 1 million times smaller. The type of technology used has changed, but the trend has continued.. A comparison between the Osborne Executive portable computer from 1982 and the iPhone from 2007 is relevant here.
According to Butter’s Law of Photonics the amount of data coming out of an optical fiber is doubling every nine months. As a result, the cost of transmitting information over an optical network decreases by half every nine months.
The human genome project was set up in 1989 to map out the DNA sequences in the human genome. Critics of the project said that at the initial rate of progress it would take thousands of years to complete the project. yet advances in techniques and technology used meant that the project was finished ahead it’s 15 year schedule.
Before the 18th century, communication meant smoke signals, a message sent on a horse, or perhaps by pigeon. Advances towards the 18th century lead to networks of beacons, and reflected light signals being set up in some areas. Once electricity was invented we then saw a big increase in the speed of communication via the electric telegraph and the telephone. Once Radio was invented this lead to wireless communication (e.g Radio, Television, mobile phones). The Internet era has lead to a wide range of additional technologies (e.g email, Internet messaging, Skype). The rate of this development has increased markedly. There was very little development before 1850 and then a rapid increase once different enabling technologies (e.g. Electicity, Radio, Internet) appeared.
Development of Man
Even human beings themselves are subject to the same law. It seems hard to believe – however we need to look back in time to the point at which we were single celled organisms. At that time it took billions of years for evolutionary steps to play out. Gradually we came on land and grew into ape like creatures. this evolution of humanoids took millions of years. Finally the evolution of Homo Sapiens has taken only a few hundred thousand years. The beginning of the next stage of evolution has been predicted as happening from around 2050…
The above is not an exhaustive list. The Law of Accelerating returns is arguably one of the Most important laws for mankind at this time in our history. Most people are still very much in the same mind as the Chinese Emperor all those years ago however. That will soon change as developments become more and more profound, more and more quickly.