In 1999, renowned inventor and self-described futurist Ray Kurzweil—now director of engineering at Google—published “The Age of Spiritual Machines,” in which he proposed a formula for calculating the rate of change in evolutionary systems. Dubbed “The Law of Accelerating Returns,” Kurzweil’s formula holds that technological progress will occur at an exponential rate. Viewed in relation to human history, this means in the 21st century “we won’t experience 100 years of progress”; instead, the growth rate “will be more like 20,000 years of progress.”
Over the past two decades, Kurzweil’s model of technological progress has been validated. Today, the world is home to more internet-connected devices (10 billion) than people. Dubbed the “Internet of Things” (IoT), this interconnected network of digital devices has revolutionized how we interact with the world around us. From driverless cars, to personal drones, to smart homes, the degree to which the IoT has affected contemporary society is nothing short of profound.
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