The future of technology brought to you by the letter “S”

Maybe the long boom of technological disruption will slow down, ponders sf writer Charlie Stross.

We are undeniably living through the era of the Great Acceleration; but it’s probably[*] a sigmoid curve, and we may already be past the steepest part of it. [link in original]

Ah yes, that famous S-curve.  Slow to start, fast to build, massive in effect, then ultimately tapering off, like so:

Sigmoid curve plot.

The big “S”.

So we can imagine the tide of industrial-technological change rising in the 1700s, roaring into life during the 1800s, turning into a transformational riptide through the twentieth century, and then, in the 21st, gradually… slowing… down.  The rate of innovation drops.  We become accustomed to the new.  Future shock stops shocking.

And then what?  Stross imagines political outcomes:

When the Great Acceleration stops, my guess is that the oligarchy will ossify into a nobility, and eventually a monarchical-system-in-all-but-name, within a century at most. And there are already worrying signs that this is happening. [link in original]

(image from Wikipedia; also blogged at Scanning the Futures)

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2 Responses to The future of technology brought to you by the letter “S”

  1. dearbalak says:

    Reblogged this on Punkonomics and commented:
    #Bryanalexander comments on one of my favorite fiction author (Charles Stross) making some interesting political-economic points

  2. Thank you for the reblog, punkish dearbalak.

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