Those that follow us know that I’m a big fan of technology. Not technology for technology-sake nor for the lay-about’s benefit, but rather technology to improve and address problems we face. Furthermore, those that know me, know that I’m an optimist. So this timely piece in the WSJ book review (courtesy of GorT, Sr.) hit home. A few excerpts:
If every image made and every word written from the earliest stirring of civilization to the year 2003 were converted to digital information, the total would come to five exabytes. An exabyte is one quintillion bytes, or one billion gigabytes—or just think of it as the number one followed by 18 zeros. That’s a lot of digital data, but it’s nothing compared with what happened from 2003 through 2010: We created five exabytes of digital information every two days. Get ready for what’s coming: By next year, we’ll be producing five exabytes every 10 minutes. How much information is that? The total for 2010 of 912 exabytes is the equivalent of 18 times the amount of information contained in all the books ever written. The world is not just changing, and the change is not just accelerating; the rate of the acceleration of change is itself accelerating.
Information: A Masai warrior with a smartphone on Google has access to more information than the president of the United States did just 15 years ago.
Technology: Today more people have access to a cellphone than to a toilet.
Computing: In 15 years, the average $1,000 laptop is likely to be computing at the rate of the human brain.
Education: The Khan Academy’s YouTube tutorial videos on more than 2,200 topics, from algebra to zoology, draw two million viewings a month from online students around the world.
Medicine: The field of personalized medicine based on genetic information—an industry that didn’t exist a decade ago—is now growing at 15% a year and will reach $452 billion by 2015.
Aging: The centenarian population is doubling every decade; it was 455,000 in 2009 and will reach four million by 2050.
Given all the talk nowadays about income inequality, the authors’ discussion of poverty is especially instructive. The number of people in the world living in absolute poverty has fallen by more than half since the 1950s. At the current rate of decline it will reach zero by around 2035. Groceries today cost 13 times less than 150 years ago in inflation-adjusted dollars. In short, the standard of living has improved: 95% of Americans now living below the poverty line have not only electricity and running water but also Internet access, a refrigerator and a television—luxuries that Andrew Carnegie’s millions couldn’t have bought at any price a century ago.
It sounds like a very interesting read.
GorT is an eight-foot-tall robot from the 51ˢᵗ Century who routinely time-travels to steal expensive technology from the future and return it to the past for retroinvention. The profits from this pay all the Gormogons’ bills, including subsidizing this website. Some of the products he has introduced from the future include oven mitts, the Guinness widget, Oxy-Clean, and Dr. Pepper. Due to his immense cybernetic brain, GorT is able to produce a post in 0.023 seconds and research it in even less time. Only ’Puter spends less time on research. GorT speaks entirely in zeros and ones, but occasionally throws in a ڭ to annoy the Volgi. He is a massive proponent of science, technology, and energy development, and enjoys nothing more than taking the Czar’s more interesting scientific theories, going into the past, publishing them as his own, and then returning to take credit for them. He is the only Gormogon who is capable of doing math. Possessed of incredible strength, he understands the awesome responsibility that follows and only uses it to hurt people.