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The continued exponential growth of the price-performance of computing is likely to effectuate technologies that radically transform both the global economy and the human condition over the course of this century. Conventional visions of the next 50 years fail to realistically account for the full implications of accelerating technological change driven by the exponential growth of computing, and as a result are deeply flawed. These flawed visions are, in part, a consequence of three interrelated errors in reasoning: 1) the linear projection fallacy, 2) the ceteris paribus fallacy, and 3) the arrival fallacy. Each of these informal fallacies is likely a manifestation of shortcomings in our intuitions about complex dynamic systems. Recognizing these errors and identifying when and where they affect our own reasoning is an important first step toward thinking more realistically about the future.
Technological growth follows an exponential trajectory because advancements in practical knowledge are compounding. Each new tool and technique we invent synergizes with previous ones, and in turn facilitates the creation of still newer and better tools and techniques (Drexler, 2013; Kurzweil, 2005). Moreover, technological progress in general has now become inextricably linked to the exponential growth of computing because the latter enables new functionality of many kinds (Lipsey et al., 2005).