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July 2nd, 2005
Entering a dark age of innovation
... far from being in technological nirvana, we are fast approaching a new dark age. That, at least, is the conclusion of Jonathan Huebner, a physicist working at the Pentagon's Naval Air Warfare Center in China Lake, California.
But artificial intelligence expert Ray Kurzweil thinks Huebner has got it all wrong. "He uses an arbitrary list of about 7000 events that have no basis as a measure of innovation. If one uses arbitrary measures, the results will not be meaningful."
Eric Drexler, who dreamed up some of the key ideas underlying nanotechnology, agrees. "A more direct and detailed way to quantify technology history is to track various capabilities, such as speed of transport, data-channel bandwidth, cost of computation," he says. "Some have followed exponential trends, some have not."
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