Sunday, November 20, 2011

Knowledge Doubling Every 11 Hours

Jack Dikian
November 2011

We have all grown up with the knowledge that computers are getting smaller, faster, and cheaper. Moore's law describes a long-term trend in the history of computing hardware: that the number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years.

The other day I was talking to a friend who is now doing a law degree after completing her first degree some ten years ago. We got onto chatting about the amount of information and resources generally available now compared to even a decade ago, not to mention 20 years ago, 30 years ago, etc.

The Knowledge Doubling Curve

According to a 2006 prediction coming from IBM Global Technical Services’ white paper, "The toxic terabyte: How data-dumping threatens business efficiency” the world’s information base will be doubling in size every 11 hours. And so rapid is the growth in the global stock of digital data that the very vocabulary used to indicate quantities has had to expand to keep pace.

The graph (Fig 1.) illustrates the rate of growth as an exponential growth doubling over time.

knowledge duplication

The knowledge duplication curve (Fig 2,) is a mirror image of The Knowledge Doubling Curve. This curve is not based on any study; rather an intuitive explanation of the mechanics behind The Knowledge Doubling Curve. This curve shows that as technology advanced, the amount of time wasted by humanity in creating duplicate solutions was reduced linearly and that after the bend, the rate of reduction became exponential.

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