“Are you ready for the inconceivable to become conceivable?” – Futurist Jim Carroll
It’s difficult to comprehend the speed of change when things are exponentiating; it’s a challenge to grasp the impact of the era of acceleration when we are accelerating.
Exponential change is all around us. We are at the edge of the era of being able to grow human body parts for replacement in our bodies. Genomic medicine and pharmacogenetics take us to a world in which we can treat many forms of disease and illness before they occur. Molecular cancer diagnostics will help us identify many cancers at an early stage before they have a chance to progress. Batteries are the future of everything as carbon becomes a sunset industry. Autonomy is taking hold with self-driving trucks, tractors and combines. Robotics is accelerating leading to massive rates of change in factories. Digital twin technology is letting us create entire virtual replicas that can guide us through surgeries, construction, and logistics. AI is leading to an absolute explosion in new knowledge, discoveries, and skills. New materials science is leading to the absolute possibility of new materials that are lighter than air. Old industries are disappearing and new ones are emerging.
All of this is happening because of the speed of exponential change. What’s that? It’s best told through this long heralded parable:
According to the legend, the tradition of serving Paal Payasam to visiting pilgrims started after a game of chess between the local king and Lord Krishna himself.
A big chess enthusiast, the king had the habit of challenging wise visitors to a game of chess. On one particular occasion, a traveling sage was challenged by the king. The king offered any reward that the sage could name to motivate his opponent. The sage humbly asked for a few grains of rice in the following manner: the king was to put a single grain of rice on the first chess square and double it on every consequent one.
The king lost the game but being a man of his word ordered a bag of rice to be brought to the chess board. As per the request, he started placing rice grains according to the arrangement: 1 grain on the first square, 2 on the second, 4 on the third, 8 on the fourth and so on:
The king was quick to realize the arrangement as on the twentieth square, the king would have had to put 1,000,000 grains of rice. Following the same logic, on the fortieth square, the king would have had to put 1,000,000,000 grains of rice. Accordingly, the king would have had to put more than 18,000,000,000,000,000,000 grains of rice on the sixty-fourth square which is equivalent to about 210 billion tons. And the amount is sufficient to cover the whole territory of India with a meter thick layer of rice.
Consider that concept in the era of exponential change. That’s where we are now as technologies, AI, material science, DNA-based medicine, 3d printing and other trends all come together all at once. I caught the essence of this reality a few years back in this clip, “Disrutovie Trends in the Era of Acceleration.”
When I was on stage for the World Government Summit in Dubai, I covered the fact that the speed of change is staggering – and that we are in an era of exponential change. With that being the case, we won’t succeed based on what we did in the past, but we will succeed based on our ability to align to speed. It’s our ability to ingest fast-paced trends that define our success.
You thought the future was far away – but it’s not!
What’s your plan to realign to speed?