Jolting Technologies

There is a paradigm shift moving from accelerating technological change to jolting technological change.

What is a jolt? The jolt is the measure of the rate of change of acceleration.

Imagine a rocket. The engines are at full power, and the rocket brings on board both its propellant and its oxidant. As they chemically combine and the rocket expels them to achieve its thrust, its mass will diminish and the diminishing mass will lead to an increasing acceleration during the ascent.

There are technologies today that are not only merely accelerating at an exponential rate. Their acceleration is increasing, they are superexponential, they are jolting.

We have to get ready for their world changing power!

Technology creates change. This accumulates slowly at the beginning, almost imperceptibly. It appears easiest to think it is just linear change. The rate technological change is changing: these are accelerating technologies. When the accumulating change goes beyond a threshold, suddenly it becomes undeniable, disruptive, overwhelming. Accelerating technological change is what Singularity University analyzes and shares in its conferences, and courses.

The mathematical formula for accelerating change is an exponential function. For example 2^x. Exponentials are often represented graphically on a logarithmic chart, where they show up as a line.It is possible to prepare for the disruptions of exponential technologies, to become an exponential organization. This is what ExO Works does for its clients, with the global consulting community of OpenExo.

Jolting technologies are those where the rate of technology acceleration is increasing. As the generations of technologies develop faster, deployment is faster and more comprehensive, network effects stronger. But they can incubate undetected for a long time and then burst forth very rapidly.The mathematical formula for jolting technologies is superexponential. For example 2^2^x. The graphical representation of a super exponential on a logarithmic chart will show an exponential curve, where the exponential curve will be represented by a line, and a linear function as a logarithm. For every given unit of time, the jolting value will increase an increasing amount.

We are barely starting to be prepared to cope with exponential technologies. We are completely unprepared to face jolting technologies.

The statistical interpolation of data points hide local variations in every model, including jolting technologies. The deviations from the model in jolting technologies can be super exponential as well. If you hated the stock market flash crash, wait until the world is dominated by jolting technologies.

We must rapidly develop a series of methodologies to cope with the consequences of jolting technologies changing our society and redefining our world. Our image of the world can rapidly become out of sync with reality. Are you sure you know how the life in thriving cities of Nigeria, China, or India is going to be in ten years, if you live in Europe or North America and don’t travel and don’t read?

There are many examples of this in computation, communication, cognition, transportation, biology, and elsewhere.

Example 1: The simplest example is the increasing acceleration of a rocket with engine at full power, and diminishing mass as it consumes its fuel during ascent. F=ma, at a constant force with a diminishing mass the acceleration will increase.

Example 2: An other simple example is when you realize you need to brake harder to stop in time before you hit the car in front of you, and your deceleration increases.

Super exponentially decreasing cost of gene sequencing

Example 3: The cost of DNA sequencing is decreasing at a super exponential rate. (Except for recent market gauging close to patent expiration). Full human genome at $3B in 2000, about $1K now.

Evolution of quantum computing chips

Example 4: Quantum computers are improving at a jolting rate: their chips follow a variant of Moore’s Law, and their output is an exponential function of the increase of their components, the qubits.

Image of a human face generated by AI

Example 5: AIs designing AIs, neural networks improving neural networks are a jolting technology that is going to disrupt how we think about cognitive tasks. See Generative Adversarial Networks.

How will jolting technologies impact established industries? They will be more surprising, more unbelievable, more disruptive, harder to prepare for and to cope with than the changes we’ve seen with exponential technologies. Here are a few forecasts on my side. Let’s look back at them in a few years.

Forecast 1: 5G mobile networks together with LEO satellite swarms will have a jolting effect on communications availability on a worldwide basis.

Forecast 2: Self driving electric cars will have a jolting effect on the transportation industry. Most car companies of today will not survive, with the exception of Tesla and one or two others

An increasing rate of jolt is the jounce. I fully expect jouncing technologies in a postsingularitarian world.

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