Signs and Wonders

By skepticlawyer

Some of the data they’ve collated (mainly about the growth of the internet) is a trifle tendentious, but on the whole this is a moving disquisition on Clarke’s Third Law: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.


  1. Jacques Chester
    Posted August 20, 2009 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Some remarks.

    1. Very nifty.

    2. Data generated does not equal data stored. They’ve confused the two. The Romans could have ‘generated’ exabytes of data if their legions had camera phones. As it is, they generally stored a lot of data in written form.

    3. Knowledge has a half-life. A four year degree should focus on stuff that lasts longer than four years. I haven’t noticed my discrete maths, algorithmic analysis, data structures, relational algebra etc going stale.

    4. How are they measuring the doubling of technical knowledge, anyhow? If it’s through journal articles, then there’s no real doubling happening. It’s just publish-or-perish economics. By that logic Zimbabwe is the fastest growing economy in the world.

    5. How much computational power a human brain represents is extremely controversial. As it is the fastest supercomputers struggle to represent a fraction of a rat brain. However, if Moore’s Law holds, we’ll get to full-brain simulation eventually. It just depends on how complex the brain really is. We’re unsure.

    6. You ain’t seen nothing yet.

  2. Posted August 20, 2009 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    I suppose it all gets back to what information turns out to be useful… and yeah, I don’t think science courses will be dropping calculus for a long time yet…

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