We’ve all seen the meme. Two images, side by side. On the left, a photo of Jeff Bezos circa 1998. His hair is receding, his smile geeky, his sweater bulky and brown. The caption? “I sell books.” Then, on the right, there’s Jeff in 2017. His pate is as smooth as Lex Luther’s, his biceps as bulbous as Vin Diesel’s, a satisfied look on his sunglassed face. "I sell whatever the f**k I want,“ reads the caption.
That meme is a pretty good metaphor for the era of radical change through which we are living, an era Azeem Azhar calls "the exponential age." Breakneck advances in technology allowed a humble bookseller to become chieftain of the world’s largest online retailer. And don’t expect those technological advances to slow down anytime soon. In the next few decades, new developments in everything from AI and 3D printing to synthetic biology and gene-editing won’t just change the way we live: they’ll allow already monolithic companies to keep growing at an unprecedented pace while our elected leaders scramble to keep up.
The gap between rapidly advancing technology and our slow-moving society is the subject of Azeem’s marvelous new book, “The Exponential Age: How Accelerating Technology is Transforming Business, Politics and Society.” Recently named one of the best books of the year by the Financial Times, it’s at once a rousing survey of the new technologies that may change the way we live and, at the same time, a pointed reminder that those transformations will have profound political, economic, and social consequences.
Check out Azeem's newsletter: https://www.exponentialview.co/
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