Innovative technology overcomes human limits

Author: Andrew McAfee, James Kirk (

Categories: Blowing Industries Apart, Employees, Features, Innovation, Research, Technology
Tags: Andrew McAfee, computer revolution, industrial revolution, the geek approach
Innovative technology has overcome the limits of our muscles and now it is overcoming the limits of our minds. In this TV show Andrew McAfee graphs the revolutions through human history.

Innovative technology is a "huge deal for humanity"

Well if you take a geek approach to human history you start to graph it, because geeks love numbers, they love quantifying things. So a geeky approach to human history would be one where you start graphing over a time things like how many people there are, total population, or some metric about how advanced our civilisations are. Now it turns out people have come up with those, so you can graph those numbers as well. Those two curves look exactly the same, either the population curve or the social development curve, what’s really weird about them is that they are totally flat throughout almost all of human history and then at one point in time they bend almost 90 degrees and they go from basically horizontal to basically vertical and that point in time was the industrial revolution. So in other words all the other revolutions that we’ve had, revolutions and philosophy in religion and how we approach the world, the opening up of the world via trade, lots of things have happened over the course of history. If you take this kind of geeky approach to graphing the course of humanity you come to the conclusion none of those things have mattered very much and what did matter was overcoming the limitations of our muscles, of muscle power, via the industrial revolution. What we’re doing now with the computer revolution is overcoming the limitations of our individual minds or our brains, to at least the same extent as we overcame the limitations of our muscles with the industrial revolution. So if the simple question is how could this not be a huge, huge deal for humanity. Inside Finance TV has further expert discussion about innovative technology - Look out for more from Andrew McAfee
Related videos