Two new books explore the impact of accelerating technology

 Two new books explore the impact of accelerating technology

The Exponential Age. By Azeem Azhar. Diversion Books; 352 pages; $28.99. Published in Britain as “Exponential”; Random House Business; £20

Human Frontiers. By Michael Bhaskar. MIT Press; 432 pages; $29.95. Bridge Street Press; £20

Masters of Scale. By Reid Hoffman with June Cohen and Deron Triff. Currency; 304 pages; $28. Bantam Press; £20

HISTORIANS OF SCIENCE distinguish between useful discoveries, such as dental floss, and “general-purpose technologies” that can be applied to numerous purposes—such as electricity, which powers everything from factories to streetlights to televisions. These transformative inventions, and the gadgets they spawned, were developed at a swift, industrial pace in the 19th and 20th centuries. Now, though, a new phase of progress is under way: many technologies are not following linear growth rates but exponential ones. This does more than speed up innovation. It poses drastic…

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