The variable on the vertical axis -- calculations per second per $1,000 -- is a clever one (assuming they've adjusted for inflation). It's not totally obvious to me that the data points create a curve. It could easily be a line, but the editors clearly wanted to project a curve. Regardless, it appears that computing power is increasing exponentially, and we will soon approach The Singularity, whatever the hell that is.
I'm often surprised just how bad our forecasts for technology are. I recently watched "Back to the Future II," where Marty visits the distant future of October 2015. It's pretty funny, really. It was a world of flying cars and hoverboards, but no cell phones or Internet, as far as we could see. At one point, Marty Jr. actually walks past a payphone! So I don't know whether the next fifty years will give rise to a Singularity or Skynet or what, but as long as I can someday run probit on my smartphone, I'll be happy.
Good thoughts on forecasting the future from Patton Oswalt:
|DVD - Exclusive Patton Oswalt - The Year 2009|