A Grumpy Computer Scientist
1 min readDec 20, 2021


"we are living through exponential growth in technology"

Common misconception.

We are absolutely not. First of all talking about growth in technology makes no sense. Which technology?

Secondly, you would be hardly pressed to find one technology that is exponential. Generally growth in tech follows the logistic function, which looks very similar to an exponential for a while, but then starts to be bound by some limiting factor, it flexes, appears to be linear for some time, but then it flexes more, and starts to look like a logarithmic, and enter a phase of diminishing returns, until eventually it basically flattens.

This is normal and intuitive if you think logically. Resources aren't limitless: there is always some bounding factor that slows down the growth and - over time - becomes predominant. Whether is the physical limit to the density of transistors on a microchip, the size of available datasets, the energy to train a deep neural network, or the total number of people with a smartphone.

I spend an entire lecture twice a year talking about this.. I assure you that no respectable scientist believes in perennial exponential growth of any technology.

Who peddles this utter nonsense, you ask? Why, it's none other than the usual toxic techno-optimists, the entrepreneurs in need of fanboys to make them rich, and the charlatans who need to sell books!

Unfortunately these groups are very visible and very vocal, and most people believe everything that shady types like Elon "let them eat rockets" Musk spout.....

Just as an example, have a look at this:




A Grumpy Computer Scientist

UK-based AI professor interested in AI, mind, science, rationality, digital culture and innovation. Hobbies: incessantly fighting nonsense.