Discussion #7: The Exponential Age: How Accelerating Technology Is Transforming Business, Politics, and Society, by Azeem Azhar

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Introduction to the Exponential Age

Few forces move today's world as conspicuously as rapid technological progress. Most acknowledge this phenomenon, yet the public discourse around its interactions with society demonstrates less consensus. Contested topics include the regulation of speech on social media platforms, the implementation of advanced medical treatments in the fight against COVID-19, anti-trust enforcement against "Big Tech" market leaders and the status of "gig economy" workers, to name a few. In The Exponential Age, released earlier this month, entrepreneur and commentator Azeem Azhar presents a framework for approaching these issues. He has founded four tech companies, invested in thirty startups and continues to contribute to the tech ecosystem by investing, working with institutions that study the space and writing a widely read newsletter called Exponential View.

Azhar contends that we're living through an unprecedented period of accelerating technological growth not wholly comparable to the Industrial Revolution or the premature promise of the 1990's dot-com bubble. Instead, he asserts that between 2013 and 2017, we entered a period he refers to as the "Exponential Age". The Exponential Age is characterized by technology being developed and scaled ever more quickly and cheaply – for example, the cost of sequencing a…
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