re:knowledge doubling

Jeff Davis (
Thu, 02 Sep 1999 00:24:57 -0700

Some parameters to quantify the rate of acquisition of knowledge:

  1. Total "person-hours" spent in scientific research. You get this from the absolute population times the percentage employed in research times the number of hours they work.
  2. The above must be multiplied by an efficiency factor which reflects the ever-increasing trend in the per-hour amount of knowledge they can generate as a consequence of the increased effectiveness of the tools they use: scientific equipment, computers, communication tools (for getting for oneself, and giving to collegues, information relevant your mutual field of study).

Some interesting factors to consider:

Technology enhances productivity, which supports both larger absolute populations as well as a larger percentage of "knowledge workers", ie scientists, as a fraction of the total population. Using technology requires people trained in technology, which spawns an ever-increasing knowledge distribution infrastructure, which is itself seminal to knowledge generation. Competition in technology, for economic advantage as in the current cultural model, makes generating new knowledge an economic survival imperative--it is "self-forcing".

There may be other factors, but these above all seem like they would sort of more-than-linearly boost each other's separate tendency to amplify the rate of knowledge increase.

Best, Jeff Davis

	   "Everything's hard till you know how to do it."
					Ray Charles