Exponential Learning

                                     The power of exponential Learning

In the book “The Second Machine Age” the authors talk about the Moore’s law and the power of the exponential function. While reading the fascinating article , I realised that similar thought process can be applied to understand the need of enhancing ones skills in this age of instant learning and philosophical tricks on how to do it .

Gordon Moore ( cofounder of Intel ) wrote in 1965 :- “The complexity for minimum component costs has increased at a rate of roughly a factor of two per year ” . The article was aptly named “Cramming more components onto Integrated circuits ” . Very interestingly this is not a law ( with a well defined formulae and corollaries ) but rather a salute to the possibilities of engineering and science and the ability to disrupt and innovate .

Similarly the need of minimum skill enhancements , to stay relevant in the fast world of evolving technologies and the generation of millennial and Digital natives , has increased multiple folds .
The need to have the ability to cram multiple skills ( and keep de-skilling and re-skilling ) in the integrated circuits of your mind is a state of affairs that would continue persistently for multiple decades .

The key to continue having a successful and impactful contribution to your career is to keep engaging in “Brilliant Tinkering – finding detours around your normal route of learning and avoiding the roadblocks thrown up by multiple reasons to stay in the state of inertia”

When it became difficult to cram integrated circuits more tightly together , chip makers instead layered them on top of one another , opening up a great deal of real estate . We also need to keep opening the real estate available ( in terms of time, learning ability , broadened horizon ) to us to stay relevant and alert.

Wave length Division Multiplexing ( WDM ) is the technique to transmit multiple beams of different wavelengths down the same glass fibre at the same time and performs much better than fibre optics cable .
One can argue similarly that having different wavelengths of speciality ( depth vs. Broad knowledge ) in multiple subjects travelling in the fibres of your mind is better than having only few beams running and under utilising the capabilities and the possibilities .

Constant evolution of skills is the steady drumbeat in the background of personal success . Our brains are well equipped to learn and outstrip our intuition about our own personal capabilities and limitations.
The brain learns at an exponential rate and the exponential learning leads to staggeringly big results – ones that further fuel the curve of exponential learnings .

The other challenge we face is that now Moore’ law also applies to the set of what’s there to be learnt . Recombinant technologies , open source innovations , better algorithms and API lead thought process along with the marvels of AI , machine learning , voice processing , distributed ledgers , digital gears – and in general everything is evolving faster than it was in the last decade.
All relevant and true examples of exponential improvement trajectories of Moore’s law.

One way of fast learning is to apply SLAM ( Simultaneous localisation and Mapping ) which is basically a very fascinating problem that AI researches are solving .


SLAM is the process of building up a map of an unfamiliar territory ( read skill in our case ) as you are navigating through it – where are the things that I need to be aware of and what can trip me over.
Applying SLAM at a Micro level to your career and the skills that you have acquired and need to acquire can be an interesting exercise . And then at a micro level while learning a skill to have a quick bit size learning experience.

Finally quoting Albert Bartlett – “The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function”

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