Mike Gillam, 27 April 2015
At the foundation of Peter’s premise is the observation that our minds are very good at linear thinking and very poor at exponential thinking. As an example, take 30 steps linearly – and most people can guess you will be across the room. Take 30 steps exponentially, each step doubling the distance of the step before, and most people have trouble guessing that takes you 10 times around the earth.
What is most remarkable about exponential trends is how long the “stasis” period is where it appears nothing is happening and how fast the “detonation” occurs at the end. For example, imagine sitting in a baseball stadium filling with one drop of water every second and doubling with every drop. How long would it be until you drown? Many people have trouble guessing that the water would barely cover the pitch at 45 minutes. Most people also miss guessing that they would drown just 4 minutes after that.