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Futurology - The Pace of Technological Change

The pace of technological change is exponential.

There are three ’laws’ of technology that are exhibiting exponential growth – that is, they are doubling in size every 18 to 24 months and have done for decades. The first and most widely cited law is Moore’s Law. This law states that a processor doubles in capacity every two years and has been true since 1970.

The second is Koomey’s Law where, at a fixed computing load, the amount of battery you need will fall by a factor of two every 18 months – this has been largely true since 1945.

The third is Kryder’s Law, where the amount of data storable in a given space will double every two years. Conversely, the same amount of storage space will halve in price every two years – this has been true since 1990.


Another important concept regarding technological change is recombinant innovation – more people looking at more data, more problems, more solutions. More people filtering and improving through innovation. Regardless of the three Laws – technology keeps improving.

For commercial real estate, the vast advance of technology means:

  • Property built today with a lifespan of 50 years will face technology 30 million times more powerful than today

And for those that inhabit these spaces:

  • An 11 year old will see a 64 fold increase in computing power by the time they finish high school
  • An executive moving from graduation to management over 20 years will face technology 500,000 times more powerful than the day they started work

Whilst much of what we read on technology is designed to make us fearful there is so much to be optimistic about including the prospects of a cost of living near zero, abundant part-time work, the opportunity to constantly upgrade and adapt, access to global markets, output driven (not time or piece driven) and the ultimate flexibility (freedom) to work anywhere, anytime.

To learn what’s next in the rapid world of technology, contact Tony Crabb, National Director, Research.

Read more of Cushman & Wakefield’s Futurology series, click here.