Field Note #10. On "Amara's Law + Exponential"

Source: Venkatesh Rao, Breaking Smart (2018)

  • Amara’s Law: cognitive biases (viz. hyperbolic discounting) cause us to overestimate technology's effects in the short term while underestimating them in the long term
  • Prometheanism (hacking, pragmatics, tinkering) vs. Pastoralism (credentialism mindset, linearity, nostalgia of an age that will never return)
  • Rough Consensus in software dev: seek razor sharp clarity in immediate next steps & embrace ambiguity in long term outcomes.  This posture counteracts Amara’s Law because the focus on next steps hedges the tendency to overestimate the short term, while the ambiguity in long range vision keeps leveraged serendipity open ended
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