Sunday, November 04, 2012

Sunday Morning Insights: Thinking in Exponential Times

We are not accustomed to Moore's law it seems. Here is the latest example: a safe DKIM now requires 2048 bit keys. You have to look at this incident in a different way really. The current infrastructure of the internet is vulnerable because people whose job and livelihood depends on mastering it, cannot think that Moore's law is having an effect on their day-to-day operations. But there is more impressive in terms of thinking in exponential times. We know that sequencing costs are decreasing at a faster pace than Moore's law. 

This week came reports of a second person who, while not being an active genetics researcher, is also looking into exome sequencing to get to the bottom of a family members' disease. The first instance we heard of a similar undertaking was just a few month ago when Matt wrote about searching for his son's killer also using exome sequencing. If you recall the cost of exome sequencing then was about $4,000 to $5,000. Last year, 23andme had a program where you could get a peek at your exome for $999. And they are not using Nanopore technology ... yet. 

 Why am I writing all this ? There are indeed ample signs that these technologies are indeed maturing too fast with regards to our thought processes but the most important element to remind ourselves is that they change the playing field. What you once found through chance may be becoming a low hanging fruit with the use of simple explanatory modeling.

As Matt said, " And, there are certainly unknown unknowns beyond that."

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