Co.Design

Mark Zuckerberg Might Be Right About Moore's Law Of Sharing

Moore’s Law has predicted processing power relatively well. Could it do the same for social network sharing?

According to Moore’s Law, the number of transistors on integrated circuits will double every two(ish) years. This prognostication made in the '60s has actually served the industry quite well, allowing technologists to predict the exponential increase in computing power over the last several decades.

So could Moore’s Law work elsewhere, in spaces like social sharing? Mark Zuckerberg thinks so, as he proposed most recently in an interview with Wired:

Sharing is not just about status updates doubling every year. It’s made up of all these different trends. In the beginning, people shared by filling out basic information in their profiles. Then we made it so that people could update their status. Then came photos. Now people are sharing through apps like Spotify.

We talk about the Moore’s law of sharing, but we never meant that all this will happen on Facebook—it will happen in the world. Our challenge is to make that happen on Facebook. I draw an analogy to Intel. Moore’s law was great for them, because they could point at the world and say, “Okay, in 18 months, someone’s going to fit this many transistors on a circuit board—we’d better be the ones to do it or else someone is gonna eat our lunch!” I look at this the same way. Three years from now, people are going to be sharing eight to 10 times as much stuff. We’d better be there, because if we’re not, some other service will be.

So Zuckerberg sees the overshare, not just as a platform-specific phenomenon, but a societal phenomenon. He believes we’ll be sharing more “in the world” beyond Facebook. Assuming he’s right about the anthropology here, how could our technology allow sharing double, double, and double again?

Indeed, "Moore’s Law of sharing" is a topic that Zuckerberg has broached before, but it’s fascinating to consider the idea within the context of the last year of technology. One field could be the influence of wearables, the discrete devices like Fuelbands or Memotos. Through omnipresent sensor data, the information available for us to share could provide the sort of exponential growth needed to prove Zuckerberg’s prognostication correct. But with all that extra sharing would come a counterbalancing trend that would allow us to actually live our shared lives: Sharing would naturally become more passive in nature.

Such would be a fundamental shift in how we use platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. They’d evolve to be less editorialized, as decisions to share or not to share would be driven, not by our own taste, but by our customized algorithms. And a word of warning: My algorithm loves sharing photos of my cat and things I ate for dinner.

Read the interview here.

Kelly Rakowski/Co.Design (illustration)

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4 Comments

  • Simplequa

    Sharing has been dead for a long long while, what is happening via facebook and it's ream of similar malware is sadomasochistic narcissism. That has time and time proven to be a mental illness full of acknowledged errant stupidity and downright idiocy by both over excited charlatans and their promoting platforms. Facebook is a disease that will soon be cured,

  • Morgan

    "Moore's Law" is not that the number of transistors will double every two(ish) years due to technology. 

    Moore observed that there is a MARKET for about twice as much computation every two years, and that this has historically driven manufacturers to deliver twice as many transistors, twice as much memory, etc. every 18 months at the same price point due to economics.  Intel could ship 10x as many transistors tomorrow if consumers were willing to pay for it.The interesting question for Facebook is whether there is market for exponential sharing at a fixed price of $0 (well, zero privacy as well I guess).

  • Onetimeonly

    Maybe it'll go in reverse as we'll share half the data, because we need a break from everything digital. How about going for a nice walk outside with not a single electronic device on hand (or body).