Azul's 2009 Modern Hardware Crash Course has a great point that the rate of growth in RAM speed is and has been less than that of computing speed. This disparity has existed long enough to make cache misses a very big problem.

Back in 2000, Charlie Rose interviewed Bill Joy and Bill made the comment that the rate of change in evolution is and has been much less than that of culture, and that culture's rate of change is and has been much less than that of technology. Our culture and its institutions simply can not react fast enough; we see this with financial technology and its regulation, deep-sea mining technology and its regulation, etc.1

Additionally, information is the sine qua non of culture; such that any Shared Culture can be seen as the product of meme-synching. This distributed information processing then makes it subject to the CAP Theorem. And given the decided lack of Consistency in culture, we will probably continue to increased levels of inconsistency on an inter-personal level and also on a global level. Even as we ramp up our message-passing....

Or is this analysis flawed?

1 Granted, incentive structures also pay a role. ;)

Point 1: Yes, but for consumer computing, up until about 1-2 years ago, disk was the real problem - most people were hitting virtual memory because RAM was so expensive. The speed that RAM has been improving is amazing next to the glacial decrease of platter based hard drive latency. If RAM is the new hard drive, hard drive is the new tape. Almost everything I know about modern computers I learned from the articles published at RealWorldTech - particularly the ones written by Paul DeMone. Point 2: Not sure what you mean by "our culture". More specifically, there are lots of cultures (within the US and without). Faster innovation may cause the ones that exist to fragment and/or spread away from each other, but I remain unconvinced that culture as a category can't deal with an increasing pace of innovation (if nothing else, we already know there is one solution: the Amish seem to be doing quite well). Increased environmental stress generally means that species get thinned from the biosphere - generally those who are insufficiently adaptive and can't evolve fast enough (the opposite of humans and Staph A., respectively). This thinning process doesn't mean that the biosphere will somehow stop functioning, just that a certain level of specialization pre-supposes a certain level of environmental stability. -- T