`“Then we will talk this over, though rightfully it should be an equation. The first term is the speed at which a student can absorb already-discovered architectural knowledge. The second term is the speed at which a master can discover new knowledge. The third term represents the degree to which one must already be on the frontier of knowledge to make new discoveries; at zero, everyone discovers equally regardless of what they already know; at one, one must have mastered every previously-discovered fact before one can discover anything new. The fourth term represents potential for specialization; at one, it is impossible to understand any part without understanding the whole; at zero, it can be subdivided freely. The fifth…”`

`“The first student has no master, and must discover everything himself. He researches for 70 years, then writes his wisdom into a book before he dies. The second student reads the book, and in 7 years, he has learned 70 years of research. Then he does his own original research for 63 years and writes a book containing 133 years of research. The third student reads for 13.3 years, then does his own research for 66.7 years, ending up with 200 years. Imagine going further and further. After many generations, 690 years of research have been done, and it takes a student 69 years to master them. The student only has one year left of life to research further, leaving the world with 691 years of research total. So the cycle creeps onward, always approaching but never quite reaching 700 years of architectural research.”`

Even with people becoming experts at teaching and teaching teachers and writing textbooks, fields can get so far that people can only truly do a tiny amount of original work in them.

11/2017

- The reason the world hopefully won’t asymptote out is that you can keep creating new disciplines
## Related

- Specialists create knowledge within fields
- Stagnation and Scientific Incentives
- Forecasting S-Curves is hard
- How do you identify where a technology is on an S-Curve?
## Authors

- Scott Alexander
## Link

Ars Longa, Vita Brevis | Slate Star Codex