Cases of Discontinuous Technological Progress

We know of ten events which produced a robust discontinuity in progress equivalent to more than one hundred years at previous rates in some interesting metric. We know of 53 other events which produced smaller or less robust discontinuities.


These cases were researched as part of our discontinuous progress investigation.

List of cases

Events causing large, robust discontinuities

Events causing moderate, robust discontinuities

Non-robust discontinuities

This spreadsheet details all discontinuities found, as of April 2020.

  1. This was the first of various altitude records where the object continues to gain distance from Earth’s surface continuously over a long period. One could choose to treat these in different ways, and get different size of discontinuity numbers. Strictly, all altitude increases are continuous, so we are anyway implicitly looking at something like discontinuities in heights reached within some period. We somewhat arbitrarily chose to measure altitudes roughly every year, including one day in for the pellets, the only one where the very start mattered.