Update on 21st Century Technologies.
There are ten 21st Century Technologies developing that will impact business, some in the near future, and others farther out from the present. These ten technologies will develop in a two-stage manner, first in a linear fashion and second in an exponential manner. To understand that two-stage development, consider Uber. It was an idea in 2008, it moved to Stage 1, the linear stage from 2009 to 2010. In 2011, it moved to Stage 2, the exponential stage by which, in very few years, it developed nationally and then internationally to become the largest people transportation system in the world today.
How could that happen? Powerful computer support provided the pathway. Without digital support, Uber would have remained an idea, which most likely would never have seen the light of day. The taxi industry was caught off-guard by Uber. Existing businesses do not want to be treated similarly. Consequently, it is critically important that the business, health, and educational communities be well-informed as to the development of technologies that could impact them and learn how to use them rather than being used by them.
The Ten 21st Century Technologies
What are those ten technologies? Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Vehicles, Bitcoin/Blockchain, Human Genome, Agricultural Genome, Internet of Things, 3D Printing, Personal Robots, Nanotechnology and Quantum Computing.
Where are they in their development stage today? All still in Stage 1, linear development. When will they move to Stage 2? The good news that they will not all move together. Rather they will move individually, creating serial disruptions as they hit the exponential stage. This post will set a baseline for the technologies and future posts will attempt to keep up with Stage 1, linear development, with predictions as to when they can be expected to reach Stage 2, the exponential stage.
This post will begin with the technologies most developed in the linear stage such as 3D Printing, The Internet of Things, and Autonomous Vehicles. Next, those a bit less developed like Human Genome, Agricultural Genome, Personal Robots and Bitcoin/Blockchain. Finally, we will address the three big elephants in the room Artificial Technology, Nanotechnology and Quantum Computing.
3D Printing is alive and well. At the moment it is seen in cutesy objects, but there is considerable work being done with business and industry with the making of prototypes and short-run products. Further, Additive Manufacturing of houses and other facilities is beginning in the United States, European countries and China. Entire homes are being constructed in much less time, for much less cost and greatly increased strength. Mexico is currently starting entire subdivisions of additive manufactured homes.
Internet of Things
This technology is with us today in many different ways. Not a whole lot is being said about it; it is just developing mostly behind the scenes with little media attention.
Today almost all major car manufacturers are developing autonomous automobiles. As soon as federal regulations are created and insurance questions are approved, which most likely will happen in this decade, autonomous cars will be operating on the highways.
The ability, to move genes from one place to another, delete genes, and insert them into the human body, exists today. It has the potential to move ahead rapidly and most likely will become a widely distributed possibility in the 2020s.
Genome development in plants and animals is already being tried. It could easily surpass the speed of human genome development in this decade.
Today a robotic vacuum cleaner can clean floors and Alexa can control lighting, temperature, and security in the home as well as answer questions on the spot. Within the decade, robots that look and talk like humans will be available at local retail establishments or online.
This technology exists and is being used to some extent. However, there are still security issues that plague it. Those problems will most likely be solved during the current decade, which will allow this technology will move exponentially.
At the moment, Artificial Intelligence is still considered “narrow,” that is to say, it can basically do one thing. It can win at a chess game, beat the two best players in Jeopardy, recommend books that might interest you and the like. Do not be calmed by that. With Quantum Computing developed by Google and IBM, moving toward expanded AI is just down the road. Futurist Ray Kurtzweil predicts that computer power for an Artificial General Intelligence, one that can think like a human in all aspects, could be in existence by 2030.
Nanotechnology has been on the scene for decades, but it is developing very slowly mainly because of the extremely cold conditions, close to absolute zero, that it needs for development. Nanotechnology has immense possibilities to create most anything from the atom level. However, substantial development is probably decades in the future.
Google announced in September 2019 that it invented the first quantum computer. The potential for computing done at the atom level is phenomenally fast. It makes classical computers, developing at the speed of Moore’s Law, look like they are moving in reverse. Give quantum computing just a few years of further improvement and it will be hailed by business, industry and education as a game-changer.
That is where we are today. Check back next week to see what is happening in the technology world.