Friday, November 1, 2013

21st Century Foundational Technologies

Every Economic Age is built on a collection of foundational technologies. It stands to reason, if we can identify the foundational technologies of the 21st Century, we can define the scope and nature of the changes to come.

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First and most obvious is the internet. This foundational technology was born near the middle of the 20th Century but it didn't really become commonly useful until 1992 with the advent of the World Wide Web. The technology we know as web pages made the internet accessible to the less technically oriented. By 1999, we entered into the era of Web 2.0 where anyone with an internet connection could suddenly post content to the internet without technical knowledge. This foundational technology has magnified our ability to share information. Whereas in 1820 it took 14 years for André-Marie Ampère to learn of the German experiment that inspired him to describe the measure of electrical current, today such knowledge is available almost instantaneously.

Another foundational technology will be 3d printing. Invented in 1984, the first 3d printers were used for rapid prototyping. Since then the technology has continued to blossom and grow as new designs and solutions are shared by a growing community of Makers. Inspired by the brilliant works they see every week on Discovery Channel's Mythbusters, regular people with passion have taught themselves and others how to build the devices and gear they need. These engineer/hackers are the driving force behind this foundational technology that will rewrite the rules for industry, warehousing and shipping. Imagine a world where anything you need can be manufactured either in your home or at a neighborhood facility that can deliver it to you within hours.

But there will be more. Artificial intelligence and robotics will give us the world envisioned by Isaac Asimov. Nanomaterials will piggy back on 3d printing and give birth to Star Trek-like replicator technologies that will eliminate the problems of scarcity. New developments in graphene materials will create super long lasting batteries that also function as the lightweight exteriors of our devices. Ubiquitous computing and the Internet of Things will cover the world with a blanket of data available for any number of inquiries. Medical and genetic technologies will ultimately turn our bodies into tinker toys that we can adjust and modify for life or just for the weekend. Humanity will merge with their machines and being to march towards eliminating the death of individual consciousness.

Over the next 20 years, the rules of humanity will be completely rewritten. How we work, live and play, how our societies function and even how our cultures act will all change. For some this is a terrifying prospect because it will bring terrible upheaval to our current economic status quo. Old industries will fall and new industries will be born in the undeniable cycle of creative destruction. Rest assured that new paradigms will prevail and stability will return once we learn to let go of the dying past and to face the winds of change, not with walls, but with windmills.

If you want to learn how your business can harness the winds of change, call R-Squared Computing for your free consultation. You can't afford to wait much longer. Call today (305) 423-9574.

R-Squared Computing | Lou RG | Nearly Free IT | Firm Wisdom

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