My Top 10 Disruptive Technologies of the next decade
I love science and technology, it’s my passion and I’d like to share with you my thoughts on those technologies that I believe are going to contribute to a fundamental shift in how we interact with each other and our world over the next 10 years.
1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
This is top of my list because for me it has the potential to have the most significant impact to our lives in so many different ways. It will impact everything that we do from the cars that drive us places to the way we interact with our computers, our home and each other. The big boys of the tech industry, Google, Facebook and IBMhave realised the importance of AI and are investing heavily – expect to see the fruition of this investment within the next 7-10 years. Oh and invest now if you want even 1/2 a chance of being in on the game!
2. Wearable Technology
This revolution is already happening and new technological advances in materials science will help to fuel its development even further. Technology will get smarter, smaller and will become more integrated with our clothing and our bodies. From internal and external cameras, visual enhancements, exoskeleton extensions and always on data feeds, wearable technology will become the ‘norm’. This technology will also collect vast amounts of personal data, perfect for all those marketing companies!
3. Fusion Power
This is nothing new and is already the subject of significant global funding by the key governments of the world. It’s also kind of fundamental that we find an alternative to fossil fuels! All this great technology that we talk of comes at a price; it needs a power source, and a clean one at that. Fusion power promises to revolutionise the power industry and hopefully the gadget industry too. Expect to see experimental mini fusion power fuels cells designed for your laptop by the end of the next decade.
4. Space Exploration
This is simply an inevitability. The human race must explore and conquer space if it is to survive and by this I mean if we are to avoid total extinction. We also need to do it to feed our hunger for the raw materials, think rare earth metals, needed for our gadgets. All that new technology needs metals and other minerals and the supply on earth is finite. A few very visionary individuals get this need to conquer space. Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Larry Page, Eric Schmidt and James Cameron are among those that ‘get-it’.
5. 3D Printing
It’s not by chance that most of the successful Kickstarter campaigns are for the various types of 3D printers. This technology is already starting to become revolutionary and within the next 10 years I predict that 3D printers will be in every home! Just ask NASA and Elon Musk what they are using 3D printers for! Whilst most home 3D printers are being used for a range of plastic figures and artistic ventures it’s going to be the laser based metal and composite 3D printers that will really make an impact. Everything from spare parts, replacement bones and rocket engines will be printed. Question is, what will this do to the manufacturing industry? …it will have to adapt and it will need to embrace 3D printing itself. Expect huge automated factories of 3D printers churning all manner of items!
6. Bio Engineering
Ok, so this is a big topic already but because of the ethical debate that surrounds it most of us are not really fully aware of what the next 10 years holds. Without a doubt bio engineering technology will have developed to the extent that you will have the option to decide what key attributes your baby will have. Think eye colour, hair type and colour, removal of known hereditary disease, enhanced heart, strength and stamina. With the advancement of stem cell technology and genetics it is also high likely that we will see the emergence of gene therapy. That is the ability to change or repair ourselves through the introduction of new modified genes into our bodies, which will replicate and replace the existing gene pool.
7. Global Digital Currency
Yes we already have Bitcoin and other derivatives of digital currencies today but within the next 10 years it will be mainstream on a global basis. Traditional regional currencies will give way to a new global digital currency and finally a McDonalds and Coke will be the same price wherever you buy it on the planet! Oh and if you have some spare cash to invest then simply invest in Bitcoins today! Yes, the value of this new currency whilst somewhat volatile today will continue to increase in value over the next 10 years. A much better investment than your pension fund!
I remember when I was young watching Tomorrows World on the TV and being promised a future home full of robots. It didn’t happen but it will if Google, Dysonand others have anything to do with it! Google has invested heavily in robotics companies over the last 12 months and when combined with the advancement of numbers 1 and 3 above – Artificial Intelligence & Fusion Power, then we have the right ingredients for some clever robots. So expect to see more robots in space, more robots in supermarkets, robots fixing your car and robots in the battlefield. Do not expect a robot that can do the ironing though, I think you will have to wait at least 20 years for that unfortunately!
9. Quantum Computing
Silicon based computers are so, 20th century! The future is in quantum computing! Think Schrodinger’s Cat and you can start to realise that a quantum computer will know all the possible answers to a question without even having to think. It will also transform encryption technology, which will be a great help in achieving number 5 above, Personal Digital Security. At the same time it will also render all current encryption technology obsolete and extremely vulnerable overnight. I highly recommend a good off site, disconnected (isolated from the net) storage facility for all of your important data or transaction histories. Let’s also hope that the eminent hackers of the world don’t learn to master quantum computers before the rest of us or our little silicon based computing lives will potentially come to a messy ending.
10 Virtual Reality
Do you remember the promise of Virtual Reality almost 20 years ago when the film ‘The Lawn Mower Man‘ was out at the cinema? I clearly do and it’s part of my classic DVD collection! Anyway, the dream never became a reality, mostly because of the fact that the quality did not live up to expectations and the fact that most early systems made the user physically sick! The future of virtual reality is about to explode in our faces, almost literally, over the next 12- 24 months and it will get progressively better and more immersive over the next 10 years. Facebook has invested heavily in the promising start-up that is Oculus Rift and other players are taking note too. A raft of independent companies and the likes of Sony all have prototypes in the offering. Oculus rift is without a doubt the trail blazer and if executed correctly by Facebook it won’t be long before all of our social interaction will be in the form of virtual avatars in the massively online multiplayer universe of Facebook. Very scary!
The list could go on but this post is already too long, so I will save the next 5 for another day. Let me know if you think I have missed any obvious ones like the internet of things, the wireless world of power, home automation etc!