The technological advances that have happened so far are simply the opening act. New wonders are coming. The reason is that human knowledge is growing exponentially.
The baseline is the beginning of recorded history to 1895. Each doubling of human knowledge came exponentially faster.
- 1985 (100 years)
- 2004 (19 years)
- 2012 (8 years)
- 2015 (3 years)
- After that, the rate is expected to be measured in months.
Here are just a few of today’s technologies that are enabling the Next Economy:
- Software is “Eating the world”. This is online companies crowding out the old business models in most industries, just like iTunes obsoleted the record store. It is best described by tech visionary Marc Andreessen.
- 3D printing is past the phase of making plastic toys. Industrial printers are fabricating aircraft parts on demand for the Air Force. They are printing living tissues (specifically skin, liver tissue and breast cancer) for research purposes. The list extends to prosthetics, car parts, houses and the latest fashions.
- Asteroid mining – Visionary Peter Diamandis is spearheading the drive to exploit “out of this world” resources within a decade. The first spacecraft, a survey vehicle is slated for launch this year.
- Nanotechnology promises to allow us to create materials with only the properties we want.
- Block Chain-based currencies – The technology that enables cryptocurrencies.
- The internet of everything – Devices talking to each other and coordinating work. A simple example is a web site that sends instructions to your house’s thermostat to maintain different temperatures according to you cat’s lifestyle and the weather forecast.
This list shows only a few of the new technologies that currently exist. Technology has a history of creating new more jobs than it kills (obsoletes). In the Next Economy, constant re-training is vital.
Your purpose or a calling is more important than a single job in the Next Economy. Jobs will be assignments that implement elements of your calling. It is an exciting time for for creative Change Agents! Those that do not want to embrace change must make sure that their basic needs are met as criteria for “hunkering down”. Other effects:
- The institution of community is redesigning itself because of the connectivity provided by the continuing revolution in Information and Communications Technology (ICT). The physical community (one where all members are physically close together) is now one of several types of community. Communities are now defined by common interest more than just proximity.
- Collaboration is possible with people you have never met face-to-face. Millions of people are coming together to invent tools, models and ideas that will make the world better.
- Friendship is now possible with people you have not even met face-to-face! This creates all sorts of opportunities and risks. I have ties with several people on the other side of the World that I have never met in person. We work together and have mutual respect and trust. A new definition for achievement is probably next.
My deepest knowledge is in the area of ICT. There are several other fields experiencing exponential growth. Some of them are nanotechnology, biotech, Artificial Intelligence and robotics.
The key is balancing the technology with humanity. Tech for the sake of tech is a hobby at best. Embracing technology for the purpose of building a better world is critical to the sustainable lifstyle that is a central promise of the Next Economy.