Emerging Technologies With Near Term Impact

Given the overwhelming number of science and technology building blocks available and emerging, keeping pace is a monumental task. Harder still is identifying those that have near-term impact. A recent article by Kevin Dickinson identifies ten emerging technologies projected to impact us in the short term – many of which were accelerated by COVID-19. Here is a quick look at the list.

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Revisiting Next Generation Automation

Back in 2014, the thought of advancements in automation was picking up steam. I wrote about a Next Generation Automation and focused on five primary drivers of advanced automation: the automation of knowledge work, advanced robotics, autonomous vehicles, the Internet of Things, and the mobile Internet. A McKinsey report from that period sized five disruptive technologies that could have an economic impact between $14 and $30 trillion. How much have we accomplished exactly seven years since that Blog post was written?

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Edge Computing And The Need To Sense And Respond

Back in 2013, I wrote about the critical need to Sense and Respond in a climate of uncertainty, interdependency, complexity, and velocity. In that post, I said this:

As our world experiences continued Acceleration and the amount of data flowing through company ecosystems expands, the need to sense stimuli and enable a real time response intensifies. Fortunately, rapid advancements in the price and performance of technology make realizing this sense and respond paradigm achievable and economical for a wide range of use cases – but this is arguably one of the most difficult components of transformation road maps.

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Can Technology Address The Racism Problem?

I recently received a note from one of my readers regarding racism. As someone who has leveraged my anchor visual, he recognized racism as a societal issue in the middle of it. As depicted, societal issues create tension that drives the progression of two curves: the science and technology foundation, and the future scenarios spawned by convergence across the visual. This tension happens in both directions, as the curves also impact the path of society. This individual explored one of those tensions, namely, the use of technology to address systemic racism.  In his words: “I find the problem to be one of the most difficult to solve through just laws and politics. I really think that technology can help.”

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Oregon futurist Predicts More change in next 10 years than the last 40

In a recent Post I said that this decade is likely to be remembered as the launching pad to a very different future. Seems Oregon Futurist Steve Brown agrees with me. Mr. Brown sees a whole lot of change by 2030.  And he makes a bold prediction: “My expectation is that we’re going to see more change in the workplace and more change in our lives in the next ten years than in the last forty. It’s a bold statement to make, but I think it’s accurate,” said Brown. This recent Article describes each of the areas that he believes drives this change. Here is a summary:

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Intersections Promise to Drive Multiple Paradigm Shifts

Since the time I completed this post on Disruptive Power and Intersections, it continues to receive attention. It is by far the most effective component of any Future Thinking effort. Given the continued traffic to this two year old post, I am updating with current content. By way of reminder, the anchor emerging futures visual is available via this PDF. An expansion of the science and technology foundation is visualized via this PDF. The visual below connects the intersections of 8 combinatorial scenarios. This is not an exhaustive set of connections; it is strictly intended to describe the scenarios at a high level. This visual can be downloaded via this PDF.disruptive-power

Figure 1: Intersections amplify both power and impact

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Artificial Intelligence Intersects With the Internet of Things

In his ninth post in the series, Marshall Kirkpatrick focuses on the intersection between artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things. By way of reminder, Marshall launched a 30 day series that explores the intersection between AI and the various innovation components on my emerging futures visual.

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Artificial Intelligence Intersects with Fintech

In his third post in the series, Marshall Kirkpatrick focuses on the intersection between artificial intelligence and Fintech. By way of reminder, Marshall launched a 30 day series that explores the intersection between AI and various future scenarios anchored by my emerging futures visual.

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Internet of Things: Economic Benefit and Challenges Lie Ahead

On June 15th, I participated in an Internet of Things Webcast with CA Technologies. A replay of the event can be found here.  The abstract for the session read as follows.


In just a few short years, we’ve moved from being a web-economy to an application economy. One of the underlying reasons are thousands of new Internet of Things (IoT) applications, from manufacturing sensors to medical devices, automobiles to homes. Industry experts predict IoT has the potential for an economic benefit of up to $6.2 trillion by 2025. Are you ready to address the fast-approaching era of hyper-connectivity and voluminous data with your business networks? Do you have a strategy to turn your IoT into sustainable growth opportunities? Do you have the visibility to ensure your network can support these new applications and the flood of data that comes with them?

Join Frank Diana, Futurist and Digital Transformer with Tata Consultancy Services, to learn the new meaning of having an IoT-connected business in the future. He will be joined by Bernard Clairmont, Presales Consultant with CA Technologies, to explain the importance of having a sophisticated network performance management and diagnostic solution to be ready for the future of connectedness.


Like so many emerging innovation accelerators, the Internet of Things will be massively transformative. The time to act is now.

Next Generation Productivity

In a recent post, I focused on a series of emerging shifts and the transformation pillars that enable a re-imagined future. In this post, I will dive into one of those pillars: next generation productivity. According to Wikipedia, productivity is an average measure of the efficiency of production. It can be expressStalled Productivityed as the ratio of output to inputs used in the production process. In a recent Citi Report, they describe the significant slowing of labor productivity growth, which drives a focus on next generation gains. But In spite of technological progress and innovation, measured productivity growth is low by historical comparison. They cite these  growth statistics across advanced economies.

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The Future of the Future with Game Changers

I participated today in a new SAP sponsored thought leadership series titled the Future of the Future. Here is a snippet from the opening talking points:

The buzz: Wow! McKinsey estimates the 2025 potential annual economic impact of the Internet of Things at $11 trillion, 11% of the world economy.

The rebroadcast of the radio show is now available.

Source: The Future of the Future with Game Changers, Presented by SAP | VoiceAmerica™

A deeper dive into the world of the Internet of Things can be found here.

IoT: Unleashing the Mother of all Infrastructures

On a January 26th Game Changers Radio show, a panel of Futurists will focus on the Internet of Things (IoT) and its world changing implications. Here are some of my thoughts in advance of that discussion. I’ll start with a quote from Carl Bildt, Chair of the Global Commission on Internet Governance and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Europe:

“Very soon the Internet of Things will become the Infrastructure on which all other infrastructures are based.”

That bold statement supports thinking in some circles that a General Purpose Technology Platform (GPT)  is emerging, the foundation of which is The Internet of Things. This emerging GPT likely alters our world more dramatically than the GPTs of the first and second Industrial Revolutions:

general-purpose-technology-platform

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A Report on Creative Disruption

A recent report by Bank of America Merrill Lynch sheds more light on our future focus. The authors see cyclical and secular trends transforming the world at a rapid and meaningful pace. They find a common denominator in the form of three Ecosystems of Creative Disruption, and see them reducing barriers to entry for new businesses. These ecosystems allow companies to improve productivity and time-to-market while allowing broader customer reach. In a big shift, the ecosystems redefine competitive advantage by leveling the playing field between large and small companies.  Success is therefore dictated by imagination and ability to maximize the ecosystem. The three ecosystems are:

The Internet-of-Things (IoT) is expected to be a $7 trillion industry by 2020, as the explosion in connected devices is laying the foundation for IoT disruption. As a result, the authors estimate that connected devices will double in the next three years to reach 20 billion by 2018.

M2M Applications

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Anticipating 2025 – Part Two: The Future of Medicine

Part two of Anticipating 2025 will summarize the second section of the book. This section focused on three broad topics:

  1. Will advancing technology make doctors unemployed?
  2. The future of medicine and the convergence of nanotechnology and biology
  3. Rejuvenation Biotechnology program

It is fascinating to view this section through a disruptive and transformative lens. The acceleration of scientific advancement intensifies the degree and speed of change, thus positioning the type of paradigm shift that we have not seen since the steam engine. As this recent Forbes article points out, even The Acceleration is Accelerating.

The first topics author is Maneesh Juneja, Digital Health Futurist, and Founder of the Health 2.0 London Chapter. In the opening discussion, the author focuses on technology advancement and the future role of doctors. He describes a backward healthcare system that focuses on treatment versus prevention, and the difficulties of solving this problem when there is no profit in prevention. In researching systems from the past, the author looked at ancient China, where it is said that doctors only received payment while their patients stayed healthy. The author then explores the technologies projected to change the practice of medicine:

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Ecosystem Thinking

The notion of value creation and capture is a core component of business and the models that drive it. While historically viewed with a traditional product mindset, several emerging forces will alter this basic tenet of business. At its core, the way businesses create and capture value will change – the degree of change ranges from transformative to historical. The last several posts focused on the historical – namely Jeremy Rifkin’s view that we are heading towards A New Economic Paradigm. The foundation of Mr. Rifkin’s argument is a Third Industrial Revolution (TIR) platform that takes the marginal cost of production to near zero. Enabled by the Internet of Things, this General Purpose Technology (GPT) Platform could alter our landscape more dramatically than previous GPTs (steam-locomotive-printing press, electricity-auto-telephone). What happens to value creation and capture in a near zero marginal cost scenario?

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A New Economic Paradigm?

Does the combination of emerging disruptive scenarios create a new economic paradigm? In The Zero Marginal Cost Society, Jeremy Rifkin describes a world where nearly free goods and services are enabled by the Internet of Things to drive a new paradigm that eclipses capitalism – the Collaborative Commons. It seems the exponential curve of technology is pushing the operating logic of Capitalism – which focuses on driving ever increasing levels of productivity – towards an extreme level of productivity. Its success could therefore be its undoing. I am a firm believer that this emerging period will ultimately be viewed as the most transformative of all time – but I must admit – I did not make this leap. While reading, I found myself focused on business model questions facing every industry – and through that lens, the story resonated with me. It prompted me to revise the anchor visual that I have used throughout this look at disruptive scenarios. I posed this simple question: does combinatorial innovation create a third curve?

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Connected Health

In my continued look at disruptive scenarios, the focus shifts to Connected Health. In a recent White Paper, the term is used as an umbrella description that covers digital health, eHealth, mHealth, telecare, telehealth, and telemedicine. Analyst firm IDC defines it as “a broad spectrum of technologies that use telecommunications to facilitate the exchange of health information and delivery of care across a geographic distance as well as manage chronic conditions and promote health and wellness.”

There are several drivers that make this both a viable and desperately needed scenario. According to the IBM Institute for Business Value, inefficiency in the Healthcare ecosystem wastes over 2 trillion USD per year. According to the popular Internet Trends Study produced by Mary Meeker each year, healthcare costs have reached 17% of the U.S. GDP and 27% of health spending is wasted. The same study found that over 25% of family income is likely to go to health spending in 2015, and 50% of bankruptcies are driven by health costs.

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Next Generation Automation

This next post in the analysis of disruptive scenarios focuses on next generation automation enabled by combinatorial innovation. By way of reminder, the visual below depicts a convergence of innovations that have historically been viewed in isolation. As the building blocks of innovation multiply, their combination drives disruptive scenarios. By analyzing these scenarios, future implications and potential responses are determined.

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The Smart Home

This post continues a disruptive scenario analysis focused on assessing the transformative environment that faces companies, Industries, Governments, and society as a whole. Much attention is paid to several digital forces (e.g. Mobile, Social, Cloud, Big Data, The Internet of Things, AI, Robotics), but for the most part, the focus is isolated in nature. As described in The Second Machine Age, the combinatorial effect of these forces enables disruptive scenarios at an unprecedented pace. While some of these forces and their combinations are growing more visible, many are far off on the horizon, and countless scenarios are not yet visible. The visual below depicts this phenomenon, underscoring the difficulty of responding to the forces in our line of sight – and the near insurmountable task of responding to those further on the horizon. At its furthest point, lack of visibility to future combinatorial innovation drives a high degree of uncertainty.

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