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Omega Pointing

Omega Pointing…

The 2015 Oscar season honored the heroic but tragic life of Alan Turing who is the acknowledged father of computer science. This year Turing’s handwritten notebook auctioned at Bonham’s for over a $1 million. Forty years ago the ENIGMA code-breaker committed suicide after the inhuman punishment meted out to him for his sexual orientation. April 2015 also marks the 60th death anniversary of another twentieth century intellectual giant who alas like Van Gogh and Turing is appreciated only after his time. Pierre Tielhard de Chardin was born in 1881 in France and breathed his last in New York in 1955. He was a world-renowned scientist and Jesuit priest, a stretcher-bearer for Algerian Muslims in World War I and earnest optimist about the human condition, a curator of Peking Man remains and prescient predictor of technology-mediated human networks, he loved immutable geological specimens and pondered ethereal spiritual questions. His scientific work was precise and rigorous; his musings on the nature of human beings and their spirit was wide, expansive and boldly speculative. There is a Tielhard revival underway as people rediscover his work and predictions on the evolution of super conscious humans who inform, collaborate and co-evolve using technology.

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Tielhard maintained that technology is capable of moving us forward – not just materially but spiritually. He interpreted human evolution in more than Darwinian terms. Tielhard reckoned that humans represent a biological evolution with larger brains and capacity for speech – equipment that primed a quantum jump up from the consciousness in other sentient beings on earth. He coined the phrase Noosphere – a mental version of the Geo and Biosphere where human minds interact and co-evolve. A thin technological membrane that serves as connective tissue will mediate the next stage of human evolution. He further argued that the Noosphere involves greater personalization, individuality and interconnection in a continual journey towards the apex of consciousness called The Omega Point. Pretty radical stuff when Tielhard wrote about it in 1922 – when the best distance learning technology invented until then was the printed book.

Humbled by Tielhard’s brilliance yet encouraged by it, let us speculate on some long haul trajectories that might frame the envelope of business activity in the years to come.

We see a business landscape reshaped by three long arcs – the Internet (and its many facets), 3-D printing and unmanned aerial vehicles (or drones as they are incorrectly but frequently referred to).

Its 45 years since Intel invented the 4004 microprocessor – the first integrated circuit that started us on the first of the three arcs. We have lived through every layering atop the microprocessor – pcs, operating systems, applications software, browsers, portals, search engines and social media. We layered and we turbo charged the underlying microprocessor plus peripherals – more capability, small size, less power consumption. This arc has dramatically and irrevocably altered every aspect of business from R&D to after sales service. A staggering amount of change considering that it took about the same amount of time (nearly 50 years) for the typewriter to go from lab bench to office desk.

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Many suggest that we are at the tail end of Moore’s Law – that processing power per unit cost cannot double every eighteen months interminably. Some point to advances in optical computing and bio computing will continue the onward march of Moore’s Law. Be that as it may, many evolutionary changes are anticipated – faster, more ubiquitous, more mobile networks, less expensive reliable storage, more useful apps. This arc will continue to evolve and its ripples are unlikely to abate any time soon.

The second arc is just beginning. Today’s 3D printers remind you of computers before the microprocessor. They are large, slow, clunky, error prone and in the domain of technical specialists who futz around with it like first time parents. It makes an agonizing twenty minutes to print out a simple toy figure. Remember noisy dot matrix printers? As you are reading this there are teams of researchers, doctors, scientists and students at the Cardiovascular Research Institute in Louisville, KY watching a machine print out an artificial human ear! Its slow, awfully expensive and with plenty of bugs to be worked out. But some very bright people are working on it and they will succeed. The National Institutes of Health in Bethesda has a 3-D Print Exchange for researchers, scientists and engineers to trade “printer drivers” for 3-D biological models. Even pop culture has cottoned on to the possibilities afforded by 3-D printing. A recent episode of The Good Wife featured a plot line where a 3-D printed handgun misfires and kills someone. Who is responsible? The software designer? The hardware maker? The person who hit “print’? Made for interesting TV drama. More significantly tho’ – This arc of technological change will accelerate and manufacturing is going to change forever. Mass-customization will morph to mini-customization. When the coffee machine at home starts leaking we will simply download some software to print out a new part. We will not throw away the entire coffee machine, just the part that needs replacement. The local landfill will diminish too. A couple of really bright talented auto designers will manufacture small batches of cool cars tailor-made for niche markets; and they won’t cost a lot. Economically depressed areas can reinvent themselves into guild-like enclaves of specialty product manufacturers. 3-D printing could usher in more economic dynamism, more product variety, lower costs and less waste. It’s not a question of whether it will happen; it is a question of when. If you are not convinced take a look at this short video from Cornell University…

The third arc is about democratizing air transport and enabling inexpensive, quick air delivery of physical goods and material to any location. Unmanned aerial vehicles are a classic swords-to-ploughshares technology story like the Internet. Developed and deployed extensively by the US Military in the Middle East, this technology is about to go mainstream, or should we say Jetstream? By now most readers would have seen videos of Amazon Prime Air delivering packages to suburban doorsteps. This week the Federal Aviation Authority approved Amazon’s application to test commercial drone deliveries in the United States. An Australian company called Flirtey is testing UAV delivery of your favorite fast food in New Zealand. Imagine that! A Fortune 500 company is betting it might become cost-effective for UAVs to deliver a $5 product to your door. It is going to be a be a while before Aviation authorities in most countries craft rules, approve sense and avoid technology and set reasonable standards that balance safety, privacy and innovation. Meanwhile the aerial (re)evolution in gathering momentum in less glamorous sectors. Japanese farmers use UAVs to monitor crops and soil conditions, micro targeting fertilizers and pesticides; yields have increased by 15%! We have read reports that over 10% of Japan’s agricultural output can be attributed to UAV usage. UAVs are used to monitor wind turbines and power lines at a fraction of the cost of manual inspections. UAVs are safe, cost effective in an increasing array of applications at current market prices. With stiffer competition among suppliers, more volume production and improved designs this technology will prove irresistibly attractive. UAVs will radically alter industry supply chains as the effects drift upstream – the locus and shape of distribution warehouses, retail outlets and service centers will have to change. UAS industry watchers claim new that in the first three years after favorable FAA rulings the US economy will add nearly 35,000 manufacturing jobs and$13 billion in economic value added. That is real jobs and real money!

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The BIG question is how are firms preparing for this emerging future? Are they thinking of the dramatic changes that are underway in every aspect their industry’s value chain? We hear the challenge “can you swim with the sharks?” That is old school. The future is about being able to swim with a school of piranha. If you are a large volume manufacturer – your competition is not another large volume manufacturer. It is a thousand small volume manufacturers – none of whom can kill you but each one will make you bleed just a little. Same if you are a retailer, tech giant, airline, restaurant chain, toymaker.  The future heading is towards us from three directions raising big thorny questions that every firm needs to answer. Soon!

Tielhard and Turing were great minds that saw the future well before anyone else. The rest of us are just regular Joes trying to stay afloat. But if we learn anything from them it is this…question the norm, look for a different way, let your imagination guide you and to heck with naysayers – they are predictably reliable defenders of the status quo. Isn’t it simply crazy that we fail to recognize great minds when they push human beings to think differently? Instead we ignore, ridicule and often persecute them.  What a pity. Makes you want to cry and then go out and do something to change the status quo. Doesn’t it?

Shyam  Chidamber

Publisher, GBizQ

Bethesda, MD

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39 comments

  1. I believe that the advent of the autonomous vehicle would be an innovation which would have very significant consequences for global society.

    The autonomous car will have several positive benefits. It will eliminate the incidence of human error while driving, thus cutting down on the number of fatalities on the road. It will eliminate the pain of parking or, worse still, searching for a parking spot in a congested location; the car will be able to do this itself. Perhaps most significantly, autonomous cars would eliminate the need for some form of driving assessment.
    There are, however, problems. Murphy’s Law dictates that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Autonomous cars rely on a boatload of computers and sensors to keep the car on the road. If one of these components malfunctions, the results could be catastrophic, especially if the human in the vehicle is distracted. Autonomous cars could also be targets for malicious hackers.

    That said, the impact could be huge. Freed from the burden of driving, workers could be as productive in their cars as they would be in offices, thus reducing the economic costs associated with heavy traffic. This will be a boon to the world economy.

  2. The upcoming innovations that I foresee having significant consequences on the global society are virtual reality devices and self-driving cars. Virtual reality devices are being developed and introduced which opens the door for the technology to be directed down many different avenues. These devices have the potential to change the world as we know it by introducing an ability to live in other experiences in other parts of the world or even other dimensions. This could change the home experience of sporting events, introduce a new level of clarity to telecommuting, and redefine human interaction. The other major innovation on the horizon is not yet released to the public but it is clear that hefty amounts of research and testing are currently being put into the self-driving car. Self-driving cars will open up a new view of travel by no longer allowing human error to affect getting from point A to point B. These cars will change the way people live by removing the dependence on a driver’s license and make it possible for people of all ages, all languages, and all disabilities to safely travel by car. Also, work as we know it will change because a huge number of jobs will become unnecessary such as taxi drivers, bus drivers, and truckers. In conclusion, it is very easy to say 10 reasons why a new technology will change life for the worse but the positive potential of these products will easily outweigh the critics.

  3. What major innovation (s) do you see in the horizon that has significant consequences (positive and/or negative) for global society?
    Future innovations that I see having a great impact on our global society are the use of the personal digital genomes. Each individual will have access to their entire genetic makeup. This type of innovation can lead to personalized medicine that can allow doctors to treat a person’s illness in a much more sufficient and individualized manner that is much more cost effective than it currently is. Another future innovation is the use of advanced robots/robotics, robots are currently used on assembly lines but in the future robots could be used to help people do a lot of everyday jobs such as cleaning and do the jobs that can be uncomfortable or dangerous for humans.
    How will it impact/change the way we live/work/play?
    These innovations definitely have their risk but they also have great benefits for global society. Specialized treatment plans could not only increase the lifespan of those with genetic disorders or cancers but also their value of life. Advancement in robotics could make our lives simpler as humans and robots work together to efficiently do everyday tasks.

  4. I’ve been involved in the 3D printing industry for about 2 years now. I was part of a team who created an affordable prosumer 3D printer, and now I perform research in multiple 3D printing applications with several different printers. The most promising printer I’m working with currently, is one capable of printing structures in the nanometer range.

    What we can do with this printer and achieve is endless, but still very undeveloped. I foresee that the industry will follow its trend and fuse this technology with the existing technology of printing electronic circuitry, and soon enough we will able to print nanorobots. The impact of reliable and affordable nanorobotics can have on society will be immense, from the military to biomedical applications. From the biomedical perspective, we hope to one day be able to print a nanorobot, insert it into the bloodstream and target specific cells to achieve several different goals. We can also create filters to separate different size cells, and have enriched plasma with just a shake of a test tube.

    The field of nanorobotics and nanostructures will change the way we take care of ourselves and defend ourselves, hopefully it will never be abused or used with bad intentions.

  5. 1. What major innovation do you see in the horizon that has significant consequences (positive or negative) for global society?
    One innovation that has the potential to disrupt global society is the application of reusable rockets that are being designed and manufactured by SpaceX. Musk’s motivation for delivering this product to the market is to reduce, by a fractional proportion, the costs required to access and travel throughout the atmosphere and, eventually, outer space. According to Fortune, the current per-launch cost of space access runs between $60-70 million. At these rates, only the biggest corporations and substantially funded government programs (NASA) have realistic access to space. In my opinion, this limited access is a threat to competition and allows for the establishment of monopolies in the satellite and communications industry. The most costly aspect of current space travel is the replacement and refueling of the rocket boosters; by making them reusable, SpaceX hopes to cut the per-launch cost of space access to $20-30 million.

    How will it impact/change the way we live/work/play?
    The biggest impact on our lives will be the impact on services that companies receive from space. With the democratization of space access, many smaller companies will be able to enter the communications and data collection industries, making them more competitive. Industries engaged in healthy competition ultimately provide better and less expensive services than those dominated by a few large firms. One such service that will be impacted is the launching of satellites into the atmosphere. With significantly cheaper satellite launches, more companies will be able to take advantage of their benefits, giving both individuals and companies an unprecedented level of high speed access to new knowledge.

  6. Three things came to mind when thinking about future innovations that would impact the global society: Advancements in 3D printing, the emergence of pop-up housing, and most importantly the introduction of the self-driving car. A multitude of new inventions and applications that will be able to push past current models will become available because of the recent increased affordability of 3D printing, which could have a huge impact on manufacturing and supply chain globally. I recently read in an article on Bloomberg Business that an El Paso company is refurbishing leftover shipping containers into housing units and offering them for less than $10,000. The impact this can have in slums across the globe is huge.
    The most intriguing innovation would be the self-driving car. I once read that Americans sit in traffic for 100 hours per year, on average. It’s insane to think about how much more efficient this innovation could make something simple like arriving to work on time more often. 95% of today’s accidents are as a result of human error, but imagine if a vehicle could operate like a human brain only without the same margin of error; driving would become significantly safer across the globe.

  7. Today there are many major innovations being developed to be more advanced and efficient in benefiting society: microprocessors, 3D printer, drones, electric cars, . The microprocessor is a significant innovation since it has enhanced over time to be smaller and more powerful due to its speed and memory size. Right now however the costs of processing power remains high as the graph indicates that the Intel Itanium used over a billion transistors in 2006. In my engineering courses, discovering new ways to access more memory for lower costs are important for storage and retrieval of information. The demand for larger memory and higher speed is rising quickly and thus a need more for more engineers. This is a positive effect since more jobs are created as technology advances. From learning about various entry modes into businesses, companies have the opportunity to seek to make better products which can create competition. Although competition can be negative, it is also positive since more people have careers to advance their companies. Nonetheless, the enhancement of microprocessors does cause our lives to move faster since people are able to quickly access an abundance of data. Furthermore, it decreases people’s patience and ability to enjoy each moment.

    The 3D printer shows much promise since, although it is slow, it has the capability of furthering biological studies through its detail models. In addition, the article describes how parts such as components in a coffee machine can be made without having to replace the entire product. Also it can possibly reduce the cost of transporting goods from a far location. In terms of models, scientists have the opportunity to explore into issues and be able to find problems and hopefully solutions faster because they can build what they scan as the video explained. However, the video causes one to wonder, what is the fine line in maintaining ethical behavior in dealing with living cells and people? Although the printer can be used to replace parts, how will the innovation bring conflict in dealing with helping humans? As innovations advance, there are problems that arise which make us determine how we properly implement them without compromising the value of life.

    The rising use of solar panels on buildings is another innovative technology that is still being developed. From my device physics course, my professor explained that in order to collect more solar power, better material needs to be used however better material is more costly. Engineers have been able to boost the photovoltaic from 25 to 50 percent according to insidescience.org. These panels are not given to the public due to the cost. A chemist on singlet fission Bardeen explains how the first generation of solar cells used silicon, which was efficient but expensive. The second generation used thin film, which was less expensive. Now the goal is to decrease the price but raise efficiency. Thankfully according to Shahan from Clean Technica, the cost of solar panels has gone from $76.67/watt in 1977 to just $0.613/watt today. Still the market can grow since efficiency is still struggling. This problem is good since we need alternative energy sources to help preserve the Earth’s natural resources. In addition, the industry can produce many jobs for engineers, physicists, and other professionals to grow this market. Using solar panels regularly will be a large step as most of the world still uses nuclear sources to produce electricity. Furthermore, increasing solar panels can possibly bring electricity to remote areas and supply electricity to electric companies to support communities and businesses.

    http://www.insidescience.org/content/new-technology-could-boost-solar-cell-efficiency-30-percent/1816
    http://cleantechnica.com/2014/09/04/solar-panel-cost-trends-10-charts/

  8. The whole concept of the internet of things (IoT) is inevitable because of the digitalization of nearly every piece of technology. At first the concepts like the smartphone and the personal computer were fragmented, but with each iteration these technologies became more polished, and the experiences blended together between devices.
    In the article 3D printing was compared to old, slow processing computers. Over time we find more uses for existing technologies. Homes are starting to become automated with the Nest thermostat and dropcam to name a few, and are tied together to other devices we use everyday.
    The digital and non-digital world has intertwined and soon we’ll see deeper integrations of existing technologies with new ones, including autonomous cars and extensive machine learning/data mining.
    The internet has changed communication drastically, and the use of technology now feels natural. In the future we should be able to expect everyday objects to all perform digitally like current daily drivers such as the smartphone, smartwatch, and personal computer. The internet has provided a singular form of communication, wiring the world, and with increasing software and benefits of Moore’s law, we can only expect full integration and mass transfers of big data.

  9. Nathaniel Fikru

    One of the growing fields, specifically within engineering, is that of biomedical robotics. Current biomedical robots have improved precision in surgery making it less invasive and reducing the recovery time. Although the technology is far from perfect, these biomedical robots are currently being used in well known establishments like Children’s National Medical Center in Washington DC. Under the supervision of experienced doctors and surgeons, robots like the Di Vinci (robot) are being used to operate on prostate cancer patients and examine MRI scans. These robots also bring a new aspect to the heath industry; long distance examinations and operations. In the near future, based on the current rate of technological advances today, doctors will be able to perform operations and examinations from hundreds of miles away. Eventually these biomedical robots will be able to completely take over the role of doctors in hospitals. We will be able to end the shortage of medical services worldwide.

    Another area of rapid technological advance is the car industry. Big name entities like Google and Audi have been working on designing autonomous vehicles. Their research has been very successful and promising. Autonomous vehicles will revolutionize the transportation industry; properly implemented, they will reduce car accident causalities and improve fuel efficiency. To add to that, state and federal legislation will also have to change to allow for this technology to prosper.

  10. 1. What major innovation (s) do you see in the horizon that has significant consequences (positive and/or negative) for global society?
    2. How will it impact/change the way we live/work/play?
    Three innovations I see on the horizon with a significant ability to affect our lives are: wearable technology, robotics and “the internet of things”.
    Life as we know it, has changed, for better or worse, in incredible ways over the past century through the implementation of spectacular technologies never before imagined.
    Over the past 5 years, the innovations above have gained significant traction and will continue to affect our lives for many years. In the world of wearable technologies, we already see people tracking health habits; imagine this tech eliminating check-in nurses at doctor’s offices altogether. In a similar vein, unmanned vehicles of all natures and many other forms of robotics have gone from the size of planes down to size of medication capsules to directly target viruses. “The internet of things,” well that’s as intuitive as it sounds, we’ve taken everything from phones and gaming devices all the way to cars to the Internet age. By continuing this trend, many fear that the limited privacy we still have today will inevitably vanish altogether.
    Imagine a world where our live health monitor informs a driverless car to transport us to a hospital where we are received by a robotic gurney/nurse.

  11. Patrick Zoccali

    I believe graphene has the potential to become an innovation that revolutionizes the way superconductors work. Graphene an atom thick layer of carbon atoms that is smaller and faster than current transistors. This would allow companies to place more transistors on a single chip, making them faster. Although graphene has no band gap, there is a theoretical computing process called qubits that would enable graphene chips (with fewer transistors) to circumvent this problem and to outperform current chips. If successfully developed and introduced, graphene chips have the potential to revolutionize computing as a whole, ultimately making devices significantly more powerful and faster for the end consumer. Another potential innovation that could have an immediate impact would be commercial drones, as stated in the article. The drone delivery system currently being developed by Amazon would add tremendous value to consumers if they can successfully deliver packages immediately after an order is placed. This could potentially disrupt the shipping industry since it would be vastly faster than traditional delivery methods (for small products).

  12. Two major innovations that have significant consequences for global society are electronic medical records (EMRs) and health information exchanges (HIEs). Doctors everywhere use paper charts to track patient data and history. Having a whole physician’s office, nursing home or hospital switch from using paper charts to EMRs can be a timely, costly and difficult process. The US Dept. Health and Human services esti9mates that for a 5-physician practice, the first year cost of implementing EMRs is $247,000. However, the potential results can be well worth it. For instance, TIME says that sloppy doctor handwriting kills 7,000 people annually. EMRs will eliminate issues such as this, and speed up patient visits and administrative tasks.

    With the advent of electronic medical records, health information exchanges become possible, where physicians electronically share patient records with each other and with other providers such as hospitals and nursing homes. Until now, having paper charts faxed over from a physician to, say, an Emergency Department is an extremely slow process. If the physician is closed for the weekend, a record could take 3 days to get to the ER. With a HIE, this process is instantaneous, providing the potential to increase efficiency and save lives.

  13. One major innovation that I see coming in the near future with great consequences both positive and negative is hypersonic flight. Hypersonic flight will cut the time it takes to ship something across the world down significantly. Before it is ever used for passenger it will likely be used for shipping of goods across great distances. The U.S. Air Force is currently working with DARPA to design and build a jet that could cross the U.S. in 30 minutes, and they hope to have it ready by 2023. This would be a huge advancement in both the defense industry as well as business.
    This innovation will change the way we ship and receive items on a global scale. The time it will take to receive an item ordered from China will be cut more than in half. Eventually it could even mean that the way that we travel could completely change. Ease of global travel will be greater than ever, and will connect us globally even more so than ever before. In addition to all of these positive changes in the way we live hypersonic flight could also revolutionize war, making defense harder than ever.

  14. Gene therapy is a major innovation that will have significant positive consequences for global society. It is a technique in medicine that uses genes to treat or prevent disease. Although it is still being developed, the technique is said to allow doctors to treat diseases by inserting genes into a patient’s cells. It is said to be an alternative to drugs and surgery. Three approaches of gene therapy that are being tested currently include replacing a defected disease-causing gene with a healthy copy, introducing a new gene to one’s body to fight a disease, and inactivating a mutated gene that causes disease.

    This technique is still being studied and tested, and remains risky. However, when it is ensured to be safe and effective, it will positively impact global society by eradicating genetic disease before it begins. This would therefore eliminate suffering for future generations. Many diseases, such as inherited disorders, some cancers, and viral infections, would be able to be cured with gene therapy. Potentially, it would be able to control and eliminate hereditary diseases. Some causes of controversy that may cause gene therapy to be viewed to have negative consequences, as human genetic engineering would be made possible with gene therapy.

  15. One innovation that I see as having a positive consequence on human society is one that would convert salt water to fresh water. About 70% of Earth is ocean which holds about 96% of the Earths water. Currently there are several countries in the world which are being affected by a drought. Using just the west coast of the United States as a sampling size, there are about 58,189,035 people who are affected by a major drought. Water is a necessity for life, and therefore, being able to use the water in the oceans effectively would be a tremendous innovation that would help so many people survive. No one would have to worry about the quantity of water they are using and they would be able to hydrate and stay healthy.
    An innovation that I see having negative consequences is the innovation of smart phones. Cell phones generate electromagnetic fields (EMF) and about 75% of the global population is affected by the network grid of EMF. Science shows that about 20 minutes of phone usage every day for 10 years can cause detrimental affects to the human body. If cell phones keep getting more features, humans will continue to use it more than they already do and it will affect their thinking and body in negative ways.

  16. Andrew McCormick

    The two major innovations that I foresee significantly impacting our global society in the coming years would be the evolution of virtual reality devices and the advancements of 3-D printing. Virtual reality devices have already begun to take form in the video game industry with noteworthy creations such as Facebook’s Oculus Rift and Sony’s Project Morpheus. The idea that we will be able to enter ourselves into a virtual or augmented reality is astounding, and can transform how we interact with people from across the globe. CCS Insight, an Industry Analyst Frim, is predicting that these devices will create a market worth $4 billion by 2018. Microsoft is also developing their HoloLens headset, which is similar to Google Glass, but promises to provide “holographic images overlaid in the real world”. This would literally transform how companies conduct their business on a daily basis.
    3-D printing also shows great promise for our global economy, specifically the idea of the “Chemputer”. The fact that life-saving drugs can be printed in front of our very eyes will revolutionize modern medicine as we know it. The Chemputer can simplify the process of the molecule making process and make it accessible to virtually anyone.

  17. What major innovation (s) do you see in the horizon that has significant consequences (positive and/or negative) for global society?

    Self driving cars are major innovation that I see impacting the global society. These will be cars that are capable of driving themselves with little or no input from a home driver. The major positive consequences of this type of innovation is that they will lead to fewer traffic collisions, fewer injuries and deaths,lower costs and easier driving while the negative consequences include loss of jobs for the taxi and delivery drivers and increased insecurity in case the car gets hacked.

    How will it impact/change the way we live/work/play?
    The major impact this innovation will have is a person will be less stressful and more productive. He/she won’t have to concentrate on driving but rather during the drive will be able to read, surf the Web, work or just take a nap.

  18. What major innovation (s) do you see in the horizon that has significant consequences (positive and/or negative) for global society?

    Self driving cars are major innovation that I see impacting the global society. These will be cars that are capable of driving themselves with little or no input from a home driver. The major positive consequences of this type of innovation is that they will lead to fewer traffic collisions, fewer injuries and deaths,lower costs and easier driving while the negative consequences include loss of jobs for the taxi and delivery drivers and increased insecurity in case the car gets hacked.

    How will it impact/change the way we live/work/play?
    The major impact this innovation will have is a person will be less stressful and more productive. He/she won’t have to concentrate on driving but rather during the drive will be able to read, surf the Web, work or just take a nap.

  19. Two innovations that I believe have the power to radically change global society are biomedical robots, and autonomous cars.

    Currently, a robot assisted surgery machine is a largely expensive commodity that costs over a million dollars, and warrants operation costs of over several thousand dollars per procedure. While the technology allows for increased accuracy and ease of use for the operator, prohibitive costs, steep learning curves, and uncertainty by the medical community have not yet allowed medical robots to rise as a world changing force. However, as prices decrease, and the technology becomes more widely accepted, the nature of the medical system could change drastically for the better if medically assisted robots eventually become autonomous and make operations more affordable, more accurate, and universally superior to the current system.

    If well implemented, autonomous vehicles would greatly improve road safety and travel efficiency. In 2014, 32,719 deaths caused by car accidents were reported. Some advocates of autonomous vehicles have argued that 90% of car accidents are caused by human error, suggesting that autonomous vehicles could theoretically prevent 29,447 deaths per year. This sort of metric, while a bit optimistic, shows how the technology can radically change society.

  20. Technology has continued to move at a rapid pace since the release of the first commercially available microprocessor. In the past decade the social media revolution brought about Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter. Social media has had both a positive and negative impact on society, as people become globally connected through social media, we also become less personal physically social. With any new technology there will many benefits for society accompanied with numerous downsides.

    I believe that the biggest emerging technologies lie within virtual reality and 3-D printing. Virtual reality has become one of the most talked about technologies at trade shows and on social media. Virtual reality has the potential to revolutionize education giving a student a more hands on lesson. However, virtual reality may also make users more anti- social as users may lose interest in physical meetings. 3-D printing has created many created many new innovative design opportunities for us, as now if we can think of something we can physically turn it into reality. However, with 3-D printing there is also a dark side, as weapons can be made if given the proper specifications. While technology can benefit its users, it can also harm them.

  21. James Schleicher

    One of the most pivotal and consequential innovations of our time is the self-driving automobile. Today, companies such as Google and Tesla are developing, testing, and deploying automobile software that allows autonomy with multiple technologies – GPS, motion tracking, depth detectors, to name a few. While the companies make this software as fool-proof as possible, there is still quite a bit of room for error. I believe that the future of this technology lies in an interconnected, real-time, cloud-like system that will include all operating automobiles (or maybe just those within a certain radius), so that any chance of an accident or traffic would be eliminated. This sort of innovation will heavily impact the way we live and travel. Imagine the day when the morning’s commute to work could be spent reading, checking e-mail, or even sleeping!

    Another innovation that I see having significant consequences for global society is the mapping of the human genome. Scientists have already mapped the human genome. We know how long and how complex the nucleotide sequences are that make up every gene of a human being. We have the computational capabilities to render and traverse the millions of proteins in a sequence. So what’s next? This innovation will have a major impact on the way that global society functions. Eventually we will have a complete enough picture of the genome to do marvelous things across all scopes – but specifically in health care. Say your son/daughter has been diagnosed with Epilepsy and you’re trying to decide which medication will work best. Previously, doctors would have no regimen and would prescribe first whatever is most popular. With this innovation, doctors will be able to prescribe medication based on what works best with your genome, which will save both time and money for the provider and patient (but maybe not for big pharma 😉

  22. There are several innovations that will have a major impact on the global society in the near future. For instance, self-driving cars can have a positive effect on the global society because it will make driving a safer experience since human negligence will be avoided. Self-driving cars would reduce accidents because the car would automatically be driving and would avoid other cars. This is a great resource for people who are drunk and unable to drive home. Therefore, self-driving cars will also dramatically reduce the amount of deaths, as well as the number of overall driving accidents.

    Another positive innovation that will help society is virtual reality because it would allow employees to get better hands on training during a simulation. It would train employees visually and allow them to actually experience the work required to finish a project. In addition, 3D printing in the medical field would have a positive effect on society because we can someday use it to create human organs like a kidney since there is a shortage of organ donors. Likewise, 3D printing could be used to create a customized prosthetic leg that is more efficient and ensures body symmetry for a person.

  23. One of the most significant innovations would be biomedical engineering field. It is about designing artificial organs, regenerate tissue, biomedicine development, and so forth. In general, this field helps world health to be improved. According to bureau labor of statistics, job growth in next ten years is 27% which is faster than average job growth. Even CNN money stated that its ten year job growth is 61.7% which is stated as the best job from year 2012-2020 in America. More demands of this field will be required because it is related to health which is always demanded by people. According to Geohive.com, its statics shows that world population in 2015 is 7,323,393,507, and the world population is estimated to be 9,550,944,891 in 2050. These numbers represents that there will be more demand since aging and health issues are unavoidable.
    It will impact a lot with our lives in general. The technology can improve humans’ health issues with limbs, organs, and so forth. Therefore, people can have healthier life styles, and disabled people in the world may be healthier so that they obtain more opportunities in global society. So it can be assumed that people will be more productive globally.

  24. Technology is developing and innovating at an exponential rates. Increasing competition is putting more pressure on R&D departments in companies across the globe to innovate their product line. Some of the most notable innovations include self-driving cars, the use of holograms in countless parts of our everyday life, the advancement in air travel, and the advancement in long distance travel.

    The self driving cars, which has been populated by Google to the local consumers, will definitely make lives easier in the future. They will also be used by other business as local delivery services and much more. However, they also bring a huge security risks as plenty of other users has noted on this blog post. The advancement of holograms will drastically improve communication in cell phones and video displays. This technology is already used by the military but making it available to the local consumer will drastically improve everyday lives. This will only increase importance of the internet and cyber security. As the article mentions, companies will try to use various different shapes and forms of drones to get a business advantage. We see everyday that either humans are becoming lazier or getting everything delivered is just a huge convenience matter. That debate is for another day, but drones being used as messengers in everyday lives will only increase this. Lastly, Elon Musk is working on a hyperloop that will let one travel at 4,000mph. That means we can travel from L.A. to N.Y. in about 3 hrs. That technology will greatly improve long distance travel. It will be better for many people who cannot medically travel for long periods of time. Right it is under safety tests for 5 miles. However, one must also consider the ecological effects of all such technologies and e-waste of all the old technologies as innovation arrives. In a comparison by Carbusters.org, train emits 91% less CO2 compared to a plane. Human lives will definitely will improve with all these innovations, however there are also other areas to measure.

  25. I think that self driving cars is a major innovation that will impact the society greatly and how we go about our daily lives. Already, the commercial planes that we use are mostly automatic such that pilots are there only as a precaution in case something extraordinary happens. This is only a few steps away from every single vehicle on the road being navigated by a central computer. The consequences of such a system are significant, many people can relax during their daily commute and maybe even catch a few extra minutes of sleep. Also, by using self driving cars, the number of accidents can be reduced greatly. For example, in 2012, in USA alone 3,328 people were killed because of a distracted driver and 421,000 were injured for the same reason (www.cdc.gov). Of course, we understand that malfunctions will occur with self driving cars, but hopefully the driver will have enough time to take over the control of the vehicle if necessary. Overall, traffic will be nonexistent, there may even no longer be traffic lights as each vehicle would communicate with the next, it will not be necessary to waste time and money looking for a parking space as the computer will know available spots, and most importantly, many lives will be saved from reckless drivers.

  26. With the continued growth in popularity and effective usage of smartphones and the applications that go with them, I believe that more applications will be designed around aiding delivery of goods and services to users. Applications could be invented that tie companies to customers through third party companies aiding them with mobile device interaction. Easier user interface for customers and businesses alike is beneficial for all aspects of life.
    Innovative companies, like SpaceX, inspire my belief that new means of transport are on the horizon. First, Elon Musk is currently working on designing a pod system that could launch customers from Los Angeles to New York in 3 hours. This system will greatly improve land-based long distance travel. Lastly, with the privatization of Space exploration, I believe that a new means of aerial transport could come to existence. SpaceX is designing rockets with vertical take off and landing capabilities. Although this technology is intended for interplanetary travel, I believe it could be spun to create rapid intercontinental flights at a fraction of the time. Rapid transportation will affect our ability to live and work. Faster transportation will shrink the world, which will aid in business and human relations.

  27. One important innovation that I have been pondering regards the way Americans and the world will pay for their consumer goods. The innovation that I am discussing is called Apple Pay. Large percentages of the US use apple products and have iPhones. These iPhones users constantly monitor the whereabouts of their device, refraining from losing it. Therefore, Apple said to themselves, “what if these iPhone users could actually pay for goods and services with only their actual iPhone”? This led to the innovation of a secure mobile payment platform that is already at the hands of a vast majority of people. Apple believes that they can take over the physical credit card by working with the banks themselves, allowing us to carry around only one physical object for our leisure and payments. This could possibly give consumers the incentive to consume and purchase more. On the other hand, if there is a security breach within Apple Pay, millions of people could be affected and money could be taken. However, if the security of this mobile payment were up to par, it would be an extremely convenient and unique innovation. Money has become more and more condensed, from gold to cash to card to mobile platform or “internet”. We have many great things to look forward to in this innovative era and some things will change life, as we know it.

  28. The next major innovation that will change the world is driverless cars. This technology will have serious impacts across multiple industries. It will change the taxi and public transportation system in a big way if companies can just own a fleet of cars or buses that can drive themselves. It may affect the auto industry because people may not even have to own their own car if they can call a car at anytime or a company car picks them up for work. The shipping industry will also be overhauled. There may be no truck drivers, which means there will be no limit on how long trucks can travel. Also, auto accidents, drunk driving, and speeding tickets may be a thing of the past.

    These changes may help and save money for companies and individuals, but the people that work in these industries will be hurt. Cyber security will also be a concern, where companies will have to prevent hackers from taking control of trucks or people’s personal vehicles. Society will also have to answer tough questions like who is responsible if there is an accident. Overall, driverless cars will help everyone tremendously, but also shake up the $1.33 trillion logistics and transportation industry, and the $12 billion taxi industry. These numbers only account for the US, and this technology will have an even greater impact on daily life and economies all over the world.

  29. In the past decade, technology has grown at a pace faster than I ever thought possible. From business to entertainment, every sector of our daily lives has been augmented by the internet. We are just now arriving at a time where fast, reliable internet is available to the entire population. We are more interconnected than ever before. The Internet of Things, or IoT, is quickly revolutionizing how we go about our daily lives. Innovations like the Apple watch let us access the internet from our wrist, something dreamed up by the creators of The Jetsons decades ago. I believe the Internet of Things to be the next big innovation in our lifetimes. Devices that can control your home’s functions, manage your calorie intake and health, and assist in everyday life are only a few short years away from becoming mainstream. These devices have the ability to make our lives as humans easier. These devices can also provide us with immense amounts of data, which could be used to possibly predict early warning signs of diseases and other things before they even happen. The possibilities are endless for merging technology more with our world, and bodies.

  30. One major innovation coming in the near future is self-driving cars. Contrary to the post of other classmates, I believe they will be more of a negative than a positive. Yes, human error is the cause of most automobile accidents but there are plenty caused by manufacturer error as well. 2014 set the record for the most automobiles recalled in history with more than 550 recalls on over 52 million vehicles. It is inevitable that the more we ask cars to do, the more complicated they become and therefore the more imperfections result. Humans will always have an instinct that computers will never be able to imitate.

    On the positive side, it would ultimately make our lives easier. Instead of poorly trying to multitask while driving, we could use our time in the car to safely get work done, use our phones and have our breakfast without having to worry about being late to the office. It would also prevent the injuries and deaths caused by drunk driving. In 2013, 10,076 died and 290,000 were injured as a result of drunk driving accident. To have these numbers eliminated would be an astronomical victory for a battle we have been fighting for quite some time now however, I fear that It would open up a whole greater issue of computer related incidents.

  31. As we are entering a age of progressive innovation, I believe a large amount of them will have profound aspects on our daily lives. I believe one of the largest innovations will be that of driverless cars. I believe this innovation will help many businesses and has the potential to revolutionize many different industries. This may also help us reduce oil consumption by creating better routes and traffic practices. Also by having driverless cars it make lives for humans more convenient and have create an easier life for humans.

  32. What major innovation (s) do you see in the horizon that has significant consequences (positive and/or negative) for global society?

    One major innovation, in particular, which I believe will have significant consequences for global society are cloud based computing infrastructures and data management systems. As our society becomes more intrested in compact and increasingly powerful electronic devices, many cutting edge products are moving storage from local storage hard drives and solid state drives, to server based cloud systems. While these technologies allow for greater magnitude of storage with the conviennce of externally managed databases, these innovations also have some negative drawbacks as well. With all of these densities of data located within one place, the potential for collateral damage and corruption of data in an unfortunate event, is very high as well. Likewise, these cloud computing centers, could also be potential targets for hackers or other cyber attacks, leading to a possible corruption of millions of computers and devices running of the server data center.

    The innovations of cloud based computing, while complex, also have the potential to greatly improve the efficency of how users interact with their devices, and share data amingst other people. Google has already implemented some iterations of these innovative concepts; namely Google Drive and Google Powered Chromebooks. In summary, this technology has the risks and benefits to deeper integrate our lives and actions with the power of the Internet and its associated data systems. In this way, we are moving exponentially closer to a world deeply connected and intertwined with data, without the limitations of traditional hardware and technology.

  33. There are several major innovations that are on the horizon which will radically change society. Two of them include unmanned aerial vehicles, 3D printers, and cloud-based computing. Although all three of these technologies already exist and implemented, they aren’t necessarily at their peak stages. The “innovation on the horizon” aspect of these technologies regards the full utilization of the potential of said technologies. For instance, unmanned aerial vehicles have uses beyond war. For everyday people and uses, as described in the article, aerial vehicles may be used to deliver a variety of goods, they can inspect bridges, power lines, and other infrastructure. The potential is great; it’s a matter of time before this becomes ubiquitous.

    The idea is the same for 3D printers. Although it currently exists, the full potential and maturity of the technology has yet to be realized. In the article it mentions this, considering the quote “Today’s 3D printers remind you of computers before the microprocessor. They are large, slow, clunky, error prone and in the domain of technical specialists who futz around with it like first time parents. It makes an agonizing twenty minutes to print out a simple toy figure. ” There is a lot that can be done with this technology once it’s matured. People may be able to order anything from containers to shoes online, and instead of having it shipped, it could be printed at home. The future is bright.

    Impacts of only these two innovations alone are numerous and spread to both business benefits and consumer benefits. As explained in the article, businesses can save money by using drones instead of people in efforts to save money. Consumers benefit from added convenience in various ways too.

  34. Wearable technology, such as Google Glass, is one major innovation that can have positive and negative consequences for global society. This innovation can positively affect global society because it makes lives around the world more convenient. For example, Google Glass is hands free, since Google Maps can be read right in front of your eyes while on the move. Not only that, you can stay connected with global society through social media. You can take a photo with Google Glass without missing a moment, and share it on social media. However, there are negative consequences, such as radiation, which can affect our health. Google Glass can hurt our vision in the long run and cause distractions, leading to accidents in society.

    This innovation will impact the way we live and change the way people work in industries because it can improve production. For example, packaging workers in companies can use wearable technology to help them connect better with coworkers to make production faster, creating faster results that many companies would want for their customers. In conclusion, wearable technology may have some negative consequences, but the positive consequences can outweigh more and create a better lifestyle for the global society.

  35. Aaron Laniewicz

    One of the biggest innovations that has already become more prominent in society is VR. Kickstarter, a worldwide crowdfunding platform, has hosted hugely successful projects such as the Oculus Rift and FOVE, which allow users to immerse their vision and hearing in a virtual environment, such that their POV responds fluidly to their real-world head motion. Combined with body-motion-capture platforms such as the Virtuix Omni or PrioVR/Cyberith joint venture, a person can feel like they have been entirely transported into the virtual world. And these are already globalized companies in every sense of the word (market presence, supply chain, capitalization, and mindset). I believe these technological innovations will lead to an important shift in global dynamic communication, especially in the realm of Global Innovation. We read in HBR’s 10 Rules for Managing Global Innovation that one cannot communicate by technology alone, and that F2F time is vital for building of trust and relationships between team members. Given a sufficiently realistic virtual environment, couldn’t the same be achieved? Not only can team members discuss their product while virtually interacting with the latest model, but they could also socialize outside of work in their favorite virtual lounge!

  36. Artificial intelligence, or AI, has been a rapidly growing industry for the past decade. This can be seen in sci-fi movies such as iRobot which show how humans can become vulnerable to AI which becomes too powerful for the human species. Although just a movie, this theory (or the singularity described by Ray Kurzeil) is based off Moores Law; if anything computation is more than doubling and not slowing down but accelerating to a pace we have not seen before. Major corporations such as Google are buying smaller robotics and AI companies. Although we are not sure what they plan to do with this technology, we have to be conscious and not just accept it but think about the consequences that may arise; we have to think about the long term consequences. Professor is right when he states “we have do think differently” in order to understand the capabilities of these new technological advances. Elon Musk is one of these great minds, he was genuinely concerned about artificial intelligence turning against humanity, more specifically Larry Page’s (Google) technology turning into a “robot army”.

    Artificial intelligence will transform the way we work, think and do every daily activity. Our simple technologies, such as TV, coffee maker, cars, etc will be automated by AI. The impact of this technology can already be seen in the work force, especially factories, where robotics with AI have replaced workers on the assembly line. Most people will embrace these changes, but of course there will be another side that are against this technology and want to go back to the simpler times; these people will be conscious about the new technology and question how it may harm us later on (maybe physically since we won’t be as active or physically in the sense of being in danger). This is something we all have to think about since it will be happening within our lifetime – sooner than we all may imagine. The arcs described in the article can prove that the computation processing speed and size of processors are becoming more powerful every year – this technology will be put to test in every field for companies in different sectors to make unique products or innovations.

  37. I believe that 3D printing will be the newest innovation to have the largest impact on our society in the immediate future. When thinking of its mass potential, it is hard to not get excited about it. In fact, 3D printing has already made a substantial impact in the medical field with its ability to produce organic material. Take a second to think about that. Mankind is now capable of producing organs and layers of human tissue, a feat that sounds so peculiar, yet remarkable to me that I still have trouble comprehending the notion of it. Look furthermore into what people have made with 3D printing and you will see that food, guns, shoes, and cars have all been produced with this incredible technology.

    Even considering all the potential product innovations 3D printing is capable of, I believe that the very fiber of how we perform business processes and operations will be changed even more dramatically. Consider this, outsourcing labor and production will start to falter, while domestic production will reach an all time high. This will have global ramifications across blue collared workers in all countries. Furthermore, the emergence of 3D printing means that any individual with an idea can be an entrepreneur. Professor Chidamber illustrated a powerful notion in his blog Omega Pointing that “the future is about being able to swim with a school of piranha…[and that it] is a thousand small volume manufacturers – none of whom can kill you but each one will make you bleed just a little” that will give large corporations their most threatening competition.

    I believe this conception is even more highlighted with the emergence of 3D printing, in which any individual can be an entrepreneur. In fact, all it takes is some material and a 3D printer to start a product line, such as custom mugs or shoes. The future is extremely bright for 3D printing and I believe everything ranging from the products to the way we live will be forever altered as a result of this phenomenon.

    -Kevin Zhu

  38. Virtual Reality (Oculus Rift, Microsoft HoloLens) and Self Driving Cars are my favorite innovations for future. Virtual realities can improve the way we design and prototype things. It can bring the ideas into almost real life. The idea behind this technology is that it can project the screen in a 3D model so that users can interact with it in a similar way to real life models. They can virtually touch it and manipulate in a greater detail as oppose to TV or computer screen. Designers and tech companies can greatly benefit from this technology while private citizens can use it as a means of entertainment and/or education.

    Self Driving cars are interesting innovation since it changes the whole system of transportation and researchers believe it can lower the accidents and casualties although it has a long way to go. It needs a lot of investment so that it can replace the traditional driving machines. If fully implemented in near future, it can serve a nation in a speedy but a reliable transportation. Smart enough, it can save energy and use GPS signals and virtual realities to detect avoid traffic jams and accidents.

  39. I believe that the past 100 years or so have proven the ingenuity of mankind with more advancements than almost the entire history of mankind put together, this is why I assume that the only limit to our advancements are the limits of the technology themselves. It is for this reason which I believe that the highest level of ingenuity we can come up with are those which remove these barriers and allow us to freely imagine, design and create.

    I can think of no better example of this than the quantum computer. Many scientists are saying that we are dangerously close to the number of transistors which we can place next to each other at that small a scale without quantum effects having any negative effects, however, with quantum computers that same quantum effect is used to create the next generation of computing. Just to give an example of how much the processing power difference is; if the amount of information contained in “n” qubits (quantum bits) was to be transferred to the classical processors we have now, you would end up with 2^”n” bits of information. So having 300 qubits would equate to about 2^300 bits of information which is the number of particles in the known universe.

    Now, the negative effects of this new technology could be broad, however, this difference would not be so different than the upgrade from dial up internet to the super high speeds we have today. Hackers would be able to hack faster and those who would misuse this technology would be doing so at incredible speeds but even this would present opportunities such as an increase in the market for data security, software testers, and basically any other job related to computers that we have today.

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