Monday, February 24, 2014

BIG’s Blog: The Ant and the Mona Lisa

It’s all about perspective, right?

We’ve all heard the fable about the ant crawling across the surface of the famous Leonardo da Vinci painting of the Mona Lisa, haven’t we? To the ant it is merely a bumpy road, while to us with a different vantage point … a different perspective … it is a masterpiece.  

Vivek Wadha is a noted futurist and vice president of Singularity University. He recently spoke to a gathering of university Trustees to give them a sense of some of the dramatic advances that will begin affecting people’s lives in as little as the next ten years.

Below is a summary of some of the technological breakthroughs that are truly on the brink of becoming mainstream:

  • Health care: The development of self-administered health tests such as echocardiograms, broad availability of localized medicine that affects only the area requiring treatment, causing no side effects, bionic enhancements, including “super-power” sight and hearing capability, and error-free robotic surgery will contribute to significantly longer life experiences – well over 100 years – for both men and women.
  • Transportation: Driverless cars (now being made by Google and tested in the western United States), by eliminating human error, could help reduce traffic congestion and accidents. The prevalence of car ownership – already waning in urban areas with the rise of car sharing – will evolve further into a “use-as-needed” form of urban mobility, as driverless vehicles chauffeur humans from one place to another. Drones will be used to deliver packages to both businesses and consumers, expediting delivery times and reducing the need for street delivery vehicles.
  • Production of goods and materials: Manufacturing will once again be a major economic engine for the United States, with robots performing tasks ranging from clerical work to assembly. Three-dimensional printing of products ranging from dresses to building construction materials will become mainstream.
  • Energy: The cost of producing solar (and wind-powered) energy is dropping quickly, making these energy sources a viable, reliable alternative to electricity generated by coal-fired power plants.
  • Water and food: Technology is being developed to cost-effectively purify saltwater, which will help greatly in eradicating water-borne diseases and increasing the supply of usable water in developing countries. Meat will be grown through in-vitro fertilization, eliminating the need to slaughter animals for food. Vertical farms will reduce the need for large amounts of acreage for agriculture.
  • Education: The rapidly increasing availability of inexpensive tablets is changing education around the world; courses from the world’s top professors will be accessible regardless of where people are located.

Do some of those sound a bit far-fetched?

It’s all about perspective, right?

So if the above innovations are going to dramatically change the particular industries mentioned, are you still clinging to the opinion that you can’t figure out how to grow your net revenue by moving your fundraising online?

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