Hidden opportunities

As a result, it is hard for organizations to grasp many of the opportunities ultimately driven by “unstoppable but exponential” High-Tech because they rapidly explode from unfamiliar areas …

On the one hand, the continuing explosion of High-Tech is a fantastic opportunity.  On the other hand, it is going to be really hard for some organizations to grasp those opportunities because many of the biggest opportunities are going to come from outside the areas they are familiar with.

What for example are going to be the implications of really-cheap expert systems?  Or more expensive control systems with human-levels of reasoning and superhuman levels of pattern recognition?  What does it mean when memory capacity becomes so cheap you can easily record as much historical data about as many devices as you could possibly want?

It is relatively easy to imagine twenty-five years: Many people have worked in the same organization or lived in the same home for that long.  Yet in twenty-five years from now the internet is set to become more than a billion times more powerful – that is a thousand million times more powerful – than it is today.  How will that affect different industries?  How will that affect customers?  Or governments?

Combine that with what you have probably heard referred to as the Internet of Things – that is, sophisticated interconnected computing devices so small and cheap that they can be included in everything, even packaging.  What does it mean for everyday living when every single object can have its own computer that communicates via a super-powerful, super-connected internet?

But those are all the obvious links to High-Tech you are already probably familiar with.  Naturally it does not stop there.  The currently-unstoppable explosion of High-Tech drives fields that have far less historical links to computing.  Materials science is a big one.  That field is now being accelerated by High-Tech’s ability to conduct complex simulations of different molecular structures.  You may have heard that there are new materials in labs that offer very interesting conductivities and electrical storage capacities that could revolutionize how absolutely everything is powered.  But, well, that is only research so surely it is still a long way from being commercial…

Then again, although materials science does indeed develop far slower than, say, computing, because it is nevertheless being enabled by computers, the development-rate of new materials is still slowly exponential.  And slow exponential is just as counterintuitive in the way it appears suddenly to explode out of nowhere.  That is why some of the opportunities (especially those from unfamiliar areas) will be extra-hard to recognize in time.

And that was the good news.  There is some more news…