March 11, 2015

Reaching towards the future

Reaching towards the future. Credit: Mateusz Jaszac / Flickr Creative Commons

Entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa believes technology is going to transform our world...quickly. “It’s not one, but several fields that are advancing exponentially, everything from artificial intelligence, robotics, 3D printing, nanotechnology, synthetic biology. And they’re all converging. The result is going to be change like you’ve never seen before. The last fifteen years will seem slow, compared to what the next fifteen years will be.”

So, if you’re excited about the new iteration of the iPhone, just wait until you can construct a piece of food from a 3D printer.

Here’s a preview of the innovations that Wadhwa says will be game-changers:

Self-Driving cars

Ed and Eddie // Flickr Creative Commons

“Within five years, we will have fully autonomous self-driving cars. Within ten years, we will be debating whether we should have humans on the roads at all. Within fifteen years, we will ban human beings from our major roads and highways.”

AI Medical Assistants

“Imagine eating that extra piece of cheesecake, and getting an SMS, your phone vibrating saying ‘abort abort abort, you better not do that.’”

3D Printing

3D Printing

“Move forward fifteen years, and we may be printing low-level electronics.”

But all this technological change might lead to a bit of future shock. Especially if, in this sci-fi future filled with nanotech and robots, you don’t have a job. We've talked about the so-called jobless future before, and Wadhwa thinks that it’s going to happen sooner than we think. “Frankly I can’t see what the majority of jobs will be [in the near future]. Manufacturing jobs will disappear because of robotics, and then the robotics jobs will disappear because of 3D printing. We will need less doctors, we won’t need taxi drivers, we won’t need human beings in pharmacies or supermarkets. It will all be automated.”

Worried? So is Wadhwa, who believes that most people aren’t ready for such radical change. Technology has disrupted previously stable industries before, but never as quickly or as thoroughly as it will in the next fifteen years. According to him, it’s a matter of preparing for the inevitable, making sure that as many jobs as possible are created before automation takes them away. And Wadhwa wants those jobs created in America, which is why he’s so disappointed by America’s broken immigration system, especially in regards to skilled labor.

innovation hub, Vivek Wadhwa, 3D printing, technology, pri

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