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Saturday, October 2, 2021

The Next Industrial Revolution

It has taken an extra decade or three, but it looks like we're finally moving into the 21st century: COVID-19 vaccines were developed with messenger RNA rather than 1900s techniques, rockets are able to land rather than just splashdown into the ocean*, cars will soon drive themselves, renewable energy is dominating new deployments, energy storage is reaching industrial scale, AI can understand human speech, by 2030 the majority of new passenger vehicle sales will be electric...

Times they are a-changin'.

We recently looked at Moore's Law, Wright's Law, Swanson's Law, & Jevons Paradox. These are and will continue to accelerate the advancement of technology. This got me thinking, what will the next big revolution be? 

Here are several of the past revolutions: 

Historical Revolutions

Textile manufacturing 
Steam engine
Steele production
Automobiles
Electrification, electric lighting 
Telecommunications
Transatlantic communications
Home appliances
Computers 
Satellites 
The Internet / broadband 
Smartphones 
Datacenter / cloud

Rarely does a revolution come out of nowhere. Rather, the innovation exists, it is just constrained by something such as cost or producibility. So to see what's coming, let's look at the things that exist, but are somewhat nascent.

The Next Wave 

Using this lens, the things to watch include:
3D Printing
Energy Storage 
Renewable Energy 
"Affordable" Space Access
Artificial General Inteligence (AGI)
Autonomous Robots / Self Driving Cars 
Blockchain
Cryptocurrency / Fin-tech
Nanotech
Biotech / Genomics 
Human Brain Interfacing 


Certainly, all of the items on this Next Wave list are here to some extent today. The question is which one(s) will find the killer app? Which one (or more) will become ubiquitous? 
 
What do you think is missing from the list and which ones do you think will be the next big thing?

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