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Have We Reached the Technological End of History?

May 27, 2013, 12:00 PM
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Has technology reached some kind of steady state to the point where the opportunity to invest in incremental advances in technology is no longer really a good venture capital investment?  Have we reached the sort of end of history of technology?  I have a funny answer to that because there are a lot technologists who would point you to a series of waves, an S-curve: Every technology curve starts, it goes through a really steep curve and then it starts to flatten out. Then 20 years later we start on the next curve.

So you have the age of the original industrial revolution and then the age of steam and railways and then the age of steel and heavy engineering and then the age of automobiles and oil and mass production.  Then you have the age of information technology and you can say "Okay, so what’s next?"  You can say we’re going to end up in the age of genomics and all the action is going to be in the age genomics, and maybe that’s true. But I also think that if you look at it from an anthropological perspective instead of from a technical perspective, when you think about how humans have changed as a result of their relationship with technology and you look at much longer cycles.  You look at the hunter-gatherer cycle and then the agricultural cycle and then the industrial cycle and then the information cycle. And if you look at it that way and you start to think about the information cycle you can see sort of an end of history in which you know what is beyond information.

There are investors who get depressed and say "Okay, there is nothing more to invent, there is nothing more to invest in here," but I don’t think that’s the case at all.  I think that we’re just at the very, very beginning of watching the implications of being ubiquitously connected to everybody on the planet and what you can do with that.  

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

Image courtesy fo Shutterstock. 

 

Have We Reached the Technol...

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