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18 Exponential Changes We Can Expect in the Year Ahead

MIT Technology Review 2018 Exponential

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Maximus

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18 Exponential Changes We Can Expect in the Year Ahead

 

This is the first year I am presenting predictions for the coming year. I've received some incredibly helpful comments from readers via Twitter. This has encouraged me to stick my head above the parapet.

 
Many trends, in particular the convergence of multiple technologies which are improving exponentially, continue. Climate change will continue to be a most pressing issue, especially as we eat our way through our carbon budget.
 
As Bill Gates said, "Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in 10 years." Likewise, most annual predictions overestimate what can occur in a year, and underestimate the power of the trend over time. 
 
Here are 18 areas which I think will be interesting to watch in the coming year.
I'm not sure if this article merits its own thread, but it didn't seem to fit in "Your 2018 Predictions" since it's not written by me.
 
Anyway, some of the predictions are very general and vague (i.e. prediction #1, #18), but others are pretty interesting. One particularly caught my attention, albeit not in a good way.
 

 

3. More money will flow into technology but it will be concentrated at later stages.

Following Softbank’s lead, funds bigger than $5 billion will abound now that the investment case of platform monopolies is well understood. These will seek to back emerging winners at a regional and global level (look at Careem and Didi Chuxing in ride sharing, for example). This may create funding gaps at earlier stages in the market, as already evidenced by the seed capital slowdown in Europe and the U.S.

I've heard of this trend before, and it's pretty worrying. That's one of the problems with private R&D; high-risk, very early stage technologies don't get much love from the private sector. Of course, this makes complete sense from a business standpoint: your investors likely don't want to wait around a few decades to reap their profits. Only once the tech has almost matured and is proven do we see the big sharks moving in.

 

Many of the exciting developments in technology that we hear about fit in to the category of "blue sky" research; unproven, early stage, and potentially a funding black hole. I can't say I'm happy that these technologies will be receiving less attention, as this will result in prettier Iphones, but not technologies like BCI.

 

Needless to say though, the overall increase in tech funding is a good thing.


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