December 20, 2012

Perceived shocking developments and actual disruption and world impacting developments

This site has discussed the normal technology adoption cycle which takes years to decades for something new to scale up would normally provide some time for acclimation. People have coping mechanisms to prevent psychological shock and to help them prevent admitting that their world view was wrong.

People will also not bother to be precise about their claims and statements.

The moon landings were shocking to many people and then the effort to go to the moon was stopped. Quite a large number of people would then claim that the landings were faked. The lack of follow up also lets them dismiss space development as retro-futurism.

There are working flying cars and some are sold in special legal categories and a likely modest commercial success will come with the Terrafugia Transition. However, the small volume will let people dismiss this development. Even if flying cars had total units deployed of 500,000 this would not be considered the "promised future". 500,000 would still be more than the current world market for small planes. The volumes would be compared against cars which have 1 billion deployed. They would also need to be used for regular day to day commuting to be perceived as approaching what people hoped for.

If DARPA was successful with the development of its "flying humvee" with some robotic flight capabilities and if there was development of pocket airports then that could bring about a revolution in flight. The pocket airports and short takeoff and highly fuel efficient light planes (especially with UAV robotic control) would enable a societally impacting usage of air taxis.



People can see shocking technological developments like Broad Groups factory mass produced skyscrapers.



People disparage and criticize it.
It will lead to over building. Something built that fast cannot be safe.
The system is lower cost and can enable highly clean and safe living with more energy efficiency (less commuting), more common tall buildings for stronger economies. People do not bother to understand what it can do and what it could mean. One hundred years ago with the advent of elevators and the ability to build buildings 12 to 50 stories tall, many people also criticized the shift to those taller buildings and the impact and shift to a different urbanized lifestyle.

Broad Groups buildings have the potential to alter the cities we live in over the course of 20 years. If they achieve 30% of all commercial buildings and start making affordable and relatively common 200 to 600 story buildings, then the cities we live in will be changed as much as they were 100 years ago with elevators and steel framed buildings.

The day to day impact areas of our lives.
* Where we live. What do we see in the cities around us
* How we get around. Cars, horses, bikes, planes, trains, ships
* The people around us
* What we wear. Clothes, glasses, contact lens
* the devices we use for work and at home
* Our actual bodies. Our health, our strength, etc...
* Novel things

Most people have lower perception of
* Economies and wealth

* National power and politics
Note -people can deny and argue whether China's economic success is sustainable and the statistics are disputed by a factor of 2 or 3.

* Environment and climate

Possible impacts
* Where we live. What do we see in the cities around us
Broad Group factory mass produced skyscrapers
Domed buildings
Unusual new structures

* How we get around. Cars, horses, bikes, planes, trains, ships
Robotic cars
Hyperloop ?
Pocket airports
UAVs for transporting people ?

* The people around us
Exoskeletons
Regeneration
Tissue engineering
Gene therapy

* What we wear. Clothes, glasses, contact lens
Google Glass

* The devices we use for work and at home


* Our actual bodies. Our health, our strength, etc...

* Novel things
Wide scale adoption of robotics day to day. Beyond 5 to 10 million roombas and toy robots. Tablets on robot bodies (roombas with long necks). Rethink Robotics for robots that are easier to program and work with and lower cost than older robots.

Wide scale adoption of UAVs.


Broad and shallow impacts

The iPhone, smartphone and tablet developments have been adopted by hundreds of millions of people in only 6 years. This will likely impact 3-5 billion over the next 5 years. The impact of the mobile phone has already impacted commerce and capabilities of people in Africa and around the world. The shift from mobile phone to smartphone is less appreciated. Also, the shift from landline phone to mobile phone is less per person than when people had no phone at all and got landline phones.

The incremental impact can be less when society already has a pretty useful solution.

Deeper Impact

There could be significant impact like early detection and prevention of cancer. However, people will discount it. Eliminating polio is something that historians are aware of and it was celebrated when it happened but most people ignore it now. Pap smears for detecting cervical cancer is not widely appreciated. If we are able to have early detection and successful early intervention for lung cancer and prostate cancer and heart disease. The statistics will improve but it will rapidly fade to the expected norm.

Developments could boost a national economy by 20% (like information technology seems to have done in the 1980s and 1990s or the impact of shipping containers) but then it would discussed in academic papers and it would be tough to give the appropriate credit for what made the economy better.

Nuclear fusion could radically increase the available clean energy at lower cost (if it was developed with modular reactors and systems like Lawrenceville Plasma Physics might develop.)

Molecular nanotechnology - this will be denied and disparaged until it gets to a full fledged nanofactory that radically changes the world economy.

Life Extension (radical life extension is something that people can deny exists for many decades. People looking a little younger and aging slower is not easy to perceive. Full rejuvenation where someone 80 looks and has the health of someone 20 or 30 then that would not be as deniable. Although it would have to be more radical than really good current cosmetic surgery.)


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