Vivek Wadhwa, Singularity University’s vice president of academics and innovation.
Vivek Wadhwa, a Stanford University fellow, and vice president of academics and innovation at Singularity University, stands at the crossroads of the future of nearly every industry business and arts and science has to offer. At the World of Business Innovation event he painted a vivid portrait of 14 freaky technologies just around the corner.
“This doesn’t require any new breakthroughs,” he said. “It only requires that we’re on the same path we’re on.” Here is a timeline of the technologies Wadhwa says will completely change the world we live in.
- In four to five years, your iPhone will be able to connect to services that can sequence the human genome for just “hundreds” of dollars.
- In about five years, we will have the first self-driving cars on our roads.
- Soon, drones will deliver pizza and Starbucks, and in 10 years, they’ll be delivering us.
- In 10 to 15 years we’ll be debating about using surgeons and dentists on human beings.
- In 15 years, he said, “We will be debating whether humans should be allowed to drive. We will be wondering why we ever allowed human beings to drive.”
- In 15-20 years, we’ll be 3D printing electronics, which he said will completely remove the need to outsource. He also said as of this year, thanks to robots, its already cheaper to manufacture in the United States than to export labor.
- Exoskeletons: “I’m talking about physically enhancing human beings,” he said.
- Epidermal electronics and tattoos that work as telephones: “Soon we’ll have tattooed sensors in our bodies, we’ll have embedded sensors on our teeth.”
- Sensors will be “everywhere.”
- “Robots are becoming our companions,” he said. “We will soon have robots serving us and looking after us.”
- He said massive open online classes (MOOCs) are in the same developmental place that television was in its early years, when we just gave a mic to someone and recorded what happened. Expect similar developments in online education that we saw in television.
- “Not only will the beggars have cell phones,” he said. “But they’ll have 3D printers to be able to produce their own food and they’ll be able to 3D print houses.”
- “We’ll have 3D printers printing 3D printers and supercomputers designing supercomputers.”
- He also said that concern over Google Glass will soon be irrelevant. “What happens when you can’t even see it because it’s imbedded in your retina?” he asked.
The principle at play that Wadhwa says will allow such rapid development of these technologies is what the co-founder of Singularity University, Ray Kurzweil, calls “exponentially growing technologies.” The best known instance of this principal is Moore’s Law, named after one of the founders of Intel, which states that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years. Kurzweil says that any technology which becomes information technology is subject to a similar law.
‘The bottom line is that entrepreneurs can do what only governments and big industries could do before,” said Wadhwa.
He said his crowdfunded, crowd-authored book, Innovating Women, about women getting involved in the global innovation economy, which raised $46,260 on Indiegogo last June, will be coming out in the next three to four months, with two others in the works to follow.