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Future Of Tech: Navigating Uncertainty & Planning For Prosperity

Predicting the future is a business unto itself with pundits, futurists, scientists, engineers, and more constantly sharing their musings of the future. And this business has incredible implications on society - whether the predictions manifest or not.

For example, take a look at just one survey of the future: the 1970 McGraw-Hill Survey of Technological Breakthroughs. As expected, the experts had hits and misses.

They got it right regarding technologies that were understandable and gaining adoption at the time of the survey, such as the expansion of plastics in various applications, widespread use of electronics in patient monitoring, electric vehicles and the use of computers in business. The more complicated the technology under consideration, the less accurate the predictions were. For example, there was no wide scale adoption of 3D TVs by 1980, a cure for cancer by 1990, automated piloted vehicles by 2000, nor a cashless society by 2010.

What’s the takeaway? Predicting the future of technology is often an extrapolation of the past and current technical trends; however, forecasters can’t know everything and will miss game-changing technologies and their implications. For example, while those in the survey anticipated the widespread deployment of computers in business and manufacturing, they underestimated Gordon Moore’s 1965 prediction, and how Moore’s Law put computers into the hands of billions of people around the world.

Predicting the future of technology is far more difficult today than a half century ago. With so much change and convergence happening rapidly, how could anyone asked to predict the future of technology today anticipate when a game-changer would emerge and disrupt industries and our way of life?

Read the full piece here.

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