Nearly two years ago, Marc Andreessen famously stated that “software is eating the world”. At the time, I excitedly agreed. Software companies were all the rage in Silicon Valley. In fact, I still agree with the premise. I love my mobile apps as much as the next person. Software is indeed changing entire industries. But I think there’s something even more exciting happening and our course is changing a bit. Companies like Kickstarter and Indiegogo are giving physical products a second-wind.
Here are five technologies that I’m really optimistic about.
- 3D Printers
- Self-driving Cars
- Google Glass (and other wearable technology)
I’m sure other list-worthy innovations will emerge in the coming years, but I’m really excited to see what evolves from this list in the coming years. Imagine using a 3D printer to affordably produce your own prosthetics at home. Imagine your grandmother ordering groceries from her iPad and having them delivered by Drone half an hour later. Think about how many cars we could remove from production if we can get better utilization out of every car on the road. (You could just summon a self-driving car when you need to go somewhere rather than keep an unused car sitting in the driveway 90% of the time.)
You’ll notice that I’ve included Bitcoins in this list. While Bitcoin isn’t a physical product, I think it will have a dramatic impact on the ability of other physical innovations to emerge. (Crypto-currencies are still in their infancy and Bitcoin is, by no means, the only game in town. Having said that, it’s branding and momentum give it the best leg-up to become a standard.) If-and-when crypto-currencies really take off, I think we’ll see huge technological and political ripple effects that are difficult to anticipate right now.
Am I missing anything huge? What do you think will emerge in the next 5 years?
(Photo courtesy of Yann via Flickr)