Why? Because no fewer than nine technological trends—semiconductors, data storage, bandwidth, genomics, gene sequencing, robotics, nanotechnology, brain scanning and scientific knowledge—are doubling anywhere from every 6 to 18 months.
To put this in some perspective, consider the following examples.
If the military is currently deploying 1000 robots in Afghanistan but the number is doubling every year by 2020 that means there will be one million robots deployed in the country. This will change warfare as we know it.
If Wal-Mart is currently deploying 1 million RFID (radio frequency identification) tags but that number is doubling every year this suggests by 2020 that there will be 1 billion RFID tags deployed. This will fundamentally transform the global supply chain management system.
And if gene sequencing equipment can today translate one billion sequences every few hours (at an estimated cost of $20,000) but the technology is doubling year year, this implies we will be able to translate one trillion genes an hour by 2020. If this comes to pass, sequencing your genome will not only take minutes it will cost pennies on the dollar. Such a change could radically transform how we treat disease and will have profound implications for both the health care and the pharmaceutical industries.
A million, a billion and a trillion might not seem that different (perhaps because they rhyme) but here’s one way to think of the change coming our way:
One million seconds was 12 days ago;
One billion seconds was 32 years ago;
One trillion seconds takes us back to the year 30,000 B.C.
My advice? Buckle up because your future is about to expand in a million, a billion and a trillion different directions.