Jack Uldrich
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Exaptation and the Future

Posted in Convergence, Future, Futurist, Health Care


The word “exaptation” refers to the idea whereby an innovation in one field leads unexpectedly to another innovation. To better understand the idea, consider Gutenberg’s printing press–it combined ink, paper, moveable type and, surprisingly, the machinery of the wine press.

It is impossible to predict the future but I do think you can stay one step ahead by incorporating this idea of exaptation into your thinking. For example, consider how new advances in material science and nanotechnology might soon combine with continued advances in supercomputing, open-source ed-inform.net and rapid prototype manufacturing (3D printing). Could the result be a new revolution in manufacturing, perhaps, one even as big as the revolution caused by the printing press? The answer, in my opinion, is yes.

I don’t know what exactly exaptation will bring but I do know it will require adaptation–and unlearning.

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