5 Technologies Changing the World That My Parents Don’t Know About

I’ve spent the past week on a family vacation and have had a great time catching them up on technology news. For other people like them, here is a list of promising new technologies that are reshaping the world.

Personalized Medicine – Everyone responds differently to medical treatment, yet for hundreds of years our treatments have been uniform. Technical advancements in DNA sequencing, data analysis and stem cells are paving the way to treatments that are personalized. Not just giving someone a heart transplant, but regrowing a clone of their own heart. Not just finding a good medicine, but finding the exact dose, when it should be taken and what side effects to expect.

Drones (and robotics in general) – While we may associate these with the military, their applications in civilian life are a lot more interesting. Drones and robots will radically change how things are done. Transportation, package delivery, emergency response, law enforcement, infrastructure inspection and many other areas will see radical improvement. Check out this video of drones working together to throw a ball to get an idea of what is possible. Drones aren´t allowed in US airspace at the moment, but eventually that will change and the sky is the limit on what they´ll do.

Self-driving cars – Google and other car makers are working on technology that lets cars drive independently. This will save lives, save energy, eliminate parking concerns (the car can drop you off and go find a spot) and unlock additional productive time. Also, senseless drunk driving deaths will eventually be eliminated as human driven cars are replaced. Children being born today may never learn how to drive.

3D printing – This refers to the ability to make 3D objects by printing 1 layer of material at a time. Right now we can print different types of plastics and metals but the applications are mostly for hobbyists. As the machines get better, a major disruption in manufacturing will occur, especially for low volume products like replacement parts. Imagine being able to buy designs for products you want from the internet and being able to print them in your home or at a local 3D print shop.

Space travel & colonization – During the 15th century, advancements in ship technology enabled Europeans to explore further from their own shores, first around Africa to the Orient and then to the “New World”. They were motivated by their society´s demand for new resources and space. Today, we find ourselves in a very similar position. We´re running out of resources on this planet and technology is enabling us to explore further into space. Colonization and resource exploitation of the moon, Mars and asteroids isn´t a pipe dream, it´s a reality and big money from people like Elon Musk are betting that it´ll be realized sooner rather than later. Will people look back on these first space entrepreneurs as they do on Colombus and Cortes (minus the rape and pillaging, hopefully)?

5 Technologies Changing the World That My Parents Don’t Know About

Taking Back Problem Solving

Let’s take a trip down memory lane
With the game talker, native new yorker
Gators on my feet, formerly british walker
Yes love, that’s how it was before
When you was funky fresh or down by law
Parlay with your crew at the corner store
Carrying a boom box ’til your arms were sore
We be wildin’ on the corner free stylin’
Or politickin’ ’bout doe we see piling

– Big Daddy Kane (2 Da Good Tymz)

I’m super excited about the 10-10-10 initiative that Tom Higley is planning for this Fall in Denver. The premise is that 10 entrepreneurs will spend 10 days in Denver working on 10 “market opportunities”. In other words they’ll be trying to solve big problems.  Opening up a diverse set of market opportunities to leading entrepreneur’s  from across the country under such a time constraint will unleash some amazing innovations.

It formalizes something I love most about living in a “startup city”, which is open dialog and problem solving with other creative people. It’s a really natural process, and for entrepreneurs it happens very casually. Any problem we have is an opportunity to think of a solution. We’ve done a poor job integrating this type of open daydreaming into the creative problem solving process recently. We’re in the business of getting more done, faster, and we’ve all been rushing solutions.

By flipping the traditional incubator model of selecting teams and solutions on its head, Tom and a group of entrepreneurs are recreating this natural process into something fundable (with $500,000 in seed funding on the line). Which entrepreneur reading this wouldn’t want to be part of those brainstorming sessions? Knowing that there is cash and press behind selected teams raises the stakes and focuses everyone’s attention for 10 limited days on finding the right solution.

One thing I know for sure, we’ve got a lot of solutions in need of problems, it’s about time that we have an event focused on the problems first. If nothing else, we won’t be creating another “twitter toilet paper” app.

Taking Back Problem Solving