When Technologies Combine, Amazing Innovation Happens

FastCoexist: “Innovation occurs both within fields, and in combinations of fields. It’s perhaps the latter that ends up being most groundbreaking. When people of disparate expertise, mindset and ideas work together, new possibilities pop up.
In a new report, the Institute for the Future argues that “technological change is increasingly driven by the combination and recombination of foundational elements.” So, when we think about the future, we need to consider not just fundamental advances (say, in computing, materials, bioscience) but also at the intersection of these technologies.
The report uses combination-analysis in the form of a map. IFTF selects 13 “territories”–what it calls “frontiers of innovation”–and then examines the linkages and overlaps. The result is 20 “combinational forecasts.” “These are the big stories, hot spots that will shape the landscape of technology in the coming decade,” the report explains. “Each combinatorial forecast emerges from the intersection of multiple territories.”…

Quantified Experiences

Advances in brain-imaging techniques will make bring new transparency to our thoughts and feelings. “Assigning precise measurements to feelings like pain through neurofeedback and other techniques could allow for comparison, modulation, and manipulation of these feelings,” the report says. “Direct measurement of our once-private thoughts and feelings can help us understand other people’s experience but will also present challenges regarding privacy and definition of norms.”…

Code Is The Law

The law enforcement of the future may increasingly rely on sensors and programmable devices. “Governance is shifting from reliance on individual responsibility and human policing toward a system of embedded protocols and automatic rule enforcement,” the report says. That in turn means greater power for programmers who are effectively laying down the parameters of the new relationship between government and governed….”