Bill Gates once said:
‘Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years’
Technology is a bit like this.
At first a wave of optimism greets a big discovery. Endless possibilities are theorised. And hyped up investors start counting the imminent riches coming their way.
But then the furore dies down.
The hard work of actual research begins. A long, slow, tedious process.
The hype falls away, along with share prices.
And people generally forget about them and move on.
But slowly over many years, the technology starts to re-appear in the world. At first quietly, before finally delivering on its initial promise.
This can take years, decades even.
Knowing this is half the battle in investing in technology companies. Then you can plan accordingly, develop watch lists and try to avoid the FOMO (fear of missing out) hype.
Today I want to share with you three technologies I think will be game changers over the next decade.
You’ll probably have heard of all of them at some point.
But you might not realise just how huge they could be…
Rise of the biohackers
Ever got to November and suddenly realised summer was around the corner and perhaps it was time you got in shape?
Unfortunately for most of us, going to the gym every day isn’t easy.
Well, ‘king of the biohackers’ Josiah Zayner recently tried out a novel new solution.
He injected his arm with a CRSPR recipe to block a gene called myostatin. Babies born with this gene defect come out looking like little body builders because they have no myostatin to inhibit muscle growth.
Now this was a ridiculously stupid thing to do.
Gene technologies are still in the early stage of development.
But that’s his thing.
After taking new gene editing technologies like CRSPR and trying them out on himself, his company apparently racked up US$500,000 in revenue last year. And Josh is now a celebrity in the growing phenomenon of biohacking.
The technology of gene editing — exemplified by CRSPR, is a potential game changer over the next decade.
CRSPR arrived on the scene in 2012 to much fanfare. But it’s been bogged down in research and some legal stoushes around patent ownership.
The potential of the technology is just too good to go away. The ability to edit your DNA opens up amazing possibilities, from curing cancer to repairing hereditary gene defects.
It really is a fascinating sector to watch.
And in 10 years it might even help you tone up for summer.
I don’t know if you remember the Jamiroquai hit song, ‘Virtual Insanity’. It’s a catchy little number that came out on the back of an early 90s mini boom in virtual reality (VR).
But back when the song came out in 1996, VR was a pretty terrible user experience.
In the early 1990s, countless arcades and cinemas were populated with hulking virtual reality pods.
From the outside it looked like fun.
Until you got in a pod and put a headset on…
Kyle Fowle describes the experience:
‘As you strapped on the headset, which was twice the size of your head and just as heavy and unbalanced, you could feel the other players that had come before you, their sucrose-laden sweat working its way into your pores.
‘Blasted onto your eyes was a 3D world of prehistory or fantasy — a potentially riveting experience if not for the lingering smell of popcorn and the somewhat audible fizz of carbonated soda dispensers in the background.
‘Three minutes later you stumbled out of the pod, an attendant wearily guiding your now vertigo-ravaged body away from the machine, praying that your vomit would subdue itself until you rounded the corner to Cinema #8.’
The VR boom swiftly turned into a VR bust.
Thankfully we’ve come a long way since then.
And today’s new boom in VR tech might actually stick this time.
The front runner right now is the Facebook owned Oculus Go. It could be the first VR headset to achieve mass adoption.
And it appears the ‘killer app’ might be the obvious — watching TV and movies in VR.
The company is developing a trio of apps — Oculus Gallery, Oculus TV and Oculus Venues, designed to turn your headset into the device of choice to watch shows and movies, look at photos and tune into concerts and sports.
That’s just the start though.
In the future, workplace conferences, holidays, real estate viewings, meetings with financial planners, even — ahem, virtual girlfriends…might all take place in the virtual world.
When time is your most valuable resource, the ability to transport yourself anywhere in the world (or even off world) in an instant becomes an attractive idea to a lot of people.
And the tech has finally caught up with the early potential.
What else but blockchain?
Or more accurately, the decentralisation of data enabled by blockchain technologies.
This is a complete paradigm shift in how the world operates.
No longer will you need to trust centralised companies to store and transfer your data. In the next decade this power will be under your control.
It will change the existing order of business. No one knows how it will end up looking. But it will definitely shake things up.
But what especially interests me is the creation of a new form of enterprise – the Digital Autonomous Organisation (DAO).
This form of enterprise has never been possible before.
A DAO is a business or organisation whose decisions are made electronically by computer code or through the vote of its members. In essence, it is a system of hard coded rules that define which actions an organization will take.
I find this very interesting.
We could have companies without CEOs or hierarchies.
A DAO structure could completely replace the functions of companies such as Dropbox, Kickstarter, Uber and Amazon and get rid of their ‘inefficient’ human managers.
Former bitcoin contributor, Mike Hearn, believes that ‘30 years from now, Bitcoin will be the structure to power organizations without leaders.’
The creator of ethereum, Vitalik Buterin said ‘There is a lot of intermediaries that end up charging 20–30%, if the concept of decentralization takes off and does well, those fees are going to decline to almost zero’.
2028 is not as far away as you think. It will be fascinating to watch. And profitable if you can invest correctly.
Contributing Editor, Tech Insider