Emergent Technology

complex systems, black swan, disruption, Moore's Law

It will seem inevitable after the fact, even though no one will see it coming. Something totally obvious, that no one quite expected in quite that way. Looking back at past world-changing technical innovations, it will probably be built out of a mish-mash of already existing tools and ideas, so the ingredients of the next tool that will upend the world are probably already here. Waiting.

There are entire industries dedicated to figuring out what that next big thing will be. But the one thing we know for sure, is we don't know. An analysis of "Gartner Hype Cycles" shows that most of the important technologies adopted since 2000 were not identified as such early on. Which again, is the sort of thing that's obvious when you think about it after the fact. If we could figure out the next innovation just by analyzing harder, we would have already figured it out.

So everyone deluging us with sales pitches and hype are quietly wincing with the certain knowledge that whatever the Next Thing ends up being, they probably aren't going to even see it coming. It is unsettling. But in a way, soothing. We're all more or less in the same boat, wondering what will happen next.

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