Harry S. Dent | Wednesday, February 13, 2013 >>
Working until we’re 100…
Retiring for 20 years after that…
Robots cleaning our homes, baby-sitting our kids, and nursing our elderly…
No more greenhouse gases clogging up the air… or holes in the ozone layer giving people skin cancer…
Plaque-clogged arteries and cholesterol-lowering diets only something they worried about at the turn of the century.
Printing a product into existence…
Storing music and videos (and any other data we could imagine) onto our DNA…
Sounds like something out of an up-and-coming Star Trek movie. It’s not. This is the reality we face in the decades ahead because the next technology revolution, set to sweep the globe and change our lives, is as predictable as the sunrise tomorrow…
You see, technology undergoes surges of innovations every 28 to 30 years. First people create new technology that is very niche. Typically it’s very expensive or cumbersome and only the rich, the eccentric or adventurous play with it.
Then, as the technology advances people begin to adopt it in greater numbers because they know someone who knows someone who’s tried it and it’s great.
So the technology develops further and more people use it until eventually it explodes into the mainstream where everyone and their dog is using it and people can’t remember what life was like without it.
And when it moves mainstream, that’s when it has major impacts on our economic growth, productivity and our standard of living.
We call this cycle the S-Curve… and it’s what happened to electrical appliances, cars, cell phones, GPS systems, computers, laptops, the Internet – you name it – throughout history.
Personal computers and cell phones first emerged into the mainstream in the 1980s. Their big bang came between 1994 and 2008 when the Internet and broadband moved into the mainstream on an S-Curve projection and amplified their impact (something we predicted way back in 1993 when we wrote The Great Boom Ahead).
This is what it looks like…
And I expect the next technological revolution to break into the mainstream around 2023 and 2037.
That’s when we’ll see things like nanotechnologies and DNA data storage reshape our economy and give aging, wealthy nations another shot at economic growth, just like Ray Kurzweil (the best long-term technology forecaster) has been predicting.
Biotech will ultimately allow us to replace organs and extend our useful and working lifespans to age 120 or longer. It could also rewrite the books on medicines and surgery.
Our life expectance went from age 47 in 1900 to 80 in just over one century. People who live longer: earn, learn and return longer.
Robotics will help replace the dearth of younger workers in aging societies, especially in the developed world. Already, Japan – the old-age home of the world – is leading the way in robotics because they have little hope without it.
Nanotechnologies will produce materials and energy out of thin air. This will likely be the last arena to see mainstream breakthroughs, but it’ll be the most powerful. This revolution could ultimately solve our pollution problems so we can stop raping the environment to produce and consumer basic materials.
And yes, breakthroughs in data storage will almost certainly come from using the principles of DNA rather than today’s hard drives, while 3D printing will allow companies to customize more products at lower costs.
Luckily for us, this 28- to 30-year technological and innovation revolution cycle coincides with the rise in spending of the Echo Boomers as they reach their peak spending years.
That makes now the time to start looking for those wild-eyed mechanics, like Ford, or those bespectacled technologists, like Gates. Now is the time to start positioning yourself to turn a small investment into billions of dollars as the new fringe technologies head mainstream.
P.S. I chatted with Maria Bartiromo on CNBC yesterday, at 4:10. If you missed it, listen to it now. Very interesting, as always.
Ahead of the Curve with Adam O’Dell
Harry and I see the world in much the same way: there’s a fundamental, natural rhythm to it. Environmental systems… economies… markets… all flip-flop between periods of expansion and contraction.
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