Beyond Moore's Law: Five technologies that will change the future

IDG CEO Mike Friedenberg is watching the tech horizon and sees game-changing technologies in A.I., robotics, quantum computing and more.

In all the reading I do about the technology landscape and the future of the CIO role, I encounter every kind of punditry and industry analysis: the obvious, the erroneous and, occasionally, the exceptional. In Deloitte Consulting's 2015 technology trends report on "The Fusion of Business and IT," I found some exceptional ideas worth sharing.

This robust, 148-page report covers all sorts of technologies that are changing our world: ambient computing, dimensional marketing, software-defined everything. Smart but obvious insights about high-growth areas.

Another smart-but-obvious insight centers on the CIO becoming a "chief integration officer" who will harness "emerging disruptive technologies for the business while balancing future needs with today's operational realities." We write about those kinds of CIOs in the pages of this magazine today, in fact.

But the one section that really caught and held my attention was about what the Deloitte authors call the "Exponentials." These are the "innovations that are accelerating faster than the pace of Moore's law... technologies whose performance relative to cost (and size) doubles every 12 to 18 months." As business and technology leaders, we should watch the horizon for signs of these five "exponentials" in particular:

Artificial intelligence: A.I. is expected to augment human efforts in complex work and eventually replace humans for routine tasks.

Robotics: Having mastered menial tasks, robots will take on traditional knowledge work and real-time gathering and interpretation of data.

Additive manufacturing: Primarily with 3D printing in mind, I believe this will disrupt manufacturing in the same way the Internet disrupted media and publishing.

Industrial biology: There's controversial but powerful potential here to leverage digital technologies for manipulating DNA, splicing genes and controlling genomes.

Quantum computing: Still in its infancy, this largely theoretical field could one day usher in an era of almost unimaginable computing power. (Having a physics degree would help in understanding how real this one might actually be!)

I'd love to hear your thoughts on all this, so drop me a line anytime.

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