An Introduction To Emerging Technology

What Is Technology?’

“The application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes.”


  • Wheel.
  • Fire.
  • Gun powder.
  • Automobile.
  • Telephone.
  • Light bulb.
  • Gutenberg press.
  • Antibiotics.
  • Television.
  • Computer.
  • Internet.
  • And many, many more…

Why Is Technology Important To Society?

…That makes life easier?

However: “A new device merely opens a door; it does not compel one to enter.” -Lynn White

What Is The History Of Technology?

  • A revolution is the overthrow of current order in favour of something new.
  • A technological revolution is the overthrow of current technology in favour of new technology.
  • One technology is replaced by another technology.

“We might define a technological revolution as a dramatic change brought about relatively quickly by the introduction of some new technology.” – Nick Bostrom

  • The emergence of new technologies arguable could shift from one revolution to another.
  • Technology is developed based on prior technology.
  • Transport offers several examples; from sailing to steam ships to automobiles replacing horse-based transportation.

A technological revolution has two features:

  1. Interconnectedness and interdependence between technologies and society.
  2. The capacity to transform society.

It could be based on:

  1. Sector – use of booking software for taxis; or
  2. Society could be ubiquity of smart devices.
  3. Etc…

Some Examples Of Revolutions:

  1. (1600–1740) Financial-agricultural revolution
  2. (1780–1840) Industrial revolution
  3. (1870–1920) Technical revolution (or Second Industrial Revolution)
  4. (1940–1970) Scientific-technical revolution
  5. (1985–present) Information and telecommunications revolution
  • Each of these periods follow a Kondratiev wave
  • Boom and bust cycles of approximately 50 year periods.
  • Similar to the Business or Economic Cycles.

We are now in Age the Information Revolution which disruptive technology features heavily.

What Is Disruptive Technology?

  • Disruptive technology coined by Clayton M. Christensen in Disruptive Technologies: Catching the Wave.
  • Like other technological revolutions, disruptive technologies (new markets and value networks) eventually disrupts existing technologies, displacing established market leaders.
  • Revolutionary technologies, such as new inventions are not inherently disruptive as we’ll see later with 6Ds.
  • Automobiles were luxury items compared to horse-drawn vehicles.
  • Ford Model T was the first mass produced automobiles that made them affordable to the mass market.
  • Sometimes the business model (diffusion etc.) is what helps with disruption rather than the technology.

What Is Exponential Technology?

“A technology that follows an exponential growth curve.”

  • Linear Vs Exponential • Linear is an increase by single, straight, sequential steps.
  • 1 2 3 4 5 etc.
  • Exponential is an increase that becomes more and more rapid by way of a mathematical exponent.
  • 1 2 4 8 16 etc.

Exponential Growth

  • Exponential Growth is characterised by Moore’s Law: “The observation that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years.” • Commonly observed in computing.
  • Moore’s Law been true for 50 years since inception

Technological Singularity

“Singularity” coined by John von Neumann in 1950s.

  • A technological revolution that will cause exponential and accelerated change that will result in a new society, a singularity or singular point in time.
  • The technology will be Artificial Intelligence.
  1. Begin self-improvement cycles via software.
  2. Will become more and more intelligent.
  3. Resulting in a super intelligence.
  4. That will surpass human intelligence.
  5. Will be the “Singularity” predicted for 2040.
  6. Hypothesised the end of human Age.
  7. And the start of Artificial Intelligence Age.

What Is Emerging Technology?

“A new technology being developed.”


  • Automobile.
  • Electricity.
  • Telephone.
  • And many, many more…

Coming Of Age:

  • Computer.
  • Internet.
  • And many, many more…


  • Nano technology.
  • Artificial Intelligence.
  • Virtual Reality.
  • And many, many more…

How Does Technology Infiltrate Society?

How technologies enters into society.

  • Occurs in tandem with social and human elements – regulations, politics, industry, social norms, user behaviour etc.
  • “Diffusion is the process by which a new idea, product, service or solution is accepted by users.”
  • “Adoption is the process by which users accept a new idea, product, service or solution.”
  • “Rate of diffusion is the speed with which the new idea spreads from one consumer to the next.”

Types Of Diffusion Of Technology

  1. 6Ds of Disruption.
  2. Hype Cycle.
  3. Technology Adoption Lifecycle.
  4. Technology Development Lifecycle.
  5. Technology Acceptance Model.
  6. And many, many more…

6Ds Of Disruption

Technology development may now follow:

  1. Digitization.
  2. Deception.
  3. Disruption.
  4. Demonization.
  5. Dematerialization.
  6. Democratization.
  • Like a chain reaction.
  • They provide a Road Map for potential future technologies.
  • We are now in Age the Information Revolution which disruptive technology features heavily and rapidly increase.

Four/Six Horsemen of the Apocalypse

  • The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are described by John of Patmos in his Book of Revelation, the last book of the New Testament.
  • God summoned four beings that ride out on white, red, black, and pale horses.
  • The horses represent Infection, War, Famine, and Death.
  • They are Gods’ final judgment on society.
  • The 6Ds of Technological Disruption could be described as the “Six Horsemen of the Apocalypse” for Information Age society.


  • Physical to Digital.
  • Physical is Linear.
  • Bit to Bytes.
  • Represented by 0s and 1s.
  • Replicated at the speed of light (or the internet currently).
  • Free reproduce and share.

A Kodak Moment

  • In January 2012, Eastman Kodak Company filed for bankruptcy in New York and one month later, Kodak announced it would cease manufacturing cameras.
  • How could this have happen to an iconic brand with market dominance?
  • What a way to end a chapter in photographic history!
  • Especially when Kodak had transformed photography by providing the means of taking photographs by everyone.
  • This was probably best captured by the Google-it-esque slogan, “a Kodak moment.”
  • But Kodak was caught out in time and for whatever reason their executives did not understand that the world was changing and companies where being disrupted – their market, their customers habits, their revenue streams and their technology.
  • “Digital” is the iceberg, the unseen force, that is sure to sink many other corporate Titanic’s in the future.

Andreessen Horowitz

  • Marc Andreessen co-authored the world’s first web browser, Mosaic, co-founder of Netscape and general partner of Andreessen Horowitz.
  • Andreessen Horowitz is a US$4 Billion dollar Venture Capital firm in Silicon Valley, which has invested in companies such as Facebook, AirBnB, BuzzFeed, Groupon, Foursquare, Oculus Rift, Pinterest, Skype, Twitter and a raft of others…
  • With this portfolio, Andreessen knows a thing or two about digital disruption.

In 2011 he wrote a piece on digital disruption in The Wall Street Journal called Why Software Is Eating The World in which he gave a grave prediction:

“Over the next 10 years, I expect many…industries to be disrupted by software.” -Marc Andreessen

Is Software Really The Problem?

Software is only one of these threats.

We have exponential digital technologies that offer similar pressure to legacy brands:

  • Robotics;
  • 3D printing;
  • Energy storage;
  • Mobile internet;
  • Nano technology;
  • Synthetic biology;
  • Cloud computing;
  • Advanced materials;
  • Artificial intelligence;
  • Networks & sensors;
  • Autonomous vehicles;
  • Personalized genomics;
  • And many, many more…


  • Digital advancements go unnoticed at the beginning because doubling is miniscule.
  • 0.125 to 0.25 to 0.5 to 1 to 2 etc.
  • This digital advancement is commonly mistaken for linear technological growth and thus ignored by the majority.
  • Doubling of advancement becomes noticed but too late.
  • Now has the ability to disrupt an existing market or create new market.
  • Companies like Kodak.


  • The product, service or solution becomes free.
  • No one buys film any more.


  • The product, service or solution disappears.


  • Hard costs drop and becomes ubiquitous so everyone can use the technology
  • A logical extension of Demonization and Dematerialization.

Hype Cycle

  • Developed by market research company Gartner.

How emerging technologies mature through five phases:

  1. Technology Trigger
  2. Peak of Inflated Expectations
  3. Trough of Disillusionment
  4. Slope of Enlightenment
  5. Plateau of Productivity

You’ve been TechCrunch’ed!

Technology Adoption Lifecycle

5 Phases

  1. Innovators 2.5%
  2. Early Adoptors – 13.5%
  3. Early Majority – 34%
  4. Late Majority – 34%
  5. Laggards – 16%

How new ideas, products, services or solutions are adopted according to demographic and psychological characteristics of certain groups.

The spread is done through:

  • The technology itself.
  • 5 social groups.
  • Their communication channels.
  • Time.

Crossing The Chasm

  • Mass adoption will create a self-sustaining critical mass.
  • However, Geoffrey Moore added a chasm, being the most difficult step for adoption.
  • Technologies that do not cross the chasm, die!

Technology Development Lifecycle

Four Phases:

  1. Research & Development.
  2. Ascent.
  3. Maturity.
  4. Decline.
    • Licence.

Many new technologies require much R&D and have inherent product, market and Intellectual Property risk.

They are generally not profitable from the outset and take time to develop, not to mention later marketing and business costs.

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