Why Most Underestimate The Impact Technology Will Make

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Have you ever noticed how most forecasts, especially when it comes to technology, underestimate the impact?

Take someone who is looking out into the future. They make a prediction about a certain technology and, like most forecasts, it is wrong. However, the trend, with technology, seems to be to not realize the full impact of what can take place.

This is something we see in the blockchain/cryptocurrency world. People are looking at things with disbelief at some of the forecasts. Of course, most of these center around the price of tokens when the shift is, indeed, much bigger than just that.

The answer to all of this can be summed up in the idea of linear versus exponential thinking. Here is a chart that illustrates this concept.

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Of course, this is nothing new yet most people do not fully internalize what it means. While they will acknowledge it on an intellectual level, even agreeing with it, they simply return to their linear approach to things. It is how we were reared by evolution, thus it is very difficult to break.

The challenge is that linear thinking makes things seem absurd. However, the reality is that we saw a lot of cases where the absurd is exactly what happened.

For example, in 2007, would it be absurd to say that within 7 years, smartphones would be used by 70% of the American mobile phone population? When the fist IPhone was introduced, this would have been an outlandish claim. Yet that is exactly what happened.

Elon Musk is known for his claims. Many laugh at him on social media. His latest is that Tesla will sell 20 million vehicle in a year, by 2030. For a company that just racked up 500K in annual sales, that is absurd. After all, the competition, companies that build cars for 100 years, are not going to allow that to happen.

Bookmark this post and see how close things get in 2030. I would not bet against Musk attaining that goal.

The reason: Musk fully understands the power of exponential activities. Nothing he does is with the intention of growing on a linear scale. In financial terms, this is called compounding.

Most are familiar with a chart that looks like this. It is the difference between linear and compounding trajectories.

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When placed on a numerical scale, we can easily see the difference. This is exactly what happens with technology.

It is why Facebook, in less than 20 years, was able to get near 3 billion users globally. This is also the reason why companies can go from nothing to a billion dollar entity in a couple of years. In the digital world, growth rates can go off the charts.

So when a guy like Musk makes the statement about having 20 million cars sold in a year, it is something to listen to. He understands engineering and manufacturing. The company is also becoming very adept at factory building. All of this leads to generating even greater production.

And it all leads to an even larger economies of scale.


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Going back to the smartphone, the reason why it was such a massive success is because of convergence. This is when multiple technologies are brought together. In this instance, we saw the combining of mobile phones, the Internet and computing. When put together, at that time, it was an instant success.

Each area had its own growth rate. Yet, in less than a decade, more people started accessing the Internet via a mobile device than using a desktop. That is how powerful exponential impacts are.

What other ideas are out there that will do the same thing? This is the major challenge for technological forecasters. One thing we know, computing power is getting more powerful and communication systems are becoming faster.

This will impact a number of areas. Autonomous cars (back to Musk again it seems) is one area that comes to mind. The significance of edge computing can be seen here. We are going to see 5G networks used to enable autonomous vehicles to operate seamlessly without interaction to the cloud. Obviously, there will be that connection for sending and receiving data since that is where the training of the AI will be. However, for the driving activities, that will be handled at the vehicle level.

For this to take place, we need progress not only with the communication system but also sensors, AI chips, and image recognition. Each of these area, whatever benefits they have, will be compounded when tied together.

We are going to see this is a number of areas going forward. Energy, transportation, medicine/health, and food are all going to see similar results. It will not be just one thing that improves each area but a culmination of different technologies.

That is why the 2020s, and beyond, are primed to be an explosive decade and change how society operates in many ways.


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I find the companies ARK invest in always makes me believe in the future. They are modelling the way that technology can be used in the future. Of course this includes Tesla and I can definitely see how production can grow exponentially. Currently their processes are linear but I fully expect them to go exponential in the future.

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ARK is kicking ass because they think differently. That does not mean they will always be right yet it does give them enormous insight into what is happening in the world. This is obviously showing up in their returns. They get into things long before they reach the elbow of the exponential curve.

Tesla is just one of the more successful examples. I am sure in 5 years we will have a number more from ARK funds.

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New tech in nature will change the way people do some activities. Recently, crypto is a new financial system. In the era 90s banking industry led financial services but today, the bank tech will be replace by decentralized financial system. Let's see in the three or five years what crypto sphere will be

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Change is coming but there are still a lot of people that are not too excited by the changes which are already in place let alone the future ones. So it's gonna be a bumpy ride.

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Change is coming but there are still a lot of people that are not too excited by the changes which are already in place let alone the future ones.

Very true. My view/hope is that the changes are coming so fast and at such an exponential rate that there will be a steamroller effect that forces people, governments, businesses to accept the changes. "Adapt or die" is a harsh way to put it but there is a truth to that statement.

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Here Here.

We all can hope for that and do what we can to push it forward. Being involved in crypto is the first step in the process. We must also do all we can to advocate the decentralized, non Big Tech applications.

Looking forward to Leofinance's microblogging app...that is really going to offer a decent alternative to what we have taking place out there.

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We all can hope for that and do what we can to push it forward. Being involved in crypto is the first step

I had been futilely searching for a few years to find a way to help change things. Starting Steem/Hive and earning and learning about crypto started to lift the fog...

We must also do all we can to advocate the decentralized, non Big Tech applications.

and being able to start understanding and embrace decentralization made my path forward crystal clear.

Bring on the microblogging. :)

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That is the biggest hindrance to adoption of technology. It moves a lot quicker than people's willingness to embrace it.

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That is why the 2020s, and beyond, are primed to be an explosive decade and change how society operates in many ways.

Agree with you, there are people who are constantly looking at the present and people who are trying to look beyond and trying to project into the future. The predictions can be wrong but the attitude is the right one because it is always an active attitude while believing that everything will remain exactly as it is now is the opposite.

I read your article with pleasure and I too am curious to see if Musk will sell millions of cars before 2030 but I certainly do not laugh at his statement and I think it will be difficult but not impossible...

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Considering I think he will be over a million in 2021, as long as the global economy is not shut down, then I am betting he will be well on his way.

If he can do 1 million this year and then double it next, he will be primed to really ascend.

Nevertheless, the energy division is actually the most interesting.

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I really admire that Musk really set the bar high when it comes to goals. And, more than that, he puts his money where his mouth is. The guy literally wants to colonize another planet and he is allocating a lot of resources to that goal.

Is he gonna create a colony on Mars or get Tesla up to 20 million sales by 2030? I don't know, but I'm sure he is gonna do everything in his power to make that happen and, even if he doesn't achieve 100% of these goals, he will have changed the world forever in the process.

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The colony on Mars is a bit further down the road. I think he laid out 2050 for that but I might be mistaken.

He certainly is going for it, that is for sure.

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It is encouraging to read the ideas of Elon Musk.
The words of the brave can change the world.

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We are in a process of transition to a fully automated life and managed from your mobile, as you explain in your publication, years ago no one believed that you could unite so many things in a mobile. Now we are sure that our life can be controlled from the palm of our hands.

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People most often paint the future with old and dated colors. I used to do the same a while ago. Future needs to be envisioned and guessed and not just a replica of the past. Such thinking got me into changing my whole crypto portfolio from scratch. There's new stuff that has much more perspective than my loved ones so I had to ditch the old.

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That is true. There is little doubt that people have to let go of old ideas.

For example, does anyone write and post letters anymore? 25 years, few heard of, let alone used, email.

Today, we have hundreds of ways of communicating.

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I think Musk has dropped the ball at Tesla as they are way behind on the battery it seems. This could seriously jeopardize Tesla as without a decent battery you don't have a sellable product.

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And there there are others who say that Tesla is still 3-5 years ahead of everyone else in battery technology.

Remember, scalability is always key. Having a workbench solution is a far cry from production level.

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Maybe you are right, but believe the Storedot company has the answer and it is going to be tough for Tesla to get even close. They have announced they will start manufacturing in 2025 and so much can happen in 4 years. Amazing to think they have the technology already but still is going to take another 4 years to perfect it. If I was going for an electric car I would certainly wait the 4 years as charging for 6 hours against 5 minutes is the game changer.

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Amazing to think they have the technology already but still is going to take another 4 years to perfect it.

The reason for that is exactly what I said. Companies can put something out but it is the scaling that is the issue. We often hear of breakthrough technologies and how they will be available by X date, only to never hear much about it again. I recall the big push about 7 or 8 years ago into Algae fuel. It was very promising in the lab yet they could never scale it.

Maybe this will be different. We will see.

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I'm always touched and grateful for your writing. I'll always cheer for you.

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