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The Issues

Several emerging tech’s have the potential to cause massive change.  This review attempts to identify some of these leading technical advancements and considers what change they may herald.

Of course, as in the past, perhaps the major harbinger of future change may be something we have not yet thought of.  Even so, today we can conjecture that these known emerging technologies already pose significant questions for the future of all of our societies.  The ones we have highlighted have the potential to create such large change we have coined the word ‘disconnect’ as our societies are likely to be forced to change their values, governance and core processes.

The human race has only been through a small number of these 'disconnect' events historically, such as the agricultural revolution and the industrial revolution.  While other significant events have created change, (such as the transistor, leading to computerisation and internet), these have heralded improvements mainly in efficiency and (so far) have not caused a disconnect. Disconnects are caused by changes to 'what we can do' rather than 'the way we do it'. Agriculture allowed us to stay in one place and build better tools and technology, the industrial revolution allowed us to move around easily with the technologies of coal, steel and steam.

It is the timeline of these emergent technologies that causes much discussion.   When will they become mainstream?  We have attempted to provide an approximate timescale, interestingly they all drop into a relatively short time scale.

These tech’s will also impact each other, they overlap and the changes they cause will also impact on each other.  Even if the timescale is wrong, it does seem clear that emerging technology has reached an historic point – one that will, one way or another - herald major changes to fundamental aspects of our lives and the societies that we depend on within just a few generations.

1) AI & Big Data - Smart Machines

Our definition:
Machines that can do complex human like tasks without human intervention.  These do not need to be thinking or sentient machines.  Already much research and innovation including IBM’s Watson now commercialised and Google’s purchase of Deep Mind developing neural networks, also mainstream AI systems such as Google home, Aexa & Siri and all the autonomous vehicles.  Robotic systems also move ahead at pace with mass produced systems such as Unbounded Robotics UBR1. Semi-Automated drones (1000's) already deployed by USA in many parts of the world.


Machines ability to do many more jobs and tasks (increasingly)
Will impact initially on some major areas of work including; farming, factories, legal professions, accounting professions, administrative tasks, spreading to nearly all jobs as the technology improves.
War using drones and machines that decide whom to target, (Russia already using roving tanks that decide who is a threat and they are armed!)


Less paid work available (increasingly)
The rise of autonomous systems (maybe even 'thinking' systems eventually)
The Third World War based on machines killing each other (which people [men] could resist such a game?)


Basis of capital owner / worker breaks down.  Capitalism cannot meet the needs of the majority who have no work.  Perhaps we should be concerned about 'peak jobs' rather than peak oil? See also Resourcism et al

World and local autonomous systems become increasingly connected, giving rise to massive points of failure with few people able to understand them or fix them.

War without end (or the Robots turn on their makers?).


2) Embedded Technologies

Our definition:
Electronic and other devices linked into body systems and nerve and brain functions.  Biological systems adapted to respond to external inputs/outputs.  New systems that are placed internally within our body systems.  These technologies are influenced by a large range of current research projects including prosthetics, wearable devices, Google glass, brain scanning and manipulation, oculus rift, synthetic biology and many others.


Enhanced memory and recall
Instant communications
Instant access to facts (imagine a lightening fast internet in your head)
Improved brain and body functions


Control of communications, changes the importance of censorship
Immediate access to information - changes education goals and the way we educate.
The people who can afford embedded technology become smarter and form a new class within society


Changes the social structures required for policing, politics, education and creates a new class structure

3) Nano Health

Our definition:
Direct influence and control at biological level.  This includes altering DNA and DNA/RNA processes with new techniques such as CRISPR. Using tiny nano machines to take drugs and other payloads to exact locations.  Nano machines that clean and renew body systems (such as blood vessels, joints).  Stems cells delivered to repair and grow new body parts.  Improvement and renewal of body functionality halting the ageing processes and providing enhanced functions.  Much research across the world is being done on these technologies.


Disease control (increasingly)
Re-building and improved body parts
Mending body systems
Slowing and eventually reversing the ageing processes


Health – ‘life style’ no longer affects health outcomes
Reduction / elimination of elderly care
Increased longevity
Enhancement of body and brain functions


People who can access such technology will become effectively Super Humans

4) Space Travel

Our definition:
The ability to reach out to other planetary systems.  While we are still struggling to create a manned mission to Mars, future technology, (power, medical and material), should allow us to achieve this aim.


Mass exodus, humans reaching out to new horizons, not beholden to the rest of humanity.


Man no longer required to adhere to world systems, politics and morals, pick up your bag and create a new society somewhere else.

5) Virtualities

Our definition:
Creation of complex models within some type of computing entity that create the illusion of reality.


Creation of sentient (virtual) life
Creation of Hells and Heavens
Living ‘forever’ within a virtual existence


Our ability to play god will create massive philosophical and real world issues (how do we control these environment and their use?)


This is effectively the ultimate human endeavour – creation of sentient beings at will and the ability to live forever.  What else would there be to live for in the real world?  Perhaps man would become immerse within a virtual world where we all have unlimited powers controlling a universe each (if we wanted to).  Perhaps we are already in a virtuality – just poorly designed or someone’s idea of hell?




The massive Impact of key Emerging Tech's

A small number of Emerging tech’s have the ability to disrupt the very fabric of our lives, our core values, our societies systems, processes and governance.  This short review has a stab at the potential time-line and considers how these emerging tech’s may cause such radical changes.  It is likely some of these emerging technologies will become mainstream within our children’s lifetime. How shall we handle these disconnections within our societies? Should we plan for change now?