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Churchill Club Top Ten Tech Trends 2012

This is the most difficult speaking event, by far, that I take on, and somehow I keep coming back.

Just spank me with that red paddle!


Five panelists are asked to come up with two tech trends that we think are worthy of the top 10 title, and that are, as they instruct:

1) Not obvious today

2) You believe there will be explosive growth in about five years’ time


When you do this for many years, it gets harder and harder. For several years now, I have done this, and have to come up with new ones each year. If it's too obvious, it's boring. If it's too radical, it might not be relevant over the next five years. And it had to be important and new... worthy of a top 10 tech trend.


So, here are the 10 trends...


What do you think? Which do you agree most with? Disagree most with? Think are too obvious?


Trend 1. Radical Globalization of Social Commerce (Kevin Efrusy)

In prior cycles, international segments consisted of 30-40 percent of revenue, begun 3-5 years after the US effort. Going forward, "ROW" can dominate domestic, and players who wait to address it are vulnerable to competitors who go global first.


Trend 2. Zero Marginal Cost Education (Bing Gordon)

In the 1970s, ATMs were considered “dehumanizing” and bank tellers were the gold standard. But tellers got worse, while ATMs improved. Public education seems to be repeating this pattern, and the oligopolists of “big education” don’t seem to have read Innovator’s Dilemma.


Trend 3. Massive Sensors and Data (Reid Hoffman)

Sensors cost trends to zero; there are sensors everywhere and part of everything. In combination, we'll create multiple data collections that power applications and innovations to improve our lives. Genetics, disease, and symptom data for automate tri-corders, precision diagnosis, and personalized medicine. Collaborative filtering of all kinds of discovery– from music to information to professional training.


Trend 4. All Vehicles Go Electric (Steve Jurvetson)

Eventually all motor vehicles will transition to an electric drive train, affording greater efficiency, convenience, and a multitude of new design options. Within five years, this inevitability will become clear.


Trend 5. A Shift Toward Technocracy: Doing More with Less (Peter Thiel)

Democrats want government to do more with more. Republicans say government should do less with less. Technology might allow it to do more with less.


Trend 6. It's Just the Venture Cycle (Kevin Efrusy)

The fortunes of Silicon Valley rarely mirror the rest of the world because the ebb and flow of creative disruption follows a different pattern and 14-16 year cycle than the macro economy. We appear to be right on schedule...


Trend 7. Gamification of Everything (Bing Gordon)

As Lance Armstrong wrote, “Every second counts.” As digital natives increasingly multi-task, and as the social web creates geometric growth in posts, the battle is for engagement. For the growing population of game-players, reportedly 70% of Americans, games are important systems for creating meaning, and can increase behavior by 25 to 100%.


Trend 8. The New Hardware: Bits to Atoms (Reid Hoffman)

Open Source patterns now applied to hardware. Collective design bases with rapid modifications. Flexible manufacturing producing limited run and unique devices. 3D printing means revolution in custom and unique goods. Ultimately, revolutions in biological and medical products and solutions.


Trend 9. Moore's Law Accelerates Beyond Silicon (Steve Jurvetson)

When we consider Moore’s Law in the abstract, the dropping cost of computation is not tapering off. Rather it will accelerate further still as we look beyond the silicon era.


Trend 10. The Beginnings of Bioinformatics; Intelligent Design Over Random Drug Discovery (Peter Thiel)

More powerful computers will turn biology into an information science.


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Taken on May 22, 2012