Just a few years ago, we were concerned with expanding information technology, creating a world wide web of information, removing soldiers from the battlefield and developing drugs that were smart enough to destroy one virus at a time, head to head.
Today, we have such an enormous amount of information at our fingertips that we can barely process or safeguard it. Technology is facilitating the development of remote control military drones and trucks and strengthening our national defenses. And, we are using IT systems to improve the global environment, increase access to clean water, and personalize the delivery of healthcare.
The World Economic Forum says that the top five emerging global technologies are as follows:
Number One: Body-adapted Wearable Electronics
Number Two: Screenless Display
Number Three: Human Microbiome Therapeutics
Number Four: RNA-based Therapeutics
Number Five: Quantified Self (Predictive Analytics )
Let me give you a quick snapshot of how mighty the digital age really is.
- Big Data is now a fundamental driver of productivity gains and economic growth around the world.
- It is generated when sensors and machine-to-machine communication enables vast fields of data to be processed, shared and transferred across the globe.
- The value of some global companies resides almost entirely in Knowledge based capital, rather than Physical capital.
Smart machines are driving the pace of innovation at light speed. That is a good thing, especially when it comes to the U.S. military and matters of life and death. Over the last twenty years, precision guidance and navigation, unmanned aerial vehicles, and night vision are just some of the technologies that have changed the face of war. Now we are moving even further.
The FY 2014 Defense Department budget included line items for a Biological Adaptation, Assembly and Manufacturing program. If approved, this program plans to examine biological system adaptation and the unique stability of those systems in extreme heat and cold. These studies will help to engineer stability into biological systems required for the military, such as blood and bioengineered tissues. Imagine… this information will also be used to develop chemical and biological sensors, and improved battlefield survival for our soldiers.
Perhaps the greatest advances will be made in cyber security. It was a simpler time four years ago when the Defense Department reported that three thousand Air Force personnel were becoming part of the department’s Cyber Warrior corps.
Today the situation is so much more complex than that. We are not only worried about cyber privacy and security, we are also worried about trans-border and international data security.
In March of this year Reuters news service reported that a sophisticated piece of spyware has been quietly infecting hundreds of government computers across Europe and the United States. It is considered to be one of the most complex cyber espionage programs uncovered to date. It’s known as Turla, and while the source of the spyware cannot be confirmed, Western intelligence officers believe that it’s the work of the Russian government. It is the same software used to launch a massive breach on the U.S. military uncovered in 2008. BAE Systems said it has collected over 100 unique samples of Turla since 2010, including 32 from Ukraine, 11 from Lithuania and 4 from Great Britain.
Mobile technology will become the new emergency response and mass communication systems, and can restrict access to sensitive areas of operations.
For corporations with a lot to lose, metal keys and key cards will be replaced by fingerprint readers and facial recognition. To reduce the risk of transmitting disease through fingerprint readers we will to see increasing development of “biometrics at a distance”. High-definition cameras can scan for facial recognition as a person approaches from 15 feet away.
Physical security systems are going to have to evolve into business intelligence security systems, protecting those Knowledge based assets that I mentioned earlier. They will be protected, in part, by e-mail and text alerts combined with live video feeds.
Biodefense, cyber security, biometrics and nanotechnology must all be part of the global technology revolution. Leaders in each of these fields must ensure successful synergies14 between their specialty and the latest technology. To do anything different is to invite failure, or worse….obsolescence.
Steve Jobs, speaking about Apple technology said, “No, we don’t know where it will lead. We just know there’s something much bigger than any of us here.” He was right, and perhaps that is why mankind is still intrigued with space, the new frontier. We have developed satellite technology that makes weather forecasting, air traffic control, global communications and disaster management possible.
Indonesia has already launched two satellitesfor this very reason. The first was equipped with a camera for remote sensing and an amateur radio.
The second was designed to support disaster mitigation efforts through earth observations. Jakarta says the satellite could be used to obtain information on natural resources, weather, ship navigation, transportation, education, healthcare, and defense.
Here in the United States, we are looking up as well! NASA’s Glenn Centeris trying to figure out how to achieve warp speed in order to travel the universe. The problem is that our fastest space vehicle only travels 37 thousand miles per hour. At that rate it would take more than 80 thousand years to reach the nearest star!
But, help is on the way. The Large Hadron Collider, known as L-H-C, is the world’s largest and most powerful particle collider. Its aim is to answer some of the fundamental questions in physics, including those about the deep structure of space and time. In 2011, the LHC created quark–gluon plasma – the densest matter besides that of black holes. In 2012, the LHC discovered two previously unobserved particles and in 2013 it began colliding protons with lead ions. At the LHC they speak in muons, mesons and petabytes, but suffice it to say, they are leading the way into deep space and our ability to travel to it.
From healthcare and green energy to national defense and space exploration, the digital age is making the impossible ….possible. And yet, we are still in our digital infancy. Many experts like to say that we are in the early morning hours of the first day of the digital era. That may be so, but for now – you and I are just trying to keep our phones and tablets fully charged!
Founded by Mr. Lester Quintana, Quintana Advisory Corp. offers an array of management consulting services.
With over 15 years of experience in demanding global environments, our areas of expertise include identifying emerging technologies, and providing them with strategic roadmaps with funding sources.
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