Making Government Superfluous: Emerging Disruptive Innovation
Many “futurists” and technology observers often fall for “Gee Whiz!” technologies, which all too suddenly fall into the “so what?” category. Most new consumer electronics fads, for example, tend to follow that pattern. This is an example of a collective “dumbing down” via pseudo-news and pseudo-information.
But other technologies — truly disruptive technologies — work on deeper levels, creating entire new industries, markets, consumer blocs, and even new cultures.
Most futurists fail to look beneath the shallow “gee whiz!” layers of innovation. The slideshare below, for example is a typical mixed bag of gee-whiz! with an occasional important innovation constellation dropped in.
MIT’s 10 Breakthrough Technologies 2015 list below, contains somewhat more profound innovative technology, but still largely misses the mark for deep disruptive transformation.
A startup is betting more than half a billion dollars that it will dazzle you with its approach to creating 3-D imagery.
Availability: 1-3 years
A Caltech scientist creates tiny lattices with enormous potential.
Availability: 3-5 years
A simple wireless technology promises to make driving much safer.
Availability: 1-2 years
Billions of people could get online for the first time thanks to helium balloons that Google will soon send over many places cell towers don’t reach.
Availability: 1-2 years
Fast DNA-sequencing machines are leading to simple blood tests for cancer.
The world’s largest and cheapest reverse-osmosis desalination plant is up and running in Israel.
A clever combination of technologies makes it faster and more secure to buy things with a wave of your phone.
A new method for growing human brain cells could unlock the mysteries of dementia, mental illness, and other neurological disorders.
Advanced genetic tools could help boost crop yields and feed billions more people.
Availability: 10-15 years
Internet of DNA
A global network of millions of genomes could be medicine’s next great advance.
Availability: 1-2 years
McKinsey Report Disruptive Technologies
The list imaged above from a McKinsey report (see link for exec. summary and full PDF report) includes destructive “renewable energy technologies” such as big wind and big solar, along with more genuinely innovative and disruptive technologies such as “additive manufacturing,” advanced genomics, and advanced materials (including nano-materials). The inclusion of big wind and big solar on the list is a big black mark against McKinsey, for confusing a “destructive technology” for a “disruptive technology.”
Wikipedia’s list of emerging technologies is more thorough and inclusive, and includes many of the more potentially disruptive innovations likely to come along. It is worth one’s time to browse the several lists at the link above.
At the Al Fin Institute for Emerging Disruptive Innovation, we focus more on innovations that impact basic human needs — as reflected in the crucial infrastructures of society — and on basic human drives and capacities.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs was an early psychological attempt to delineate basic human needs. Other attempts to explore human needs include the system of Henry Murray, and the model of Manfred Max-Neef, among many others.
When one sets out to make governments superfluous, he must develop a deep understanding of what motivates humans to achieve, and how productive humans can work together in a harmonious and mutually satisfying, beneficial manner.
Disruptive technologies in themselves — no matter how powerful and effective — cannot substitute for intelligent, competent, and emotionally balanced people who are willing to work together to meet group needs, and to prepare for a range of likely futures.
But given a community of competent, bright, creative, ambitious, and emotionally balanced humans, one can expect a rapid adaptation of disruptive technologies and innovations as they become available.
Modern western governments too often subsidise failure / incompetence and punish success / competence . These counter-productive governmental policies have benefited corrupt politicians and bureaucrats — and their friends — but society at large has suffered. The human future has been retarded by this rot at the centre of most modern governments.
At the Al Fin Institutes, we will be focusing not only on replacing and de-centralising critical infrastructures — we are also working on approaches to make productive and harmonious living more desirable and satisfying. We focus on both the technological and the human infrastructures.
Think ahead with a broad and deep vision. It is never too late to have a Dangerous Childhood.
Note: In the future we will be looking at specific parts of government that can be replaced, or made superfluous. The creation of “shadow governments,” “shadow infrastructures,” and “shadow economies,” has long been an active goal here at the Institutes.
We will be sharing more of our ideas in the future.