Exponential Innovation: The Ripple Effect


             Technology is ever increasing, ever advancing. We know this through Moore’s Law. And, as seen in the video, technology has impacts that expand like the ripples on a pond. From the center (the development and release of a new technology) to the outermost ripple that seems unrelated. This is bad.



This is bad (ignore Vivek Wadhwa and his optimism)

 One of the most prevalent ripples of technology is the effect advancement has on prices. New technology causes prices of old technologies to drop and almost seem worthless while the new technology takes the price slot of the old. As Professor Kane discussed in class, one of the forces of Complexity is “saving costs and adding options”. This basically means that prices don’t continue to rise with the new advancements, as companies save money on things that used to cost them and spend it on new features.

The genome example provided by Wadhwa accurately depicts the Ripple Effect. In the year 2000, a mere 13 years ago, Celera decoded a random DNA genome sequence. Years of work and billions of dollars. But today, “the price of genome sequencing is dropping at double the rate of Moore’s Law”. Within 5-10 years, it should be available to all who want it.

 So why do I think this is bad? (No, I am not a pessimist, just decided to take a stance). Celera, in decoding the first genome sequence, was only trying to innovate and make a discovery for mankind, whether for health or monetary benefit. But how does this ability affect the lives of the average citizen?

 I recently read the blog of a fellow classmate, Steve Ferriter, and posted a comment on it (https://mi021.wordpress.com/2013/03/26/has-technology-ruined-the-way-we-watch-sports/). I found his blog very interesting but also noticed that most of the comments had standard, truthful, but pretty boring responses. I thought of what might happen if, as Steve says, technology really does ruin sporting experiences, and how this could affect the average sports fan.

 I am sure the inventors of high definition T.V.s or surround sound weren’t very concerned with the effect their products would have on stadium revenues and the sporting experience. They’re completely innocent.

           So is Celera and their decoding of the genome sequence. But what if this breakthrough in DNA sequencing leads to new information that brings about the production of humanoid machines with artificial DNA sequences? What if these machines are mass-produced with superhuman abilities. This is bad.




3 thoughts on “Exponential Innovation: The Ripple Effect

  1. Great post. I really like it when someone makes their own predictions. At the moment I’m less worried about humanoids than I am excited about the advances in DNA sequencing. These advances have and will lead to better predictive healthcare. With healthcare such a hot topic, more efficient care could save massive amounts of money. Combined with the role IS has played in the sector, healthcare could become cheaper and better.

  2. Most of the blogs I have read so far are about the dangerous potentiality of technology. I am definitely concerned about what the future holds and how technology can possibly eliminate day-to-day activities of us humans. Activities that may seem annoying or petty like brushing our teeth or washing our hands, but we may actually miss one day when robots or technology can do every little activity for us. I say this to parallel with your concern about technology and its “ripple” affect. I think everything we do as humans shapes us. We are historical beings in that what we do and experience shapes the values we have today. I really liked the way you explained why you thought it was bad. Your opinion managed to sparked my interest. I would only recommend that you expand a little more on genome sequencing.

  3. Really interesting blog post. I like how you took a stand and discussed what you think could happen in the future with DNA sequencing. Although I am slightly worried that technology might become too powerful down the road, right now, it presents too many benefits to think about stopping it. The benefits that DNA sequencing brings to the health care industry are vast and it can help prevent many health disorders. I feel that as long as we keep our focus towards helping human beings rather than implementing DNA in robots, the advancing technology will only continue to do good things. However, once we lose focus of that goal, that is when we could be in for a lot of trouble.

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