The Digital Revolution: A New World in 2025?

AMA5-11-15Computers that move at the speed of the human brain. A world where every human being can know anything, anywhere, any time. Data streaming through a trillion sensors to connect the whole world. Though these things sound like part of a science fiction movie about the far future, that future is now.

Experts from a variety of fields including economics, robotics and psychology predict that those extravagant predictions of a sci fi future will become everyday reality in just one short decade. From modest beginnings in single computer chips, the digital revolution is expanding exponentially – and it has the potential to reshape life as we know it.

Robotics experts have long predicted that robots and other kinds of artificial intelligences will achieve the level of human intelligence, and that milestone is expected to come within the next decade. By 2025, a computer costing just $1000 will be abl3e to process data at 10,000 trillion bytes per second. If that sounds stunning, consider that it’s the speed at which the human brain already works.

Armed with that new level of intelligence, robots and other kinds of smart technology will play a much larger role in complex fields like medicine, with the potential to revolutionize healthcare. With greater precision and wider application, AIs could push health care costs down and give ordinary people far greater control over their own health.

These technologies are already in use in healthcare settings ranging from the operating room to assisted living facilities. Robots perform routine nursing tasks such as dispensing medicines and delivering meals, act as companions and monitors to the frail elderly, and conduct diagnostic exams. All these applications could streamline the healthcare industry and substantially reduce costs.

This brave new world of 2025 is also one of global connectivity and shared knowledge – the Internet of Everything. Within a decade, the world will be connected by a network of over 100 trillion networked devices. And those devices all have multiple sensors, working ceaselessly to collect data from multiple sources. The result? A multi-trillion dollar economy driven by an unprecedented flow of data from all over the world – and beyond it.

This massive, ceaseless flow of data collected by and streaming from cheaply produced and easily available devices could create a world of “perfect knowledge” in which anybody could in theory find out anything, anywhere, any time. For the first time in human history, knowledge is available to anyone who seeks it.

That puts unprecedented power in the hands of individuals rather than the gatekeepers society designates, such as schools, publishers and government entities. People who can’t afford expensive educations can learn from anywhere. Anyone with an idea can share it – and it becomes harder to hide institutional blunders and abuses from a watching world.

This world of perfect knowledge driven by the Internet of Everything also brings that knowledge and connectedness to virtually every corner of the world, creating new opportunities for people in impoverished and isolated areas of the world to connect with others and create new things.

Without realizing it, we’ve already stepped into that future world. Smart technologies, virtual reality applications and robotic assistance for a variety of tasks are relatively commonplace today. But those applications and many others are developing at exponential rates – and could do so virtually indefinitely.

That’s the prediction at the core of Moore’s Law, coined by Intel CEO Gordon Moore nearly half a century ago to describe what happens to computer transistors over time. According to Moore, the number of transistors that could be placed on a computer microchip would double every year – and that the trend would continue indefinitely.

Since then, Moore’s Law has been used in a broader way to describe the exponential growth of all kinds of industries and enterprises such as the current digital revolution, which is characterized by dramatic increases in power along with a corresponding decrease in cost, just as Moore predicted.

As Jason Hartman points out, we’re living in the most exciting time ever, a time when change is the only constant. And as digital technology advances at light speed in every area, change is coming faster and faster, with the potential to transform life as we know it in just ten short years. (Top image: Flickr/ju-x)

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The American Monetary Association Team

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