Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a motivational speaker who can cover exponential technologies at your next business event. Contact us to check availability. The full transcript of the above video is included below.


Full Video Transcript:

Hi and welcome to another edition of Strategic Business Insights. Today we’re going to talk about exponential technologies. What are exponential technologies? Well, we’re talking about technologies that are scaling up by orders of magnitude. In other words, we’re not going from one to two to three to four to five, we’re going from one to two to four to eight to 16. So, in other words, there’s an acceleration, there’s an exponential increase in their capacity.

So you may have heard of Moore’s Law. Moore’s Law refers primarily to data processing, but again it’s this exponential nature of the growth rate, so it tends to double roughly every two years, the capacity of data processing. But it turns out that data processing is only one of many. In fact, just within the realm of data, you have data processing, data bandwidth and data storage, which are all increasing along this exponential curve.

So data processing, we’re talking about like, for example, the IBM Watson computer—you may have heard of the IBM Watson computer—or the singularity, which is this notion that eventually data processing will outstrip the human’s brain to process information. So there may be a merging of technology and humanity in the singularity. That’s a whole frame of thought. Also, big data. Big data’s referring to processing enormous amounts of data. Or, artificial intelligence, which again is the same notion of data processing. Data bandwidth is the Internet, ubiquitous Internet, and also mobile technology and how much data can go through those lines. It’s increasing along an exponential curve.

And also, just the availability of Internet is a related issue. Right now, Facebook is looking at providing Internet to all areas of the globe with solar-powered airplanes that can go around the planet on a continuous basis providing Internet access. Google is looking at the exact same thing through a series of balloons. So we’re talking about Internet being ubiquitous, being available to everyone on the planet, and bandwidth going up by orders of magnitude.

And finally, data storage. It’s cheaper and cheaper to store data. In front of, for a company to store one petabyte of data, in 2010 it cost roughly 80,000 dollars per month. By 2020, just 10 years later, it’s expected to cost four dollars – from 80,000 down to four dollars. Why? Because the technology is scaling up by orders of magnitude. The capacity is going up along an exponential curve.

What are some other examples? Robotics. Robotics are an exponential technology. You may have heard of the Baxter robot, which is a robot that can learn something very, very quickly. Back in the good old days they were just being used like in auto assembly plants or large industrial manufacturing factories, but these robots are becoming more and more user-friendly and human-friendly and cheaper. So we’re going to see them showing up in all sorts of different functionalities across our economy.

What about drones? Unmanned aerial vehicles or even the self-driving car that Google is experimenting with, and recently there were news stories that Apple may be creating a car of their own which would also be a self-driving car. These drones are essentially robots of their own, but the whole notion of drones…Amazon may be using drones to deliver packages. So these are exponential technologies. These are technologies which have the potential to completely disrupt existing industries and replace existing industries with entirely new ways of doing things.

3D printing. 3D printing is an exponential technology. The costs are coming down, the capabilities are going up. So now we have a 3D printer on the International Space Station, which can print replacement parts when something breaks up there. And the same thing is happening in all sorts of areas of manufacturing and doing prototypes. Right now, individuals can create prototypes for products in their own garage with 3D printers because they no longer have to do injection-filled moldings in some other part of the world, which costs hundreds of times more. They can do it in their own garage. That’s an exponential technology.

Biotech, neurotech, nanotech – these are all related fields which are also expanding along an exponential curve. The new solar power industry is an exponential technology. The cost of PV panels is dropping and the capacity of these PV panels and the manufacturing facilities that produce them is going up along an exponential curve. These are all exponential technologies and, of course, mobile and information communication technology in general—some people refer to that as ICT—that is also an area of exponential technology.

So these are technologies which are growing, which are scaling up. They’re increasing by orders of magnitude, and when they do that they have the potential to completely disrupt existing industries and we are going to witness that in our lifetime. All of the technologies that I’ve mentioned so far in this video are all technologies which are going to change the way we do business, the way we live our lives. In the next one, two, five, 10 years, we’re going to see extraordinary progress in every one of those technologies that I’ve mentioned so far. The world of exponential technology, the “search traffic for the term” exponential technology, everyone is starting to look at these scalable technologies. Why? Because they’re going to change our world.

Thanks so much for watching this video. My name is Patrick, reminding you as always to think bigger about your business, think bigger about your life.

Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a keynote speaker who has spoken at business conferences in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.