As well as travel, retail and sports, technology is pushing the limitations we have previously put on human health. A lab in Zurich is developing wheelchairs that can climb stairs, while another is developing exoskeletons for those with paralysis. A British company, Oxford Nanopore, has created a gene sequencer that can be plugged into your laptop to diagnose life threatening illnesses in real time with just a drop of your blood. From life sciences, to entertainment, to sport, and everything in between, everywhere we look, advancements in technology are becoming further democratised and commoditised, which in turn, is re-shaping the landscape of industries all over the world.
As technology continues to cause seismic shifts in various industries, it also changes the way we interact with the technology itself. Fingerprint and voice recognition, now a feature of our daily lives, is leading us to facial recognition. Cars are being developed to read the direction of your gaze when you drive, CCTV cameras will be able to detect the age, race and even emotions of individuals in a crowd in real time, Neuralink, an Elon Musk venture, is hoping to connect signals from the human brain directly to a network to create the world's first brain computer. Soon, technology will be able to read humans with such granularity that daily interfacing with our portable devices will become an incredibly personal experience.
We may see these types of developments in technology as just an expensive playground for large international companies, but with a great idea, at the right time, the tech industry can be anyone's game. Technological innovation is tearing up the rule book on the traditional business model. Otto, a San Francisco start-up, built a self-driving delivery truck that made one successful automated journey across America. Despite no funding and no customers, in just eight months, the business was sold to Uber for $680 million.
A little-known celebrity, Kim Kardashian, created a free app for her handful of fans and followers, and in the first five months made $43 million. A hit TV show is no longer simply within the purview of mammoth TV networks – as advancing robotics and CGI drop the cost of TV production and social media raises the profile of online subscription networks, a small Netflix sitcom can easily take on a huge TV network show. Technological advancements are re-drawing our economies of scale, and with a great idea, at the right time, a small-start up can very quickly dominate the market. There are thousands of these start-ups vying for a piece of the pie, which larger companies have to keep up with every single day.