Sunday, January 03, 2010

Top 10 technology trends for 2010

Some of the freshest ideas in 2009 were botnet futures (Daemon, Daniel Suarez), a variety of neuro scanning applications (The Neuro Revolution, Zack Lynch), a systems approach to Earth (Whole Earth Discipline, Stewart Brand), accelerating economic development through charter cities (Charter Cities, Paul Romer), automatic markets for fungible resource allocation (Broader Perspective, Melanie Swan), and the notion that the next-generation of technology needed to solve intractable problems could be non-human understandable and come from sampling the computational universe of all possible technologies (Conversation on the Singularity, Stephen Wolfram).

Heading into a brand new decade, there are several exciting technology areas to watch. Many are on exponential improvement curves, although from any viewpoint on an exponential curve, things may look flat. Most of this blog’s big predictions for 2009 came true. Here’s what could happen in the next year or so:

1. Closer to $100 whole human genome
Third-generation DNA sequencer Pacific Biosciences estimates that they are still on track for a late 2010 release of single-molecule real-time sequencing technology that could eventually lead to less than $100 whole human genome sequencing.

2. Mobile continues to be the platform
There will likely be a greater launch and adoption of addictive location-based services (LBS) like FourSquare, Gowalla and Loopt, together with social networking, gaming, and video applications for the mobile platform. Continued trajectory of smartphone purchases (one in four in the U.S.). iPhone and Android app downloads double again. Gaming expands on mobiles and on the console platform with Avatar and maybe other 3-D console games. Internet-delivered content continues across all platforms.

3. 22nm computing node confirmed for 2011
Intel possibly confirming and providing more details about the 22nm Ivy Bridge chip planned for commercial release the second half of 2011. The September 2010 Intel Developer’s Forum may feature other interesting tidbits regarding the plans for 3-D architectures and programmable matter that could keep computing on Moore’s Law curves.

4. Supercomputers reach 15% human capacity
Supercomputing capacity doublings have been occurring each few years and could likely continue. As of November 2009, the world’s fastest supercomputer was the Cray Jaguar, running at 1.8 petaflops (1.8 x 1015 flops), approximately 10% of the estimated compute capacity of a human.

5. Confirmation of synthetic biology fuel launch for 2011

Pilot plants are running and the commercial launch of the first killer app of synthetic biology, synthetic fuel, could be confirmed for 2011. Sapphire Energy and Synthetic Genomics are generating petroleum from algal fuel; LS9, petroleum from microbes; Amyris Biotechnologies, ethanol, and Gevo, biobutenol.

6. Smart grid and smart meter deployment
In energy, more utilities moving to deploy internal smartgrid network management infrastructure and starting to replace consumer premises equipment (CPE) with advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) for automated utility reading and customer data access. Dozens of efforts are underway in the U.S. (Figure 1).

7. Increased choice in personal transportation
More electric vehicle offerings, greater launch of alternative fuels, a potential Tesla IPO announcement, and more widespread car share programs (i.e., City CarShare, Gettaround).

8. Real-time internet search dominates
More applications allow real-time search functionality through content aggregation, standards, and more granular web searches. Search could be 40% real-time, 40% location-based, 20% other.

9. Advent of health advisors and wellness coaches
Hints of personalized medicine start to arrive with the unification of health data streams (i.e., genomics, biomarker, family and health history, behavior, and environment) into personalized health management plans. Early use of health monitoring devices (i.e., FitBit, DirectLife) as a prelude to biomonitors.

10. WiMax roll-out continues
Clear adds more markets to its current 26. Increasing importance of integrated data stream management (video, voice, etc.) on fixed and mobile platforms.

Probably not happening in 2010 but would be nice…
Still waiting for significant progress regarding…
  • 4G/LTE roll-out
  • Driverless cars, on-demand personal rapid transport systems
  • Ubiquitous sensor networks
  • OLEDs

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