Are You Being Created or Destroyed by Disruption?
Disruptive technology is all around us. There are constant advances in existing technology. Disruptive technologies drive creative destruction with the result of better quality products at a lower cost, improved delivery of services, and hopefully a better standard of living.
Creative destruction, sometimes known as Schumpeter’s gale, named after Joseph Schumpeter, is a concept in economics that since the 1950s describes a process that destroys business production methods along with jobs. Creative Destruction creates new productivity methods and/or distribution methods that ideally improve the standard of living and the way consumers apply goods and services. Unfortunately some people lose jobs or lose their businesses, and some consumers have difficulty adapting to new methods of a Disruptive Technology. According to Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter, who coined the term “Creative Destruction” in 1942, the “gale of creative destruction” describes the “process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one”. We usually think of gale associated with a force of wind, but gale alone also means “burst” or “outburst”.
Disruptive technology is an innovation that significantly alters the way that industries, consumers, and businesses operate. It is a new type of technology that sweeps away the systems or habits it replaces because it is recognizably superior in every way. Back in the day, the automobile and electricity were considered disruptive technologies. They replaced the horse and buggy and candles, and the new innovations had an immediate impact on the world and changed it forever. There are examples of disruptive technology all around us.
Autonomous vehicles are essentially self-driving cars. They are currently in development, and several companies are trying to perfect the technology, some being closer than others. When and if this becomes a new reality, it will have a huge impact on several industries, especially on trucking and transportation. Self-driving trucks would criss-cross the country without ever having to stop.
Right now, only a few highly trained astronauts go into space, and it’s been that way for years. Agencies are trying to get more people to go into space and spread civilization to other planets. The International Space Station is a minor form of space colonization. NASA is sending supplies to the moon for the eventual construction of a lunar base. The private sector is trying as well, with SpaceX and Virgin Galactic.
Imagine being able to print anything you want, including cars and cameras, and have it actually work. It’s already happening with 3D printing. The USA, Europe, and China have the biggest amount of 3D printer manufacturers in the world. The rise of this disruptive technology could end the manufacture and delivery of goods because people could simply print whatever they want at home.
There is no better example of disruptive technology than the Internet. It started as a small project that a group of computer enthusiasts started and quickly took hold of the world, which will never be the same. The Internet has disrupted commerce, communications, and the media. Traditional news sources are dying, brick and mortar stores are going online, and no one uses the post office to send letters anymore since they can just use Skype, email, or Facebook.
While social media has helped friends and family enjoy and share photos, videos, and experiences — even from remote locations — many analysts of social media warn that social media is a disruptive technology with a more destructive effect than creative effect. Technology companies are accused of restricting free speech and coercing freedom of thought, as well as spreading or amplifying the toxic side effect of fake news. The powerful and pervasive influence of social media may even put the healthy functioning of a democratic society at risk by eroding individual decision-making and freedom of choice. Some analysts warn that social media has gone beyond helping advertisers figure out what you might like to buy, but actually use surveillance capitalism to coerce you into liking what they want you to like or buy — whether its a consumer product or politics.
Can you think of more Disruptive Technologies that may create or destroy you? Artificial Intelligence? Robotics? Cybernetics? Neurotechnology? Human Genetic Engineering? Nanomedicine? 3D Bioprinting? Negligible Senescence? Cyberware?
Creative Destruction illustrates the economic cycles that occur within capitalism as technology evolves over time. While this process does not always benefit everyone, it is an essential part of economic growth and innovation (Speaker Philip Coelho, Professor of Economics at Ball State University).
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