Magazine

Speaking Out: Institute For The Future's Paul Saffo


What's the next technology revolution?

About every decade, a new technology comes in and resets the landscape. The current decade is being shaped by cheap sensors that connect our devices to the world around us. We're right in the middle of the sensor revolution taking off. In 10 years you're going to walk into a room and assume everything has rudimentary intelligence. People will give their vacuums names because they'll act like living things. Apply this to engines. With sensors, the engine can tell you when it needs to be fixed. The ramifications are breathtaking.

Are there any obstacles to innovation?

We've got a couple of gorillas holding back innovation. Microsoft is a big intellectual roach motel. All the big minds go in, and they don't come out.

Is there any hope for startups today?

What did the dinosaurs do before they went extinct? They got really big.


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