The foundation of cloud computing was set in the 1960s, followed by its inception in 2002. Two decades later, more than 90% of businesses in Asia and the Pacific use or plan to use a cloud environment. This instance highlights how fast technology is moving. You may learn new technical skills, but even that won’t be enough in a couple of months. Technological progress forces people to upgrade their knowledge and skills to continue operating new technologies. Therefore, in this analysis, we will walk you through technological progress over the years, the rate of technological advancement, and the factors accelerating that pace. You can undoubtedly conclude whether technology is moving too fast afterward.
Technological progress in a nutshell
Today, most of us own smartphones and laptops, but we rarely look back at how they started. In the year 1942, the first modern digital computer, named Atanasoff-Berry, was built. It was designed to solve linear equations. Fast-forward to present times, supercomputers are constructed. Supercomputer performs complex operations such as disease research, climate modeling, and nuclear science. The progress that we have made from the first to the latest one is remarkable. In fact, in a couple of years, more powerful types of computers will be assembled.
Another instance is the internet and its history. The earliest version was released in the 1990s. Compare that to today’s internet, and you will find the difference extraordinary. With its help, we can now easily book flights between countries, which was almost impossible a couple of decades ago. You will discover similar trends across various industries. For instance, in the automobile industry, the self-driving car was an idea. Over time, the idea was converted into reality. Now, these vehicles don’t need human involvement and can operate by sensing their environment.
Let’s examine technological progress in healthcare now. In the year 1816, the stethoscope was invented, and it is still used today to determine a patient’s health. In current times, advanced technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) is used in the diagnosis and drug development. These technologies have proven to be of great help during the COVID-19 pandemic time. Plus advancements in technology are not limited to physical health—AI is transforming our understanding of the mental health of larger populations. From these instances, we can conclude that the growth of technology is exponential.
The pace of technological advancement
The law of accelerating return applies to the pace of technological advancement. What happens here is each generation of technology builds on the progress of the previous one. That way, instead of starting over each time, the new technology is improved from the existing advancements that accelerate innovation. Naturally, the rate of progress from version to version grows as the new ones are enhanced compared to the last ones. Additionally, the tools and processes from the previous generation are used to build the new generation, which results in the development of better ones. This explains the rapid pace of technological progress.
Also, the American technologist Ray Kurzweil predicted the technological trends. For instance, he predicted that blind people will be able to read from handheld devices. In modern times, we have devices on the market that accurately reads the text aloud, one of the numerous examples of assistive technology. Technology has advanced so much in today’s time that businesses need to invest in technological skills to remain competitive. More importantly, investments in technology are continuous and pay off.
Factors accelerating the technological pace
Now that you have an understanding of technological pace, let’s take a look at factors that contribute to its acceleration.
Increasing demand for technology
Technology is progressing quicker because the demand for advanced technology is rising. Consumers purchase smartphones, but within a few months, they mandate devices with faster processing, extensive storage, or better cameras. Only the businesses that can fulfill the increasing demand of the consumers can strive in the competitive market. The same is with technology software, hardware, and services, where customer expectations are taken into account for improvement. Here are some statistics to show the booming need for technology:
- As per Statista, in 2021, nearly 15 billion mobile devices were in use. By 2025, this number is expected to reach 18.22 billion
- According to Shopify, stores using Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, i.e., 3D technologies, saw a conversion rate boost for retail customers by 94%
- As per Statista, the number of IoT (Internet of Things) devices will reach 30.9 billion by 2025
More and more businesses are shifting their focus to consumers to provide excellent services. One such example is Ada, a symptom checker app. Initially, it was designed for doctors’ use and eventually shifted its focus to the patients. Now the patients can use this app to get information about their symptoms. Similarly, there’s the 7 Cups, a company that offers mental health support directly to its users. To summarize, the demand for technology is rising, thereby accelerating the technological pace.
Rising funding in technology research and development (R&D)
As more technologies prove to be efficient, they gather lots more attention. This increases the technology research and development budget. Most importantly, the funding for research and development of technology ensures product innovation, process improvement, and enhanced customer service. All these further accelerate the technological rate. While R&D requires substantial investments, it provides exceptional benefits and even helps companies cut costs in the long run. Irrespective of the industry, applying R&D in technology increases productivity by building efficient systems.
Many technology-based companies prioritize these initiatives. For instance, Intel invests $10 billion yearly into developing new technologies. These initiatives aim to enhance the performance of electronic devices that we use daily. Also, most devices we currently own have components from Intel. All these investments further contribute to accelerating the pace of technological advancement.
From various instances in this study, you might have realized that technology is indeed moving too fast. Businesses have realized this too and focus on bringing people with advanced technical skills on board. In a nutshell, technology is self-accelerating, which quickens the rate of technological improvement.