The Business of the Future

Every so often there is technology that comes along and changes the world for the better. Those who get in on the front end of it end up very wealthy. Those who get in late often lose a ton of money in a crash. This is what happened during the railroad stock boom of the early 1900s on through to the Internet boom of the 90s. Since technological breakthroughs are occurring at an ever increasing rate (I think the rule of thumb I heard is more advancement each ten years than the previous 100), there are several technologies poised to dramatically change the world in the next 50 years.

Being a businesspundit, and being fairly young, I often think of where I would like to be in 20 years. I like cryptography, nanotechnology, quantum computing, artificial intelligence and biopharmaceuticals, but I think the most life changing technologies of the future will spring from neuroscience. So that is the field I have chosen to make a serious hobby. This article seems to back me up. My only concern is whether or not people are ready for these changes. Much of what neuroscientists have learned over the past decade calls into question our own ideas about ourselves, the way we think, and what it means to be human.

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For instance, Elizabeth Loftus has shown that our memories are not that accurate, and that they are easily shaped by events that happened after the fact. Pascal Boyer has opined that belief in the supernatural may be simply a byproduct of neural inference systems that evolved for other reasons. I could give plenty of examples but the point is that neuroscience technologies may be able to change us for the better, but may also break down the beliefs about ourselves that we hold so dear.

Okay, so I am way off topic. My original intent was to link to that Guardian article, and encourage you all to read things about neuroscience when you see them. But I guess my larger point became that while this might provide great business opportunities someday, the average American may not be ready for the philosophical implications of targeted neuropharmaceuticals, chips that wire directly to our own neurons, or artificially intelligent robots that think for themselves. And that is something important to think about when you start a business.