Remember the good ole days of the slide rule, the typewriter, the Model T, the first cell phone? Yes, technology has come a long way. Each and every day, we take advantage of countless technological advancements.
But what about the technologies that are being invented, tested, and implemented as we speak?
Every year, the World Economic Forum recognizes a select number of companies as Technology Pioneers. According to the WEF, to be selected, companies must be developing life-changing innovations that have the potential to bring about long-term changes to business and society.Â (Knewton is very proud to have been selected as one of the Technology Pioneers of 2011.)
The exciting thing about these companies is that they are not just hatching esoteric theories in an ivory tower; they are working to change the way you interact with your environment. They have already offered proven technology in their respective fields, but they’re just getting started. The products they develop today will shape the way the world functions tomorrow.
In future posts, we’ll profile a number of these companies in depth. For now, to demonstrate the breadth of impact these pioneers can have, let’s fast forward a few years to imagine how these innovations might come together to affect the way we go about our everyday lives:
September 2013: A Day in My Future Life
Biking on eco-friendly cement developed by Novacem, I pass the Empire State Building on my way to my future office. I hold up my smartphone to get historical background on the iconic building, along with images of what it looked like during construction, courtesy of Layar, an app I bought on the massive online store GetJar.
At work, I actively collaborate with coworkers around the globe usingÂ Atlassian‘s software development tools. We analyze huge data sets on consumer behavior (a major part of my future job) quickly and efficiently with programming developed by Aster Data. Using ReputationDefender‘s security products, I monitor online information about my boss to make sure that she is presented in the best possible light. Throughout the day, I stream music on Spotify, a popular site offering easy access to tens of millions of tracks.
After getting back to my future apartment (insulated with highly sustainable materials created by Ecovative Design), I pour myself a glass of tap water purified by Ferrate Treatment Technologies. I look through my energy provider’s monthly report, which details my energy consumption habits and suggests ways to reduce my overall energy use, based on energy efficiency software from OPOWER. Meanwhile, my roommate switches on his laptop (protected with NetQin Mobile’s anti-virus software) and begins studying for his upcoming GMAT, signing into a virtual classroom powered by Knewton’s adaptive learning platform.
Later that evening, my best friend from college, now an English graduate student, calls to inform me that he has posted his doctoral thesis on Scribd so that I and everyone else he knows can read it immediately. He also shares that, though he has recently been going through a rough time, his psychiatrist has prescribed sessions of transcranial magnetic stimulation, developed by Neuronetics, to help improve his mood. After a quick bite, I head out for a night on the town, checking in on foursquare to see which restaurants and bars my future buddies are at and planning my evening accordingly. Before nodding off to sleep, I take a moment to consider the men and women whose hard work made my day a reality.
This brief sketch offers just a glimpse of the broad effect these organizations can have. In addition, the sixteen other energy, environment, and health companies selected by the WEF will make it possible to breathe clean air, recover from major illnesses, and distribute critical resources equitably to countries around the globe. These pioneers have big plans; their goal is to change the world. But, at the end of the day, they know that the world begins with you.