The same companies that were praised for reimagining how people organized and accessed knowledge, interacted publicly, shopped for goods and services, conducted business, and even the devices on which all of these things are done, now find themselves criticized for the ways in which they’ve abused the tools they’ve created to become some of the most profitable and wealthiest ventures in human history.
Before the decade was even half over, the concern over the poverty of purpose inherent in Silicon Valley’s inventions was given voice by Peter Thiel — a man who has made billions financing the creation of the technologies whose paucity he then bemoaned.
“We are no longer living in a technologically accelerating world,” Thiel told an audience at Yale University in 2013. “There is an incredible sense of deceleration.”
In the six years since Thiel spoke to that audience, the only acceleration has been the pace of technology’s contribution to the world’s decline.
However, there are some investors who think that the next wave of big technological breakthroughs is just around the corner — and that 2020 will be the year that they enter the public consciousness in a real way.
These are the venture capitalists who invest in companies that develop so-called “frontier technologies” (or “deep tech”) — things like computational biology, artificial intelligence or machine learning, robotics, the space industry, advanced manufacturing using 3D printing, and quantum computing.