In terms of innovation, the communications and media industries have been leaders over the last 10-15 years. Few innovations rival the Internet in terms of impact on everyday life. The Internet spurred a new economic revolution and disrupted many industries along the way. Companies such as Facebook, Twitter, and Skype became ubiquitous almost overnight. Benefiting from strong growth and low capital intensity, the Internet has been the darling of venture capitalists. Billions are currently invested in an attempt to find the next social media blockbuster.
While the last decade can arguably be labeled that of Communications and Media, the next one might be that of Medicine and Healthcare. The rapid convergence of numerous advances in computing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, and neurotechnology will quite possibly transform humanity in the near future and improve significantly our quality of life.
At TEDxMaastricht, Daniel Kraft offered a fast-paced look at the next few years of innovations in medicine, powered by new tools, tests and apps that bring diagnostic information right to the patient’s bedside.
Innovations such as the Ion Proton Genetic Sequencer by Life Technologies, unveiled two weeks ago at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, make me very hopeful that the future depicted by Daniel Kraft is not pure science fiction. The device can sequence an entire human genome in just eight hours. Until now, this is a process that took weeks and could cost $10,000 or more. The Proton Ion will be able to do it for just $1,000 – very close to a price at which genome sequencing becomes a breakthrough that is affordable for the masses.